Winners and losers of the EP Plenary November 2017

The latest plenary session of the European Parliament featured heated Parliamentary debates, “odd” voting behavior by EU Parliamentarians (MEPs) and European groups splitting on the most controversial issues. This report highlights the political dynamics underlying the most important decisions from the November EP plenary session, revealing how political groups and individual EU Parliamentarians aimed at shaping these decisions. Continue Reading

What future for the ALDE group: the internal divisions and the potential transformations of the kingmaker of the EP

Because of its central position within the political spectrum, ALDE/ADLE is currently the main kingmaker in the EP. The positions adopted by this political group are often decisive in swinging the outcome of votes, when the two largest groups (EPP and S&D) are in disagreement. For example, this is often the case with regards to environmental policy, where the two largest EU political families are backing different regulatory approaches. Continue Reading

Unusual EU Parliamentarian’s behavior: Sirpa Pietikäinen

In theory, EU Parliamentarians follow the instructions of the rapporteurs or of their political group coordinators when casting a vote on a decision. This makes many think that if they know the position of the leading MEPs in a group, they know how the entire group will behave. The underlying assumption is that many MEPs are not aware of the subtleties of dossiers that are outside of their direct area of expertise, and hence these MEPs are expected to “follow the herd” without really knowing what’s being decided. Continue Reading

What shall become of Northern Ireland? The economic challenges of Britain’s weakest region

Belfast City Hall: Photo courtesy of Scotty Photography

“Caught between a hub and a large place” –

Part two of a three-part report (missed the first part of the report? You can find it here)

By Sean McLaughlin

Any views in this report reflect the views of the author, not of VoteWatch Europe

The Victorian period saw the glory days of the Northern Irish Economy. Continue Reading

Exclusive interview: Turkish Ambassador addresses Europeans after the EU October Summit

The EU-Turkey relations are at their lowest in recent years, at a time when the EU seems to be facing increasing challenges to promote its interests internationally, while facing rising nationalism internally.

The EU leaders have not shied away from imposing sanctions on Russia, taking distance from the US (after the change of administration in Washington) and build trade defence mechanisms against China. Continue Reading

Winners and losers of the EP Plenary Late October 2017

The EU parliamentary session of late October 2017 was definitely rich in political developments. Politicians fought over who should get how much of the EU money, over the rules for fertilisers and, in an interesting turn of events, a majority ultimately agreed to a prolongation of the use of glyphosate.  Each of the new rules on the protection of whistle-blowers was fought tooth and nail, with just a few votes making the difference every time. Continue Reading

Exclusive interview: Brazil’s Ambassador to EU on the future of EU-Mercosur relations

 Against the background of rising trade protectionism (which led to the deadlock of the EU-US trade deal – TTIP), the Europeans try to look for traction elsewhere. After 17 years since the negotiations between the EU and Mercosur started, all the cards are finally on the table.  With a market of more than 250 million people, Mercosur is gaining more and more the attention of the European investors.  Continue Reading

Czech Elections 2017: MEPs Predict the Future Stance of Prague in International Relations

Confidence in the future of the EU is fragile. While there is renewed optimism due to the defeat of Eurosceptic parties in the Netherlands, France, Germany and Austria, the ongoing Brexit negotiations fuel the anti-establishment voices, including that of the frontrunner to become the next Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš.

 “Europe is a great project. But European politicians should seriously ask why the UK is leaving. Continue Reading

Czech Elections 2017: Exclusive Interview with Pavel Svoboda (KDU-ČSL – EPP)

Pavel Svoboda, the 2nd most influential Czech MEP is member of the Christian and Democratic Union– Czechoslovak People’s Party (EPP). Svoboda is the Chair of Committee on Legal Affairs. He drafted reports on several issues, such as the limitation periods for traffic accidents and a report on the verification of credentials. Read the full influence assessment and find out who shapes the power in the European Parliament.  Continue Reading

Czech Elections 2017: Exclusive Interview with Pavel Poc (ČSSD – S&D)

Pavel Poc, member of the Czech Social Democratic Party (S&D), is the fourth most influential Czech MEP in the VoteWatch influence assessment. Former biologist and policy expert on environmental issues in Czechia, Poc is is one of the Vice-Chairs of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee. Because of his commitment to environmental protection, Poc chairs the “Climate change, sustainable development and biodiversity” intergroup. Continue Reading