November 2014 EP plenary Newsletter: Motion of Censure, EU-Canada PNR deal, Digital Single Market, and more

In this edition:

1. Juncker Commission easily survives its first big test in the EP
2. The EU-Canada PNR agreement sent to ECJ by the left, ALDE, eurosceptics
3. Large EP majority pushed through a stronger stance on the post-2015 development agenda
4. EPP, S&D, ECR requested Commission’s diligence in settling search engines market
5. EPP, ALDE, Greens/EFA voted to strengthen ECB’s authority to impose sanctions

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Juncker Commission easily survives its first big test in the EP

The Motion of Censure on the EU Commission, tabled by 76 EFDD and non-attached MEPs, was rejected by 101 votes in favour, 461 against and 88 abstentions. The number of MEPs voting against the motion, and thus in favour of the Commission, was higher than the number of MEPs who have voted in favour of the appointment of Juncker’s Commission in October 2014.

Click here to see how each MEP voted on the resolution.

Motion of Censure

(The see how the MEPs voted on the appointment of Juncker’s Commission in October 2014 click here.)

The motion of censure was based on the so-called Luxleaks affair and the state aid investigation that the European Commission is conducting into the tax arrangements applied to companies in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Some MEPs claimed that Mr Juncker is in a controversial position, since during these alleged corporate tax avoidance schemes he was prime minister of Luxembourg.

One of the main roles of the EU Parliament is to scrutinise other EU institutions, particularly the Commission, to make sure they are working democratically. As part of the parliamentary control process, the EP can call on the Commission to resign during its period in office through the motion of censure.

It is not the first time that a Commission is threatened by a motion of censure: eight such votes have taken place in the history of the European Parliament. The latest to date was the one on the Barroso’s Commission in 2005 which had also been tabled by the Eurosceptic MEPs. At that time, the motion had been easily defeated by the biggest EU groups.

Perhaps the most known case is, however, that of the Santer Commission, which eventually had to resign in 1999 even before a vote in the EP, after a corruption scandal was linked to one of its Commissioners.

To be adopted, the motion needs to reach two-thirds of the votes cast and a majority of all MEPs. This has never happened so far.

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.

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.

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 or +32 2 318 11 88.


Training team:


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.



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 by 10 October.