Graham Watson MEP
Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar
A local champion with an international reputation
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Published on Monday 14th June 2004
"The European Liberal Democrats remain the pivotal political force in the European Parliament", European Liberal Democrat leader commented today on the provisional results of the European Parliament elections. According to provisional estimates, the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Group will have approximately 66 MEPs, including 12 Liberal Democrat MEPs from the UK (up 2), 7 FDP MEPs from Germany (up 7) and 4 MEPs from Poland (up 4).
Welcoming the success of the ELDR, Mr Watson said:
"The European Liberal Democrats remain the pivotal political force in the European Parliament. I expect the ELDR Group to be at least as strong as we were in the last Parliament, if not stronger. We will continue to have clout out of proportion to our numbers thanks to a larger number of Liberal Democrat MEPs from Britain (12), the welcome election of 7 Free Democrats Party MEPs from Germany and four MEPs from Poland."
"In Britain, the Liberal Democrats have increased their share of vote and elected two more MEPs than in 1999, in stark contrast to the collapse in the fortunes of the Labour and Conservative parties. At a time when the eurosceptics have gained ground, the Liberal Democrats have increased their vote on a pro-European platform."
"The election of eleven MEPs from Germany and Poland gives us a new found strength in central Europe which we welcome."
"Overall, the ELDR has largely held its own and won some exciting new ground in three of the EU's largest Member States."
"I regret the overall fall in turnout. I hope there will now be a discussion with our national political leaders on what we can do to explain better what the EU does and how it works. I also regret the rise in support for eurosceptic parties. These people tend to be the wreckers in the European Parliament, but because they are uncooperative they also tend to be unproductive.".