The European Parliament is formally focusing on the commons paradigm through a new “Intergroup on common goods,” which is part of a larger group known as the "European Parliamentary Intergroup on Common Goods and Public Services." The group met for the first time on May 26 in Brussels, at the European Parliament. At this early stage, it’s hard to tell if it will be influential either within the European Parliament or with the public, but it certainly represents a significant new threshold for commons activism.
Intergroups are official forums of the Parliament at which members, political organizations and movements can air their views and try to rally attention to a given topic. As Sophie Bloemen of the Commons Network writes:
Even though the intergroups have no legislative power, they can be valuable having such a representation in the European Parliament. At the minimum, it is a multiparty forum where one can exchange views and propose ideas on particular subjects in an informal way. Those who choose to work with such an intergroup, its Members of Parliament, and civil society or lobbyists, share the notion that a certain topic is important and can focus on how to get things done.
Now there will also be a Commons Intergroup. This particular group will allow for discussions on policy from a shared perspective: the idea that “the commons” – is an important and helpful way of framing the important themes of present times. As there can only be so many Intergroups, inevitably the group is the result of a political compromise. It has been formed by Members of the European Parliament from the Greens, the left group GUE, the large Social Democrat party (S&D) and the group EFDD which now includes Beppe Grillo with his Cinque Stelle party. The movement on water as a commons has been instrumental for the mobilization of the intergroup.
For political reasons, the Commons Intergroup is one of two subgroups of the European Parliamentary intergroup on Common Goods and Public Services. MEP Marisa Matias from GUE is the president of the Commons Intergroup.