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

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

Is Belgian MEP Rolin actually more progressive than his political group, the EPP?

As our previous report on the ‘unusual’ voting behavior of the Finnish MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen showcased, the positions taken by EU Parliamentarians sometimes diverge from the official lines of their political groups.

Indeed, the political affiliation of MEPs is not the only factor that shapes their voting behavior. There are many other factors that influence MEPs’ behavior, such as their nationality, personal background and beliefs. Continue Reading

Unusual EU Parliamentarian’s behavior: Sirpa Pietikäinen

In theory, EU Parliamentarians follow the instructions of the rapporteurs or of their political group coordinators when casting a vote on a decision. This makes many think that if they know the position of the leading MEPs in a group, they know how the entire group will behave. The underlying assumption is that many MEPs are not aware of the subtleties of dossiers that are outside of their direct area of expertise, and hence these MEPs are expected to “follow the herd” without really knowing what’s being decided. Continue Reading

Exclusive interview: Turkish Ambassador addresses Europeans after the EU October Summit

The EU-Turkey relations are at their lowest in recent years, at a time when the EU seems to be facing increasing challenges to promote its interests internationally, while facing rising nationalism internally.

The EU leaders have not shied away from imposing sanctions on Russia, taking distance from the US (after the change of administration in Washington) and build trade defence mechanisms against China. Continue Reading

Exclusive interview: Brazil’s Ambassador to EU on the future of EU-Mercosur relations

 Against the background of rising trade protectionism (which led to the deadlock of the EU-US trade deal – TTIP), the Europeans try to look for traction elsewhere. After 17 years since the negotiations between the EU and Mercosur started, all the cards are finally on the table.  With a market of more than 250 million people, Mercosur is gaining more and more the attention of the European investors.  Continue Reading

Winners and losers of the EP Plenary Early October 2017

European Commission took another beating from the Parliament: its definition of endocrine disruptors gets rejected

The frustration of the bureaucrats in DG Health and Food Safety must be reaching a new high, as the elected EU politicians block their agenda once again. After being slapped with the rejection of their plans to approve a new genetically modified soybean, the Parliamentarians had an issue with the Executive’s definition of endocrine disruptors too. Continue Reading

INTERVIEW – Vălean: ‘EU should take the lead in the fight against climate change’

Half a year into the job of presiding over one of the most influential committees of the European Parliament, the one that legislates environmental (and energy) policy, MEP Adina Vălean feels that the EU can do more to lead the world into becoming truly environmentally-friendly. However, in this exclusive interview to VoteWatch, Vălean also explains how a two-speed Europe could weaken EU’s environmental ambitions and leverage on the global stage.  Continue Reading