by Matthew Saliman & Vladimir Vasilev
The 2016 presidential election is not the most popular topic among Europeans right now, when issues like the refugee crisis, the terrorist threats, Brexit, and climate change are more prominent concerns. Even with the TTIP agreement being debated in EU institutions, Europeans still feel the US elections as a distant process. Continue Reading
The Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) of the European Parliament adopted by a large majority (14 votes in favour, 5 against, 3 abstentions) a report asking for the reform of the electoral law of the European Union for the next EU elections of 2019. The draft report has been prepared by two rapporteurs, which are part of the two main EU political groups, Danuta Hübner (EPP -PL) and Jo Leinen (S&D-DE), and will be put to vote in the EP plenary at the end of October.
The findings based on the factual analysis of the data are sometimes counter-intuitive to some. Since we started looking at the dynamics in the European Parliament in early 2009 we have revealed a number of state of facts which may have otherwise gone unnoticed. One of these is the fact that, in certain circumstances, it is not only the size of a parliamentary group that is instrumental in pushing through decisions of one’s choice. When none of the political groups holds a majority and the balance of power between the two big blocks at the left and the right is almost equal, the small groups may make the difference. This is particularly the case of the small group(s) who have a high coalition potential, i.e. who find it easy to swing between the center-left and the center-right.
In the case of the European Parliament, this parliamentary group is ALDE. One year after the elections, ALDE seems to have got back in its kingmaker seat at the table of the European Parliament. Although only 4th biggest now, ALDE has won more votes in the EP plenary than any other group. It is closely followed by the two ‘giants’, EPP and S&D, while the rest of the groups are far behind.
There has been a lot of speculation lately about what the impact of the surprising election of Andrzej Duda as president of Poland could be for Europe and for his country. We did a fact-check to find out what his true views are on policy-making, by analysising his voting behavior as an MEP, a position he held since 2014.
What did we find: judging by his voting record, Mr. Duda has reservations with regard to Juncker’s Commission, is a strong supporter of Ukraine’s European aspirations, favours the inclusion of investor’s protection clause in international trade agreements and supports a bigger EU budget. He prefers security over privacy and shares Israel’s views on Middle East politics. He does not support ambitious targets for renewable energy or gender-based affirmation action and he opposes to promotion of contraception and abortion. Continue Reading
During the first six months of the current term of the European Parliament (July 2014 – December 2014), the three pro-European groups at the centre of the spectrum have succeeded in being ‘on the winning side’ much more often than the other groups, as a result of pre-vote agreements between them. Had there not been the vote in January 2015, when the political groups founded impossible to reach consensus on the Commission’s working plan for the current year, we could have concluded that a (super) grand coalition is alive and well. Continue Reading
Brussels, 27 February 2015. VoteWatch Europe, the organisation tracking the voting and activity records of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), has released a special report to shed light on the developments of the first 6 months of the new EP term. The report is based mainly on the roll-call votes in the EP plenary.
VoteWatch Europe finds that the “grand coalition” (EPP-S&D-ALDE) is more frequent in votes in this EP than in the previous two EPs. Continue Reading
On 30 September 2014, VoteWatch Europe presented a special policy brief that looks at the allocation of committee chairmanships and EP bureau posts since the 2004 EU enlargement until today. It shows that, as in the previous 10 years, the biggest and older Member States still hold the majority of the EP committees’ chairs positions. However, this representation gap between big/small and old/new Member States has substantially declined after the 2014 European elections, as a result of a combination of factors including the rise of anti-EU parties in ‘old’ EU. Continue Reading