The EU-Canada PNR agreement sent to ECJ by the left, ALDE, eurosceptics

The European Parliament approved a resolution tabled by the ALDE group asking for the EU-Canada agreement on the transfer of Passenger Name Records (PNR) to be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for an opinion on whether it is compatible with the EU treaties and Charter of Fundamental Rights before voting on the new agreement. The PNR agreement was signed by the EU Council of Ministers and Canada on 25 June 2014, but in order to enter into force it needs the consent of the Parliament.

The resolution passed by 383 votes in favour, 271 against and 47 abstentions. The left-leaning groups (S&D, Greens/EFA, GUE/NGL) and the right wing eurosceptics supported the proposal (the EFDD group was split). The conservative EPP and ECR groups decided to vote against the resolution, as they considered that the PNR agreement should be enforced at the soonest, to fight against terrorism and international crime.

Graph PNR EU-Canada

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Super Grand Coalition EPP-S&D-ALDE approves the New European Commission

The European Parliament elected today the new European Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker.

The decision passed by 423 votes in favour, 209 against and 67 abstentions. The winning majority was composed of the EPP, S&D (with the Spanish delegation abstaining) and ALDE groups. GUE/NGL, Greens/EFA and EFDD groups voted against while the ECR group, who gave the instruction to abstain, was split.

The new Commission will start its five-year term on 1 November 2014.

Com vote graph

Click here to see how each MEP votes.

Who holds the power in the EP committees and the bureau? – VoteWatch Europe Special Policy Brief

On 30 September 2014, VoteWatch Europe presented a special policy brief that looks at the allocation of committee chairmanships and EP bureau posts since the 2004 EU enlargement until today. It shows that, as in the previous 10 years, the biggest and older Member States still hold the majority of the EP committees’ chairs positions. However, this representation gap between big/small and old/new Member States has substantially declined after the 2014 European elections, as a result of a combination of factors including the rise of anti-EU parties in ‘old’ EU.

As regards political groups’ representation, the elections have not generated significant changes in the chairmanship of the committees. Moreover, it looks like each of the main political group has particular preferences as to what committees to chair. These preferences are consistent over time.

Click here to download the full policy brief.

Mapping the new European Parliament: VoteWatch Europe Masterclass, 7 November 2014

Promo banner for VW Masterclass 7 Nov

 

After the 2014 European elections, the new EP is all ready to resume business and assert its post-Lisbon powers. This Parliament has high stakes for the next 5 years, among which EU trade agreements with key partners, energy, climate change, economic governance and the way out of the crisis. VoteWatch Europe can help you better understand the meaning of the new balance of power in the EP before the EP votes on issues that affect your sector.

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To this purpose, we are organising a training session on Friday 7 November 2014 (half a day, from 12:00 to 15:30). We use an interactive approach to show how the EU works, what’s the role of the EP in EU policy-making, how the current EP composition affects main EU policies and how can you use VoteWatch data in your advocacy strategy.

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The indicative programme includes:

  • - The 2014 European elections and its implications for EU policy-making, with Prof. Simon Hix
  • - Mapping the new EP: voting records of MEPs, relation between national parties and EP political groups, majority trends by policy areas, etc.
  • - Mapping the Council of Ministers: voting trends, relation between Council and EP votes, etc.
  • - How to use VoteWatch in your daily work and through social media
  • - Practical exercises

 

Our team will provide an insight into the voting data from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers that VoteWatch makes available on its website. They will also explain what each type of data means, how it is collected and how it should be interpreted. They will give concrete examples on how this data can be used to bring added value to the work of the participants.

At the end of this training you will be able to:

  • - Gain in-depth knowledge about voting behaviour in the EP and the Council
  • - Discover how to find the right political supporters for your campaigns
  • - Use VoteWatch as a useful information tool for your daily work

Each participant will receive a certification of taking part in the course.

The fee for taking part in this training is 200 euros (excl. VAT). Journalists, NGOs and EU institutions’ staff benefit from a 50% discount. The fee includes course materials, water and coffee, a sandwich lunch and Wi-Fi access. Participants should bring their own laptop/tablet to make the most out of this training.

Deadline for registrations is 14 October 2014, but in order to ensure the participants an optimum experience, the number of seats is limited. To register, download, fill in and send back to us this form.

For more information, contact us at secretariat@votewatcheurope.eu or +32 2 318 11 88.

 

Training team:

Simon

Dr Simon Hix (Chairman and co-founder) is Professor of European and Comparative Politics and Head of the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Hix is an expert on EU politics, comparative democratic institutions, parliamentary voting behaviour, and parties and elections. He is a Fellow of the British Academy.

 

Doru

Mr Doru Frantescu (Director and co-founder) is the main author of numerous reports on voting behaviour in the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers and particularly during the campaign for 2014 European elections he was quoted by the media around the world. Doru has also worked with think tanks in 20 Member States in a pan-European project which aimed at bringing European issues in the local public debates.

Internship opportunity with VoteWatch Europe!

VoteWatch Europe is an exciting place to work. If you are enthusiastic about EU politics, you are outgoing and proactive, then you may get to work with us.

If you have a scholarship from your university,  an EU programme (e.g. Erasmus +, Leonardo) or other sources and you’re looking for a placement, then apply for an internship in our office in Brussels!

Apply by sending us your CV and a motivation letter to jobs@votewatcheurope.eu by 10 October.

MEPs call on the EU to rethink its relations with Russia

The EP adopted a resolution welcoming the Minsk ceasefire agreement and criticising its violation by Russian troops and separatists. The resolution also strongly condemns the Russian Federation for conducting a “hybrid war” against Ukraine and calls on Russia to withdraw all its military forces from the country.

The text reiterates EU’s commitment to the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and that the international community will not recognize the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

MEPs welcome the Ukrainian laws passed on 16 September on a special status for the districts of Donetsk and Luhansk and the amnesty approved by the Ukrainian Parliament. The text also says that the EU needs to rethink its relations with Russian and abandon the strategic partnership concept.

The resolution underlines that there is no military solution to the crises, and stress the “reversibility and scalability” (AM 10) of the EU sanctions, depending on the evolution of the situation in Ukraine.

However, the political families in the European Parliament had different views on nuances. For example, the socialists, radical Left, liberals and democrats and most of the nationalists supported a statement calling on the European Commission “to explore modalities of EU cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union” (amendment 14/2). This statement was opposed by the centre-right EPP group and the Greens/EFA. A small number of Italian EPP Members defected and voted in favour. Within the group of conservatives and reformists (ECR), the Members from the Alternative for Germany voted in favour of this statement, the Polish voted against, while the British abstained. The EFDD group was also divided on the issue, with the Italians from 5-Star movement voting in favour, and the British UKIP voting against.

To see how each MEP voted on this specific statement click here.

Note: the final vote on the text of the resolution as a whole was not cast by roll-call vote, therefore there is no data to show on how each Member voted.

Large majority of MEPs see a role for the EU in the Israel-Palestine conflict

MEPs passed a resolution condemning the violations of human rights committed by both sides during the last Gaza war and urging the EU to participate effectively in the humanitarian effort and to play a more active political role in facilitating Israeli-Palestinian relations after the Gaza war.

The resolution also welcomes the ongoing dialogue between the Israeli government and the Palestinian authorities and reiterates its support for the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.

A majority of MEPs rejected attempts from the radical Left Members, sometimes supported by a minority of the socialists, to push through a much tougher stance on Israel.   For example, on the vote on AM 17, demanding “reparations from Israel for the EU-funded projects destroyed during repeated aggressions in both Gaza and the West Bank”, 25 MEPs (mostly from the Spanish delegation) of the S&D group voted in favour and 13 abstained.

To see how each MEP voted on this specific amendment click here.

The final text was adopted by 447 votes in favour, 143 against and 41 abstentions. EPP, S&D, ECR and ALDE groups supported the resolution, while the radical left GUE/NGL group, the majority of the MEPs from the GREENS/EFA group and the non-affiliated Members opposed it. The EFDD group was split, with half of its Members voting against and the Italian ‘five star’ delegation voting in favour.

Click here to see how each MEP voted.

 

EPP, S&D, ECR, ALDE, Greens/EFA groups push through EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

EPP, S&D, ECR, ALDE, Greens/EFA push through EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

Simultaneously with the Ukrainian Parliament, the European Parliament gave its consent by a large majority to the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (AA). The Agreement will deepen political and economic ties and will create a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the signatories. The treaty focuses on supporting core reforms, on economic recovery and growth, governance and sector co-operation. It is the first of a new generation of agreements with Eastern Partnership countries.

The resolution was adopted by 535 votes in favour, 127 against and 35 abstentions. The political groups at both centre-right and centre-left supported the deal. The radical left GUE/NGL group and the nationalist non-affiliated Members opposed it. The nationalist EFDD group was split, with just over half of its Members voting against, while the Italian ‘five star’ delegation abstained.

EU Ukraine AA EPGs graph

The Agreement will now be applied provisionally, but the date still needs to be confirmed by the Council. To enter into force, the deal has to be ratified by the EU member states too. Moreover, the provisional entry into effect of the trade rules (DCFTA) has been delayed until 31 December 2015.

Click here to see how each MEP voted.