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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Germany | Thursday, November 10, 2011

Europe unstable without 5-percent hurdle

The five-percent hurdle valid in Germany for European elections is unconstitutional and puts small parties at a disadvantage, according to a judgement delivered on Wednesday by Germany's Federal Constitutional Court. The ruling fits in well with today's debates on democracy but will not exactly make the European Parliament more effective, writes the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "The judgement handed down in Karlsruhe on the European electoral law goes against the established parties that are now howling their disapproval. More equality, more participation, more discourse is the motto here as well. ... But anyone who considers the European Parliament a fully-fledged legislature must ask if the abolishment of the five-percent clause would not destabilise the body. It certainly won't increase Germany's influence (and Europe's biggest country is already anything but suitably represented) if representatives from the tiniest parties move in, as they will likely be incapable of forming any sort of parliamentary group."

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