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EU Parliament: first flash sitting in Strasbourg. Eurosceptic MEPs do not stand up as Ode to Joy plays

(Strasbourg) “The European Parliament is the home of democracy”: Antonio Tajani, outgoing president of the European Parliament, chaired the EP’s first session this morning, which lasted 14 minutes, from 10.10 to 10.24am. President Tajani wished everyone a good work. The EU’s anthem Ode to Joy was then played. Since some Eurosceptic MEPs did not stand up despite the President’s invitation to do so, Tajani said: “Standing up is a matter of respect. You stand up even when you listen to the anthem of another country”. His words were met with a round of applause from most MEPs. Following some formalities, the articles of the Parliament’s regulation were read out. Tajani noted that 29 MEPs had not yet signed the declaration of non-incompatibility. If they do not sign it by tomorrow, then they will not be allowed to vote. Another three Catalan MEPs, elected but in breach of the Spanish laws, are not sitting in the Chamber, which has currently 748 members instead of 751. The voting to elect the President of the EP will be held from tomorrow morning: the deadline for the submission of candidates by political groups or by at least 38 MEPs is 10pm tonight. The first three rounds of voting will require an absolute majority of the votes cast. If no one is elected at the third ballot, the two highest-scoring candidates in the third round will proceed to a fourth ballot. Several national flags were spotted in the Chamber today. And a large group of MEPs was wearing anti-Brexit T-shirts.

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