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.

MEPs approved aid to redundant workers in Spain, Netherlands, Romania and Greece

MEPs approved aid to redundant workers in Spain, Netherlands, Romania and Greece 

MEPs voted in favour of the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help redundant workers to find new jobs for five applications coming from Greece, Romania, Spain (Aragón & Castilla y León) and the Netherlands, and for a technical assistance application at the initiative of the European Commission.

The aid offers workers measures such as information sessions, occupational guidance, jobs-search assistance and promotion of entrepreneurship among others. The EGF is a financial aid set up by the EU to provide additional support for workers made redundant as a result of major structural changes in world trade patters due to globalisation or the financial crises and to help them find new jobs.

All the political groups supported the reports. Only the majority of the ECR group and part of the EFDD group voted against.

Now, the EGF funding needs to be approved by the Council of Ministers.

 

Click on the links below to see how MEPs voted on each report:

Report NÍ RIADA  (Technical assistance)

Report KYRTSOS (Greece)

Report MUREŞAN (Romania)

Report JÄÄTTEENMÄKI (Spain – Aragón food and beverage)

Report GONZÁLEZ PONS (Spain – Castilla y León)

Report TANG (The Netherlands)

 

 

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

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

 

Learn how to map the new European Parliament and what to expect from the new MEPs with Professor Simon Hix, head of Government Department at the LSE and chairman of VoteWatch Europe, and Doru Frantescu, Director of VoteWatch Europe.

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 10 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.

EP elects Juncker as new European Commission President

In an unprecedented vote since the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty, the European Parliament elected former Luxembourgish Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker as the new President of the European Commission. The vote was by secret ballot and Juncker was elected by 422 votes in favour, 250 against, 47 abstentions and 10 void (blank or spoilt).

This concludes the new procedure inaugurated by the 2014 EP elections, through which each European political party nominated a lead candidate to preside the European Commission.

Now Juncker has to select 27 commissioners-designate (one per EU Member State), who will be scrutinised by the European Parliament during September 2014. The EP shall confirm the new College as a whole, on a public vote. The new European Commission should start working on 1 November 2014.

MEPs call on Russia to genuinely support Ukraine’s peace plan

The EP adopted a resolution calling on Russia to back Ukrainian peace plan, to respect the ceasefire and stressing the fundamental right of Ukrainian people to freely determine their country’s economic and political future. MEPs ask the Council and the Member States to impose further sanctions and to reduce EU’s dependence on Russian gas as well as to set up a collective ban of sale of arms to the country. They call on the EU Institutions to have a stronger presence and visibility in the dialogue.

The text passed by 497 votes in favour, 121 against and 21 abstentions, with GUE/NGL and EFDD members voting against.

Click here to see how each MEP voted.

Stronger measures to fight youth unemployment

The EP voted by an extensive majority a resolution calling for stronger measures to fight youth unemployment, comprising the introduction of common minimum standards for the quality of apprenticeships, decent wages and access to employment services.

MEPs ask for the efficient monitoring of the implementation of the Youth Guarantee and for the increase of its overall budget. They urge national governments to reform education and training standards in order to increase employability, to reduce administrative burdens to encourage job creation and to enhance free movement of labour in the EU.

The resolution passed by 502 votes in favour, 112 against and 22 abstentions. Members of ECR, GUE/NGL and EFDD groups were split over this vote. Moreover, amendments asking for putting an end to austerity measures were rejected, and a large majority of the S&D members abstained on these votes.

Click here to see how each MEP voted.

July 2014 EP plenary Newsletter: EC/Juncker, Latvia/Euro, Russia/Ukraine, EP committees and more

In this edition:

1. Martin Schulz re-elected as EP President
2. EP Committees’ Bureaus elected
3. EP elects Juncker as new European Commission President
4. Super Grand Coalition EPP-S&D-ALDE pushes through Commission’s reshuffle
5. Large EP majority welcomes Lithuania as 19th member of the Eurozone
6. MEPs call on Russia to genuinely support Ukraine’s peace plan
7. Stronger measures to fight youth unemployment
8. MEPs approve a resolution urging a ceasefire in the Gaza strip

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