EU Parliamentarians adopt the long awaited EU-PNR Directive

The Members of the European Parliament adopted yesterday the long awaited Directive on the regulation of the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime.

With this new law, airlines will have to hand national authorities the passengers’ data for all flights from third countries to the EU and vice versa. Continue Reading

MEPs call for a holistic approach to migration in the EU

On Tuesday 12th April, a majority of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) approved a non-binding resolution on a holistic approach to migration in the EU.

The text, drafted by Kashetu Kyenge (S&D) and Roberta Metsola (EPP), was adopted by 459 votes in favour, 206 against and 52 abstentions. The two larger groups, the Christian-Democrats and the Socialists, as well as a majority of the Greens and ALDE members, voted in favour of the report. Continue Reading

European centre-left blocks the adoption of EU-PNR Directive

At the beginning of the March plenary session of the European Parliament, the ECR Group (of David Cameron) made the request to place on the plenary agenda the report on the use of passenger name record data (EU-PNR). The demand was rejected by 163 votes in favour to 207 against. The opposing camp included the centre-left MEPs of the Socialist group S&D, the Liberals of the ALDE group, the radical left MEPs and the Greens. Continue Reading

Jens Rohde’s party re-affiliation logic: migration policy comes first

Jens ROHDE – 8th Parliamentary term

Jens Rohde, a Danish Member of the European Parliament, has recently changed his national party affiliation from Ventre (liberals) to Radicale (social liberals), both parties being members of the ALDE group in the European Parliament. We were asked to look into his voting record and make a comparison of his positions with those of his former and new party colleagues, to understand the rationale of this shift. Continue Reading

EP criticises the Hungarian government, but fails to reach consensus to request activation of rule of law clause

A non-binding resolution urging the EU to monitor the situation in Hungary as regards the threats to democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the country has been adopted by the EU Parliamentarians.

The motion expressed serious concerns regarding the measures taken in recent months that have made access to international protection very difficult, have criminalised refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, and urged the Hungarian Government to return to normal procedures and repeal emergency measures. Continue Reading

The pro-security camp in the EP is reinforced, following the attacks in Paris. This might secure a majority in favour of the EU PNR agreement

A large majority of EU parliamentarians adopted the report drafted by the French EPP MEP Rachida Dati on the prevention of radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations. The vote is highly significant since it takes place just few days after the tragic Paris terrorist attacks that were perpetrated by radicalised EU citizens.

The resolution was adopted by 548 votes in favour, 110 against and 36 abstentions. Continue Reading

Who wants Snowden free? And who says security is more important than privacy? (See how MEPs voted)

The vote on a document adopted in the European Parliament on 29 October gives us the opportunity to see clearly who thinks what with regard to the Snowden case, beyond ambiguous statements of various politicians.

The battlefield is divided between those who are of the opinion that privacy is more important than security, and those who think the opposite, that security prevails over privacy. Continue Reading

Manfred Weber (EPP) vs. Gianni Pitella (S&D): allies or rivals?

Manfred Weber and Gianni Pittella are the leaders of the two biggest political factions in the European Parliament, the groups of the European People’s Party and of the Socialists and Democrats, respectively.

Many observers have argued that there are few differences between the views of these two, a situation which acts as a disincentive for the European citizens to come to vote, since they can’t see why an option is better than the other. Continue Reading

How will MEPs shape EU copyright law?

By Doru Frantescu, Director and co-founder of VoteWatch Europe 

Last review: 19 June 2015.

This article discusses how the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are likely to shape the new EU copyright laws. We show that the conflict within the society between those who consume and those who create digital content has been transposed in the European Parliament in the struggle between the political forces on the classical left-right axis. We predict that the “pro open content camp” will gain the upper hand and will push for a softening of the regime of copyright throughout the EU, such as the abolition of geo-blocking and territoriality principle. We map the MEPs’ positions by ideology and country and show that, while the ideology is the main predictor of an MEP’s vote, the country of origin also plays a role (e.g. the French Members of the Socialist group have a position more in favour of protection of cultural property than the rest of their group colleagues, while the British Labour are more in favour of free market and protection of property in general, compared to their continental colleagues). 

On 9 June, the report drafted by the Chair of the Legal Affair Committee Pavel Svoboda (EPP – PL) on Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement was voted during the EP plenary session in Strasburg and was approved (with 529 votes in favour and 143 against).

On 17 June, the report drafted by the German Pirate Party’s Julia Reda proposing major changes to copyright laws in the EU has been adopted by the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee (JURI) after it spent several hours voting on 550 amendments. (23 votes in favour, 2 against). The report will now be voted on by the full European Parliament on July 9, where more amendments could be made. The final text will then be sent to the European Commission, which will use it as input for a legislative proposal on copyright reform, expected to appear by the end of the year.

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In May, the European Commission put forward the long-awaited guidelines for a digital strategy. The Pandora’s Box is now open and the Commission will take on board reactions from various segments of the society and politicians.

While there is a large consensus that going digital is the way forward, some of the areas have raised a high level of controversy. Perhaps chief among these is the approach to copyright, on which the Commission has announced plans to follow up with legislation before the end of 2015. Intellectual property seems to be one of the most hotly debated areas and which lines up impressive lobby efforts on both sides of the reform. Continue Reading

MEPs call for a “European Roma Holocaust Memorial day”

The EU parliamentarians adopted a non-legislative resolution officially recognising the genocide of Roma that took place during World War II and calling for the establishment of a “European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day” dedicated to commemorating the victims of the genocide of Roma.

The resolution was adopted by 554 votes in favour, 13 against and 44 abstentions. Continue Reading