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14-17 April 2014 EP Plenary votes

EP plenary roll-call votes: Thursday 17 April 2014 EP calls for constructive dialogue between Ukraine and Russia The European Parliament adopted a non-legislative resolution on the recent violent developments in Eastern Ukraine. The MEPs called on the European Union to continue supporting the Ukrainian government and come up with further economic sanctions against Russia, that should target energy firms. The EP urged Russia to stop its support for the separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine and to remove its troops from the eastern border of the country. The resolution stresses that the escalation of the crisis into military conflict should be avoided and a diplomatic solution should be sought as soon as possible. To this aim, Russia and Ukraine should be engaged in a "constructive dialogue". The text mentions, however, that the Ukrainian people should decide on the future of Ukraine, "through a democratic, inclusive and transparent process". The resolution also called for a stepping up of the visa liberalisation process for Ukraine. MEPs proposed that until this process would be completed, simpler, temporary visa procedures should be introduced. Furthermore, MEPs expressed again their support for a potential Ukrainian candidacy to the EU, stressing that Eastern Partnership countries have a European perspective as long as they respect the EU values. This provision passed by 468 votes in favour to 50 against and 44 abstentions. The EFD group voted against, as well as the French S&D delegation. Overall, the resolution was supported by a large majority, passing with 437 votes for to 49 against and 85 abstentions. Most groups voted in favour, with the exception of GUE-NGL, which did not support the final text. Almost half of the S&D MEPs abstained from the vote (the Bulgarian, Greece, German, Austrian and Hungarian delegations). Click here to see how each MEP voted. EP reviews the Commission's SMEs 'Top Ten' initiative The European Parliament adopted yesterday a non-legislative resolution on Commission follow-up to the 'Top Ten' Consultation of SMEs on EU Regulation. The text welcomed the initiative and called on the Commission to provide a systemic approach to limit the administrative burden to SMEs, stemming from EU regulation, at both EU and national level. The resolution also called on the member states to avoid over-regulation when transposing European directives into national law and to ease formalities for SMEs, when this is possible under EU legislation. The MEPs invited the Commission and the member states to take further action to improve the access of the SMEs to the single market, highlighting that only 25% of EU's SMEs are exporters. While the centre-to-right groups in the EP supported these provision, the centre-to-left ones expressed concern regarding this approach, stressing that the over-simplification of EU regulations could jeopardise environmental, social, and health and safety standards. The resolution passed with 311 votes in favour to 184 against. The EPP, ALDE, ECR and EFD groups voted in favour, whereas most MEPs from the Greens/EFA and GUE-NGL groups voted against. Click here to see how each MEP voted. EP plenary roll-call votes: Wednesday 16 April 2014 New Fisheries Fund approved by MEPs A new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) was adopted yesterday in the European Parliament. The new rules contribute to the implementation of EU's new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and will ensure that fishermen take the necessary steps towards sustainable fishing. Some key provisions of the adopted legislation refer to countering over-fishing, supporting young fishermen and job creation. While engine renewal would be allowed under certain conditions, fleet renewal subsidies have been forbidden. The Council is expected to soon approve the agreement, which could become operational in the coming weeks. The report passed with 473 votes in favour to 52 against, and 40 abstentions. The Greens/EFA group voted against, while most GUE-NGL MEPs abstained. Click here to see how each MEP voted. EP votes to reduce the use of plastic bags The EP adopted yesterday new rules to reduce the use and waste of plastic carrier bags. The legislation proposed a set of reduction targets (50% by 2017 and 80% by 2019) and called upon member states to reach towards these goals so that a gradual phasing out of lightweight plastic bags in the EU is achievable. To this aim, the MEPs proposed the introduction of mandatory charge for plastic bags in shops, as well as other market restrictions or bans. The report passed with 539 votes in favour to 51 against, and 72 abstentions. All EP groups voted in favour, with the exception of the ECR Group, whose MEPs mostly abstained. Click here to see how each MEP voted. EP plenary roll-call votes: Tuesday 15 April 2014 EP takes important step in the direction of banking union The European Parliament (EP) approved yesterday a major legislative package which aims to better equip banking sectors in the EU for potential failures, as well as to ensure adequate protection for the taxpayers. The package, which complements the single supervisory mechanism legislation (adopted by the EP in September 2013), consists of two reports dealing with troubled banks, and one updating the deposit guarantee scheme. The legislative package establishes a resolution authority, which would determine whether an institution could fail. It also creates a resolution fund for failing banks. In the event of bank failure in EU member states, new rules will be applied, which would ensure that banks would not rely heavily on public interventions. Instead, a bail-in regime would apply first and banks would rely firstly on equity holders. If such measures would not suffice, an intervention from the resolution fund will be possible. To this aim, banks will be required to finance national reserve funds. A single resolution fund worth 55 billion Euro shall be financed by banks in the banking union (Eurozone countries and possibly opt-ins), and established over an 8-year period. Countries outside the banking union will set up their own fund, amounting to 1% of covered deposits within 10 years. All three reports were adopted with large majorities. The report on the creation of the single resolution fund passed by 570 votes in favour, 88 against and 13 abstentions. The winning majority was composed of the EPP, S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA and ECR groups. Most EFD and GUE-NGL MEPs voted against. Click here to see how each MEP votes. The second report sets new rules to better prepare banks for cases of systemic crisis and failure. It was supported by the same groups and passed with 584 votes in favour, 80 against and 10 abstentions. Click here to see how each MEP votes. The report updating the deposit guarantee scheme also gathered a large majority, but the final vote was not by roll-call. MEPs vote for transparency push for lobbyists The European Parliament endorsed today a set of measures aimed at encouraging lobbyists in Brussels to sign the EU's public Transparency Register. The MEPs welcomed the success of the register so far, which, two years after its inception, covers approximately 75% of business entities and 60% of NGOs operating in Brussels. The MEPs considered that the quality and functioning of the register should be further enhanced, and urged the Commission to come up with a proposal concerning the introduction of a mandatory Transparency Register by 2017. The EP proposed the introduction of concrete incentives measures to motivate more entities to register. The MEPs called on the Commission to reduce the number of meetings with non-registered entities or to further limit the participation of non-registered organisations in advisory bodies and expert groups. The MEPs also called on the EP's Bureau to consider proposals such as access restriction to the EP premises for non-registered organisation and individuals or facilitated information transmission for registered lobbyists. The report was adopted by a very large majority of MEPs, passing with 646 votes in favour to 7 against and 14 abstentions. All groups voted in favour. Click here to see how each MEP voted. The MEPs also voted on a number of amendments meant to increase the transparency of the activities of MEPs who deal with lobbyists. An amendment tabled by the GUE-NGL stated that rapporteurs should, on voluntary basis, make public the names of the lobbyists they have met during the process of preparing the report, and who had an impact on the final result of their work. It was adopted by 418 to 246 votes. The votes against came mainly from the EPP and ECR groups. Click here to see how each MEP voted. Another amendment, tabled by the Greens/EFA, called for an online public register of all documents received by MEPs from lobbyists that directly relate to legislation. This was voted down by 360 to 288 votes. The winning majority was composed of EPP, ALDE, ECR and EFD MEPs. Click here to see how each MEP voted. For more information, contact Doru Frantescu, VoteWatch Europe policy director, at doru@votewatcheurope.eu or +32 2 318 11 88.

New PollWatch2014 prediction: EPP pulls ahead of S&D

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PRESS RELEASE

New PollWatch2014 prediction:
EPP pulls ahead of S&D

Brussels, 16 April 2014

The centre-right EPP group has pulled ahead of the centre-left S&D group in the latest PollWatch2014 prediction of the outcome of the 2014 European Parliament elections. Today the EPP is forecast to win 222 seats, and the S&D Group 209.

The S&D group had held a narrow lead over the EPP since the start of the PollWatch2014 prediction series two months ago. The first forecast, published on 19 February, had the EPP on 200 seats and S&D on 217.

There has been a significant rise in support for EPP parties in Poland, perhaps related to insecurity as a result of the crisis in Ukraine. EPP parties have also made gains in France and picked up one more seat in several other member states. Meanwhile, S&D parties have declined slightly in Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, France and Greece.

Nevertheless, the difference between these two groups is still reasonably small given the margins of error. Based on 1000 simulations of the outcome, the researchers estimate that that there is a 25% probability that S&D will be larger than EPP.

Overall, the three centrist political groups - EPP, S&D, ALDE - would be down considerably on their current standing: from 72% of MEPs in the current Parliament, to 65% in the new Parliament. Of the remaining MEPs, our current forecast has 12% for the two other groups on the left (GUE and G/EFA), 10% for the two other groups on the right (ECR and EFD), and just under 13% who are not currently members of any political group, and who are mostly on the radical right.

The latest forecast suggests that Le Pen and Wilders will have enough MEPs from enough member states to form a group: with approximately 38 MEPs from 7 member states. This forecast is based on the 5 other national parties who have suggested that they will join the French FN and Dutch PVV: Austrian FPÖ, Belgian VB, Italian LN, Slovak SNS, and Swedish SD. The make-up of this prospective group has not yet been finalised, however.

The PollWatch2014 model was developed by three leading political scientists, Kevin Cunningham, Simon Hix and Michael Marsh. In 2009, the final forecast correctly predicted 720 of the then 736 seats won by each political group (a 98% success rate), and 660 of the seats won by each national party (a 90% success rate).

For media inquiries regarding the forecast and interviews with the researchers please contact Elisa Irlandese at VoteWatch Europe: +32 2 318 1188. Email: secretariat@votewatcheurope.eu


Current Parliament (as at 11/4/2014):

PollWatch2014 forecast for May 2014 EP election (16 April 2014):

Group abbreviations (political family)



EPP            European People's Party (centre-right)
S&D            Socialists & Democrats (centre-left)
ALDE          Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (liberals and centrists)v G/EFA        Greens/European Free Alliance (greens and regionalists)
ECR           European Conservatives and Reformists (conservatives)
GUE/NGL    European United Left/Nordic Green Left (radical left)
EFD            Europe of Freedom and Democracy (Eurosceptics)
NI                Non-attached MEPs


About PollWatch2014

PollWatch2014 is a VoteWatch Europe initiative in partnership with Burson-MarstellerEurope Decides. A team of leading political scientists, Kevin Cunningham, Simon Hix and Michael Marsh, will provide regular predictions of the outcome of the 2014 European Parliament elections. In previous European Parliament elections, opinion polls have been reasonable predictors of party performance. But they tend to overestimate support for large governing parties, and underestimate support for small parties and 'anti-European' parties. The PollWatch statistical model 'corrects' the opinion poll data and leads to a more accurate prediction of the results. A new prediction will be published every two weeks. From 16 April it will be updated weekly. Twitter: @PollWatch2014

PollWatch2014 is financed by the European Parliament, the Open Society Foundations, Burson-Marsteller and VoteWatch CIC.

European Parliament disclaimer: the project was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament's grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information or opinions expressed in the context of this project. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the project.

PRESS RELEASE: Doru Frantescu appointed Director of VoteWatch Europe

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release

Brussels, Friday 11 April 2014

Doru Frantescu appointed Director of VoteWatch Europe

Doru Frantescu has been appointed Director of VoteWatch Europe AISBL with effect from 1 July 2014, the organisations' Chairman, Professor Simon Hix, announced today.

Frantescu, who is a Romanian national, is currently VoteWatch Europe Policy Director. In 2009 he was one of the organisation's co-founders, together with Professor Hix, dr. Sara Hagemann and Professor Abdul Noury. As Policy Director, he has been in charge of the monitoring, research and analysis work of the organisation, as well as the development and maintenance of the organisation's website and other online tools.

Professor Hix said: "Doru has been one of the driving forces behind VoteWatch Europe from the start. The project was his idea. He combines in-depth policy expertise with extensive technical know-how. I am confident that under his direction VoteWatch Europe will continue to develop its role as the leading source of information and analysis on the voting and activity records of the European Parliament and the Council."

In his new role as Director Frantescu will also take on the responsibilities of current Managing Director and former MEP Michiel van Hulten, who announced in December that he would be leaving the organisation following the May 2014 European elections.

Professor Hix said: "Michiel helped us get the VoteWatch Europe project off the ground in 2009. Since then he has been involved in various capacities - the last three years as Managing Director. He is an outstanding fundraiser and a terrific manager who has built a highly effective team in our new Brussels office. The communications strategy he developed and implemented has put VoteWatch Europe on the political and media map in Brussels and beyond. He will be sorely missed."

ENDS

For more information, please contact VoteWatch Europe at secretariat@votewatcheurope.eu or call +32 2 318 11 88

2-3 April 2014 EP plenary roll-call votes: Ukraine/tariffs, New telecom rules, Aviation/ETS, Patient safety, JHA/Stockholm Programme

In this edition:

1. EU to lift tariffs on imports from Ukraine
2. MEPs vote in favour of new telecom rules
3. The EP backs controversial deal with the Council on aviation ETS rules
4. MEPs adopt measures to improve patient safety
5. EP calls for a new civil liberties, justice and home affairs roadmap

Launch of Electio2014.eu: Citizens elect the next European Commission President

PRESS RELEASE

Launch of Electio2014.eu:

Citizens elect the next European Commission President

electio2014-logo



Read this press release in  FR, DE, IT, ES, PL, RO, NL, HU, PT, EL, SV, CS, BG, SK, DA, FI, LT, SL, ET, GA, LV, MT, HR.

Brussels, 4 April 2014

Today saw the launch of the most ambitious online European elections project ever undertaken: Electio2014.eu, a web platform and mobile app in 24 languages designed to help EU voters decide which candidate or party to vote for in the 2014 European Parliament elections.

The Electio2014 platform ('Electio' means 'the choice' in Latin) was developed by VoteWatch Europe, an independent organisation which monitors and analyses the decision-making activities of the EP and the EU Council of Ministers. It includes the following key features:

  • -Users will be able to vote for their favourite candidate for European Commission President, and to attribute skills to each of the declared candidates.

  • -By voting on 20 key issues that Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have also voted on in the last five years, users can find out which MEP, national party or European party group most closely matches their own views. To ensure a level playing field, new candidates can also create their own profile on Electio2014.

  • -The website will include the position of EU-wide and national opinion leaders and civil society organisations on the 20 issues covered in the Match your vote section and allow users to compare them with each other and with those of sitting MEPs and new candidates.

  • -PollWatch2014.eu, which was launched in February, will form an integral part of the new platform. Users will be able to see what impact the latest prediction of the outcome of the 2014 EP elections would have on key EU policies. They will also be make their own prediction of the outcome.

Professor Simon Hix, VoteWatch Europe Chairman and Head of the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science said: "There are two things which generate voter interest in politics: policy conflicts and personality clashes. Electio2014.eu offers both. Voters can find out which MEPs and new candidates match their own views on a set of 20 key issues, and they can also express a preference for one of the candidates for Commission President. This will help bring the race to life."

Doru Frantescu, VoteWatch Europe policy director and co-founder, said: "We have used the VoteWatch Europe database of over 6,000 European Parliament roll call votes to create a tool which allows users to compare their views to those of politicians. Other, similar tools are based on party promises, whereas our tool is based on how politicians actually voted. That makes it a very reliable indicator of policy preferences."

www.electio2014.eu (online from 4 April 2014, 11.00 CET)
Twitter: @electio2014
Electio mobile app available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

Notes:

For further information, or to set up an interview with one of the authors, please send an email to secretariat@votewatcheurope.eu, or call us on +32 2 318 11 88.

Electio2014.eu is a project by VoteWatch CIC. It is co-financed by the European Parliament, the Open Society Foundations and Burson-Marsteller / Europe Decides.

EP disclaimer: The project was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament's grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information or opinions expressed in the context of this project. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the project.