The group of Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) in the European Parliament is mainly formed of the British Independence Party (UKIP), who has 23 Members and the Italian Five Star Movement, who has 17 Members. These two parties have joined forces at the start of the current EP term to form a parliamentary group, which is normally formed by parties that share common values and policy views.
In reaction to an article in the Italian media La Repubblica, we have undertaken an in-depth comparative analysis of the voting records of these two parties.
The analysis of the voting behaviour shows that they have quite different opinions on how the EU should look like and what its positions should be on global issues. In fact, these two parties have voted the same way in only 147 out of 541 roll call votes in the EP plenary so far (July 2014 – March 2015), or 27%, while in the rest of times they either cancelled each other votes, or one of the parties abstained.
The differences become even sharper if one looks at the voting record of the two EFDD co-presidents: out of the 89 votes in which both Nigel Farage and David Borrelli took part, they voted the same way in only 23 instances (25%).
But what exactly do they disagree on ? Here are a few examples.
UKIP did not back EFDD’s own position on the Commission’s Work Programme 2015
In January 2015, the EFDD group and each of the other six political groups proposed their own resolutions as reactions to the Commission’s work programme put forward by the EU Executive. Interestingly, UKIP Members did not support (they abstained) the text proposed by their own EFDD group, which was very critical of the Commission’s plans. It is worth noting that the text was submitted by the Italian Members. The EFDD proposal ended up being backed by less than half of EFDD MEPs, 21 of them, while 23 other EFDD MEPs did not support it (abstained). All in all, it obtained only 36 votes in favour (out of 633 votes).
PNR and anti-terrorism measures
The 5-Stars and UKIP also had different views on whether the EU should strengthen its anti-terrorism measures, including by using PNR instruments. A PNR (passenger names record) mechanism collects information provided by passengers on international flights, such as travel dates, ticket information and payment information. Through far-reaching PNR agreements, the EU has sought access to this passenger data and requested additional information from airline companies. The EU’s new measures to fight terrorism also include PNR agreements with third countries. Such measures were supported by the representatives of the 5-Star Movement, but the members of the UKIP voted against the resolution (click here to see how each MEP voted).
Israel and Palestine
Opinions of the UKIP members and representatives of the 5-Stars are also split on the crisis and ongoing dialogue between the Israeli government and the Palestinian authorities. The resolution which condemned the violations of human rights committed by both sides during the last Gaza war, was fully supported by the Italian Five Star delegation, whereas their British colleagues, who are more sympathetic to Israelis, voted mainly against the resolution (click here to see how each MEP voted).
The EFDD group saw internal splits on topics related to human rights violations committed by the terrorists of the ISIS. For example, the MEPs from the 5-Star Movement voted against an EP statement that was endorsing the global campaign against ISIS, whereas MEPs from the UKIP voted in its favour (click here to see the vote).
The report about the progress made in gender equality pointed out fight against poverty among women and special measures to promote women employment, as well as reduction of gender gaps in salary and pension. UKIP members mainly abstained on this vote, while 5-Star Movement expressed its support to the report. Click here to see how each MEP voted.
UKIP and 5-Stars agree on opposing EU’s active policy in the Eastern neighbourhood
On the other hand, these two parties share the opinion that EU should not get involved in the Eastern neighbourhood. Both UKIP and 5-Star have voted against the EU providing a 1.8 billion financial aid to Ukraine. Click here for full report.
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