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

Winners and losers of the EP Plenary November 2017

The latest plenary session of the European Parliament featured heated Parliamentary debates, “odd” voting behavior by EU Parliamentarians (MEPs) and European groups splitting on the most controversial issues. This report highlights the political dynamics underlying the most important decisions from the November EP plenary session, revealing how political groups and individual EU Parliamentarians aimed at shaping these decisions. Continue Reading

What future for the ALDE group: the internal divisions and the potential transformations of the kingmaker of the EP

Because of its central position within the political spectrum, ALDE/ADLE is currently the main kingmaker in the EP. The positions adopted by this political group are often decisive in swinging the outcome of votes, when the two largest groups (EPP and S&D) are in disagreement. For example, this is often the case with regards to environmental policy, where the two largest EU political families are backing different regulatory approaches. 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

Winners and losers of the EP Plenary Late October 2017

The EU parliamentary session of late October 2017 was definitely rich in political developments. Politicians fought over who should get how much of the EU money, over the rules for fertilisers and, in an interesting turn of events, a majority ultimately agreed to a prolongation of the use of glyphosate.  Each of the new rules on the protection of whistle-blowers was fought tooth and nail, with just a few votes making the difference every time. Continue Reading

Czech Elections 2017: Exclusive Interview with Pavel Svoboda (KDU-ČSL – EPP)

Pavel Svoboda, the 2nd most influential Czech MEP is member of the Christian and Democratic Union– Czechoslovak People’s Party (EPP). Svoboda is the Chair of Committee on Legal Affairs. He drafted reports on several issues, such as the limitation periods for traffic accidents and a report on the verification of credentials. Read the full influence assessment and find out who shapes the power in the European Parliament.  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

Winners and losers of the EP Plenary September 2017

While most of the attention during last week’s EP plenary was focused on President Juncker’s speech, several other important (and under-the-radar) developments caught our attention, which will make the object of this report. At VoteWatch we focus on concrete facts (ie. decisions made), rather than promises or broad statements: we combine our statistical expertise and qualitative political insight to provide the most accurate (and non-partisan) reporting of EU politics’ trends. Continue Reading

Who are the winners and losers of the European Parliament’s reshuffle?

The mid-term reshuffle of the key positions in the European Parliament was more than just switching individual MEPs from one position to another: it also resulted in significant gains and losses of influence among some national delegations.

The reshuffle entailed the elections of the new members of the EP bureau, the chairs and vice-chairs of the committees and the political coordinators of the groups (in each of the parliamentary committees). Continue Reading

Profile: Valean, the new ENVI chair, what does she stand for?

The change of leadership at the helm of the Environment and Public Health Committee (ENVI) of the European Parliament is by far the move with the greatest direct impact on policy that took place during the reshuffle. As EP insiders know, ENVI is one of the committees that deals with the biggest number of legislative / binding decisions. Moreover, the environment-related subjects are also the most disputed files in the EP: a measurement by VoteWatch Europe indicates that it is on environment where the EPP and the S&D vote against each other the most (about half of the time, compared to only 24% overall). Continue Reading