Winners and losers of the EP Plenary March 2018

Another plenary session, another special VoteWatch Europe report on the most controversial issues, the oddest voting behavior of EU Parliamentarians (MEPs) and the strangest bedfellows occurred in Strasbourg.

This time around, MEPs took a stance on whether EU countries infringing on the EU fundamental values should face financial consequences, whether new sources of revenue for the EU coffers should be introduced, as well as the controversial introduction of a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base at the EU level. Continue Reading

How could SMEs shape the debate on the future of the European Union?

With the Brexit deadline and the next European elections quickly approaching, the European Union is about to enter a new era (also check: the forecast of over 130 EU experts for the year ahead).

The main European institutions will experience major changes in 2019, with the elections of the new Presidents of the European Commission, the European Council, the European Central Bank, as well as the European Parliament. Continue Reading

Exclusive interview with MEP Fajon: what challenges for the EU accession of Western Balkans?

The European Commission has recently taken a bold new initiative to bring the Western Balkans closer to EU accession, demonstrating a desire for Serbia and Montenegro to become full members of the Union by 2025. This renewed momentum supporting the EU accession of Western Balkan countries comes amidst the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU, highlighting the different attitudes towards Brussels across the European continent.

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What takeaways from the latest Italian political earthquake?

Another major European election, another big earthquake for the (traditional) political establishment. In a historical Italian election, the mainstream parties that have dominated the Italian political life over the last 20 years (i.e. Renzi’s Democratic Party and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia) have been crushed by the 5 Star Movement (an internet-based party founded by a comedian), and the far-right League, whose campaign took inspiration from Donald Trump’s style. Continue Reading

Study: who will replace Pittella as the leader of the S&D group?

The departure of Pittella provides the S&D group with a great opportunity to kick start the preparations for the 2019 European elections. The question is, who will succeed him? This report looks into where the likely candidates to S&D leadership stand at this time and how their policy preferences match those of their fellow Social Democrats from the other delegations within the group.  Continue Reading

Survey results: What will happen in 2019 – pivotal year for the EU?

The findings of our latest survey among EU professionals reveal interesting expectations regarding the changes to take place in 2019. The EU affairs community largely expects the EPP to win the elections next year, but also to be the first political family to propose a leading candidate for the elections (spitzenkandidat). Eurosceptic forces are expected to stand strong, despite the departure of the British UKIP. Continue Reading

Winners and losers of the EP Plenary February 2018

This plenary session was clearly dominated by the debate on how to share the spoils after the British MEPs vacate their seats in 2019. The key event was the failed initiative to establish a joint constituency with transnational lists for the upcoming EP elections. On the other hand, most EU Parliamentarians renewed their support for the Spitzenkandidaten process and threatened to reject any other potential candidate to the Presidency of the European Commission. Continue Reading

Bad news for Macron, as majority of policymakers opposed transnational lists for EP elections

This was a bad plenary session for the French President, Emmanuel Macron. One of his key proposals, namely using some of the remaining British seats in order to establish to a pan-European electoral constituency for future EP elections, was rejected by a small majority of MEPs (54%). In particular, the proposal was blocked by the staunch opposition of the European People’s Party that labelled it as a “centralist and elitist artificial construct”. Continue Reading

Exclusive interview with MEP Ludvigsson: what role for Sweden in tomorrow’s EU?

The decision by the UK to leave the European Union has put Sweden, one of its main partners, in an awkward position. As highlighted by our previous report on Nordic countries, Swedish policymakers are not particularly enthusiastic about the Franco-German acceleration towards a multi-speed Europe, in particular when it comes to the Defence Union and the deepening of the Monetary Union. Continue Reading

The policy implications of the proposed post-Brexit seats redistribution in the European Parliament

Given the upcoming UK withdrawal from the European Union, EU Parliamentarians are scrambling to share the spoils, namely the British seats in the European Parliament. The current draft proposal by the EP Committee on Constitutional Affairs aims at redistributing 27 UK seats to 14 currently under-represented EU countries and keeping the remaining 46 UK seats as a reserve for potential pan-European lists and future EU enlargement. Continue Reading