In typically militant tones, the German daily Die Tageszeitung has raised “the taboo question of voter participation,” and called on voters to abstain in the European elections. According to the daily’s Brussels correspondent, changes to the composition of the European Parliament will do nothing to address the EU’s fundamental problems, which have been caused by rapid enlargement and a constitutional treaty that has been watered down, and not even applied.

The European Parliament has failed to deal with either of these issues: “There was a silent majority of MEPs who believed that neither Poland nor the Czech Republic was ready to join the union. Many of them were concerned at the prospect of Europe’s borders encompassing the conflict in Cyprus, and the debates on Romania and Bulgaria were marked by the presentation of a wide range of facts that should have prevented the accession of both of these countries. But a majority of MEPS voted for enlargement,” and TAZ is convinced that “they gave in to pressure from their governments, or were afraid to cause a scandal,” or that they lacked “the necessary confidence and courage.”

The alternative daily also attacked the European Parliament for its handling of the constitutional treaty. MEPs were quick to defend the text of the treaty but no protests were voiced when member states opted to delete certain key passages. Although TAZ does concede that, “ it is unfair to dismiss the work of 785 parliamentarians on the basis of two decisions, they failed in their mandate because they were unable to find solutions to fundamental problems, and the lack of democratic credibility was one of these.” By default, anyone who casts a vote in June will give tacit approval to a situation that no democrat should willingly accept. Moreover, “in the future if there are more dishonest dealings with the Lisbon Treaty, it will be possible to modify the composition of the Commission and the Parliament without any further consultation with Europe’s citizens.” In conclusion, TAZ advocates that “Any voter who wishes to protest against these empty promises should boycott the election.