What shall become of Northern Ireland post-Brexit? Part 1: Politics in Britain’s most fragile region

The Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont, Belfast. Photo is courtesy of the author.

By Sean McLaughlin

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

Whilst a return to Northern Ireland’s bleak past is unlikely, Brexit disorders hard-won political settlements in “the province”. A hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic should be avoided at all costs. Continue Reading

How EU’s political dynamics impact China’s trade interests

The trade defense reform recently proposed by the European Commission is directly aiming at limiting Chinese exports to the EU, a creative way to avoid frontal collision with WTO regulations. This strategy has gained momentum especially after the Brexit referendum, as this is removing a key ally of China from the EU power game: the UK has been the most pro free-trade EU government and British leaders have fought, from inside the EU institutions, to block protectionist moves by the EU. Continue Reading

What do Tajani and his supporters stand for?

© European Union 2017 РSource : EP
http://audiovisual.europarl.europa.eu/

On the 17th of January, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) elected Antonio Tajani as their new President (as predicted by a simulation run by VoteWatch a week before). Since then, many speculations have been made about him and his views. As the main collector of information concerning the activities of the European Parliamentarians, VoteWatch was asked by the public to release the records of Tajani’s votes on some key decisions made in the EP in the first half of the current term. Continue Reading

Lessons to be learnt from CETA’s stalemate

Those who believed this spring that CETA was a done deal now have quite a few things on their hands. The complexity of the EU decision-making and the diverging political interests within it have once again taken the bureaucrats in charge of negotiating the deal by surprise.

This occurrence is a case in point of why one needs to make much broader political calculations when trying to get something approved by the EU decision-making machinery. Continue Reading

Who is for and against free trade in the European Parliament

Which members of the European Parliament – MEPs – are the most in favour of free trade and which, to the contrary, are the most opposed to it? Not necessarily those you might think, our latest VoteWatch Europe study shows.

We have used the European Parliament as object of analysis for two reasons. Firstly, this European institution plays an increasing role in influencing EU’s trade policy. Continue Reading

The European and national politics behind China’s market economy status

The European Parliament has recently said “no” to granting market economy status (MES) to China. At the final vote, 84% of its Members backed the EP document, which made it look to the outsiders like there is a broad consensus against MES for China. However, a closer look at the actual text adopted and on how MEPs voted on key amendments shows a much more nuanced picture by country and political family. Continue Reading

TTIP under pressure: what are the forecasts?

Despite lengthy negotiations and the optimism of the top-level political elites in Hannover, the fate of TTIP is far from certain. The on-going revelations based on leaked documents were meant to give an important blow to the negotiations. Their real impact on the public opinion will be measurable in the coming weeks, while on the medium-term crucial electoral contests are looming ahead. Continue Reading

EU parliamentarians set the requirements for TiSA negotiations

An overwhelming majority of EU Parliamentarians backed a resolution setting out their recommendations to the Commission for the ongoing negotiation on the Trade in Services Agreement also know as TiSA. The trade pact between the EU and other 22 WTO Members, aimed at improving international rules in sector such as financial, digital and transport services.

The final text has been adopted by 532 votes in favour, 131 against and 36 abstentions. Continue Reading