Winners and losers of the EP Plenary January 2018

The Politics behind EU Policy Making

Energy, environment and fisheries are three of the areas where the EU Parliamentarians have made key decisions during the first EP plenary of 2018. As always, we kept track of who voted for what, who won and who lost. This report highlights the most controversial issues, the oddest voting behaviors of MEPs and the strangest bedfellows occurred during the January part-session. Continue Reading

Could Macron join ALDE?

‘‘European Liberals seek champion for upcoming elections’’ would not be out of place among the latest job openings on the website of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). For the European centrist family, it is indeed crucial to lead a decisive campaign in 2019 to gain weight on the European stage and to finally emerge as a leading force rather than remaining stuck between the right-leaning EPP and the left leaning S&D. Continue Reading

Interview: EU budget rapporteur Siegfried Mureşan on the future of EU money

Negotiations on the EU budget are not the easiest, in particular at a time of rising political fragmentation and polarization. For the first time ever, the yearly EU budget did not draw the support of the second largest political family in the European Parliament, the Socialist and Democrats. Still, a centre-to-the-right majority of policymakers managed to push the 2018 budget through the plenary of the EP. Continue Reading

What shall become of Northern Ireland? Part 3: Economic prospects for Britain’s weakest region

Photo courtesy of Scotty Photography

Part three of a three-part report (missed the first part of the report? You can find it here. Second part is available here.)

By Sean McLaughlin

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


It is often a pleasant flight across the Irish sea over to Northern Ireland. Patchy clouds give way to lush green land. Continue Reading

Winners and losers of the EP Plenary December 2017

Highlights of this ‘Christmas edition':

– ‘United Front for the Salvation of the Single Market’ shapes up (i.e. for a tough position on Brexit negotiations) across the EU political forces;

– French EU Parliamentarians lead the opposition to a proposed pan-European broadcasting of TV shows and movies;

– The ‘anti-kebab’ coalition loses battle to ban an additive from this popular dish by just 4 votes – some German EU parliamentarians have been decisive in swinging the vote around;

– the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland and Malta were 1 vote close to be considered tax heavens. Continue Reading

What lies behind Catalan MEP Josep-Maria Terricabras’ loyalty to his political group?

Our analysis of striking voting behavior in the European Parliament continues. After the ‘unusual’ cases of Sirpa Pietikäinen and Claude Rolin, we now take a look at the positions taken by EU Parliamentarians whose voting choices diverge so little from the official lines of their political groups that it might raise some questions.

Indeed, as we previously pointed out, MEPs exist and vote beyond the political groups in which they seat. Continue Reading

Exclusive Interview: Japan’s Ambassador to the EU provides insight on future Euro-Japanese cooperation

The recent withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the halt in the Euro-American TTIP negotiations, the Brexit process and all the burgeoning voices worldwide demanding stronger protections of their special interests are signs of a general deterioration of trust in international trade (we predicted such changes back in 2016).  Continue Reading

Cybersecurity showdown at the European Parliament: where do MEPs stand on encryption?

The rising importance of online transactions is a challenge for policymakers, as regulators find it difficult to catch up with accelerating technological changes in the digital sphere. Making the internet safe for consumers is one of the key aspects in the implementation of the Digital Single Market (for more information on the most influential EU Parliamentarians on digital policy, check out our previous report). Continue Reading

Unprecedented: S&D moves closer to an opposition role by rejecting the EU budget for 2018

In an unprecedented move, the Socialists and Democrats refused to back the EU budget for 2018. This gesture is a further step towards the realization of Gianni Pittella’s plan to gradually rebrand the group as an alternative to the policies by the centre-right wing EPP, which is the strongest political family in both the European Parliament and the European Council. Continue Reading

The uncertain path of S&D: grand coalition or progressive alliance?

Despite its repeatedly announced opposition to join another government led by Angela Merkel’s CDU, German SPD recently softened its position on the matter and agreed to participate in the negotiations for another grand coalition. This also highlights the difficult situation the Social Democratic family is facing in Europe. On one hand, S&D parties are trying to shift to the left in order to recover the lost popular consensus, while on the other hand, the increasing political instability and rise of Euroscepticism often lead them to join grand-coalitions with center-right parties, as a way of breaking domestic political deadlocks. Continue Reading