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

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

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

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