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

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

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

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

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

Czech Elections 2017: Exclusive Interview with Pavel Poc (ČSSD – S&D)

Pavel Poc, member of the Czech Social Democratic Party (S&D), is the fourth most influential Czech MEP in the VoteWatch influence assessment. Former biologist and policy expert on environmental issues in Czechia, Poc is is one of the Vice-Chairs of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee. Because of his commitment to environmental protection, Poc chairs the “Climate change, sustainable development and biodiversity” intergroup. 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