A united centre-left pushes trough the exclusion of water services from trade agreements. Centre-right splits.

The EU parliamentarians adopted a non-legislative resolution in favour of the “Right2Water” initiative. The text was approved by 363 votes in favour, 96 against and 231 abstentions.

The majority in favour of the text included the Socialists, the Greens, the Radical Left and the Italian delegation of the EFDD group (5-Star Movement). On the other hand, the majority of the Christian Democrats (EPP group) abstained, together with the Liberals and democrats (ALDE group). Over 40 EPP MEPs, however, voted in favour of the text. These come from Spain, Austria and South of Germany (Bavaria).

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EPP and S&D groups at odds on EU security priorities

The non-binding resolution concerning the European Agenda on Security for 2015-2020 proposed by the Commission was adopted by a narrow margin by the European Parliament. This document  sets out the guidelines on how the Union can bring added value to support the Member States in ensuring security.

The text was adopted by 250 votes in favour 204 against and 184 abstentions. The socialist group and the liberals supported the final resolution. The majority of the EPP members abstained, together with the majority of the Greens and of the GUE/NGL. The conservatives, the eurosceptics and the new party group of Marine Le Pen voted against.

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TTIP mandate makes it through EP plenary. Investors’ protection system remains in limbo

The European Parliament finally voted on 8 July on one of the most important dossiers it deals with in this term, the Trade Agreement with the US (TTIP). As VoteWatch had predicted in an analysis published in April, a comfortable majority of Members have endorsed the continuation of negotiations conducted by the EU Executive (the Commission) with its American counterpart.

The pro-TTIP camp was formed of the People’s Party (EPP), the majority of the Socialists&Democrats (S&D), Conservatives&Reformists (ECR) and Liberal-democrats (ALDE), which gathered 436 votes (61%). The anti-TTIP camp was formed of the radical-left / communists, Greens/EFA, euro-sceptics (EFDD) and nationalists (EFN), which gathered 241 votes  (34%).

TTIP 9 July

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Juncker’s investment fund is approved by a grand EP coalition

 

A rather large majority of EU Parliamentarians (76%) approved the establishment of the European Strategic and Investment Plan (EFSI)[1], also known as the “Juncker Plan”.

 

 

How the EFSI will work

 

After the green light by the MEPs, the fund will be approved by the Council and then launched this summer to boost EU’s economy and jobs creation by releasing and estimated €315 billion in public and private investment.

 

The report was jointly drafted by co-rapporteurs of the two biggest EP groups, the center-right People’s Party and center-left Socialists, in order to ensure a broad support among the backbenchers.

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ALDE is back in its kingmaker seat in the EP

The findings based on the factual analysis of the data are sometimes counter-intuitive to some.  Since we started looking at the dynamics in the European Parliament in early 2009 we have revealed a number of state of facts which may have otherwise gone unnoticed. One of these is the fact that, in certain circumstances, it is not only the size of a parliamentary group that is instrumental in pushing through decisions of one’s choice. When none of the political groups holds a majority and the balance of power between the two big blocks at the left and the right is almost equal, the small groups may make the difference. This is particularly the case of the small group(s) who have a high coalition potential, i.e. who find it easy to swing between the center-left and the center-right.

In the case of the European Parliament, this parliamentary group is ALDE. One year after the elections, ALDE seems to have got back in its kingmaker seat at the table of the European Parliament. Although only 4th biggest now, ALDE has won more votes in the EP plenary than any other group. It is closely followed by the two ‘giants’, EPP and S&D, while the rest of the groups are far behind.

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The influence of rapporteurs on trade and energy dossiers is overestimated: facts and figures

by Doru Frantescu, Director and Co-founder of VoteWatch Europe

https://twitter.com/dorufrantescu

Facts & figures: how influent are the rapporteurs in shaping EU dossiers?

In early June, two key documents that the European Parliament was supposed to deal with were effectively ditched: the TTIP and the EU’s energy security strategy. This signals two states of facts: firstly, that the ‘grand coalition’ is a highly over-simplified way of looking at the politics in the European Parliament, a reflex generated by the natural tendency to frame EP politics in the governing coalition vs. opposition coordinates that one is used with at the national level. However, in terms of majority-building dynamics, the EP is a completely different political arena.

Secondly, that the rapporteurs cannot exert substantial influence in the areas where there are big political divisions. The belief that it is the rapporteur that makes and breaks a dossier has been wide spread in Brussels over the years, in the absence of anything that would oppose it. However, this may have been overstated. This analysis shows that the actual rate of success of the rapporteur in the EP plenary is smaller than one would think on divisive issues such as international trade (INTA) and industry, research and energy (ITRE) dossiers.

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What prospects for the new far-right EP group ?

by Doru Frantescu

https://twitter.com/dorufrantescu

Ahead of the EU elections in 2014, in an article published by the Economist, we predicted that it was unlikely that a new far-right group could be formed (or last for long) in the European Parliament. The basis for the prediction was that there are deep divisions between the parties that were supposed to make it up, combined with the small number of Members and nationalities that it can maneuver with. This was confirmed after the elections.

The same considerations apply now, when Front National seems to have gathered the Members to finally form an EP group (to be called Europe of Nations and Freedom). Even if Marine Le Pen finds the right numbers, the group will remain very fragile and is likely to implode rather sooner than later.

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How will MEPs shape EU copyright law?

By Doru Frantescu, Director and co-founder of VoteWatch Europe 

Last review: 19 June 2015.

This article discusses how the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are likely to shape the new EU copyright laws. We show that the conflict within the society between those who consume and those who create digital content has been transposed in the European Parliament in the struggle between the political forces on the classical left-right axis. We predict that the “pro open content camp” will gain the upper hand and will push for a softening of the regime of copyright throughout the EU, such as the abolition of geo-blocking and territoriality principle. We map the MEPs’ positions by ideology and country and show that, while the ideology is the main predictor of an MEP’s vote, the country of origin also plays a role (e.g. the French Members of the Socialist group have a position more in favour of protection of cultural property than the rest of their group colleagues, while the British Labour are more in favour of free market and protection of property in general, compared to their continental colleagues). 

On 9 June, the report drafted by the Chair of the Legal Affair Committee Pavel Svoboda (EPP – PL) on Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement was voted during the EP plenary session in Strasburg and was approved (with 529 votes in favour and 143 against).

On 17 June, the report drafted by the German Pirate Party’s Julia Reda proposing major changes to copyright laws in the EU has been adopted by the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee (JURI) after it spent several hours voting on 550 amendments. (23 votes in favour, 2 against). The report will now be voted on by the full European Parliament on July 9, where more amendments could be made. The final text will then be sent to the European Commission, which will use it as input for a legislative proposal on copyright reform, expected to appear by the end of the year.

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In May, the European Commission put forward the long-awaited guidelines for a digital strategy. The Pandora’s Box is now open and the Commission will take on board reactions from various segments of the society and politicians.

While there is a large consensus that going digital is the way forward, some of the areas have raised a high level of controversy. Perhaps chief among these is the approach to copyright, on which the Commission has announced plans to follow up with legislation before the end of 2015. Intellectual property seems to be one of the most hotly debated areas and which lines up impressive lobby efforts on both sides of the reform. Continue Reading

Eurosceptics vote down EU’s energy security strategy, in the absence of consensus among pro-EU forces

The EU Parliament’s report on the EU Energy Security Strategy did not manage to muster a majority. The document was supposed to draft the Parliament’s response to the strategy that the Commission published[1]  in May 2014.

The resolution was rejected by 277 votes in favour, 315 against and 111 abstentions. In an unprecedented turn of events, the forces opposing greater EU integration obtained their first significant victory since being reinforced in the 2014 EU elections. This was possible due to fierce disagreements between the pro social and pro free market EU supporters. Continue Reading