September 2011 EP plenary votes: Centre-right pushes through the Economic Governance Package

The legislative package establishing the framework for European economic governance, also referred to as the ‘six-pack’, has finally been voted upon in the European Parliament, following several postponements. The legislative proposals have been adopted largely due to solid support from the EPP and ALDE groups, whose members voted in favour of all six texts.

Despite the opposition of the other groups, the EPP and ALDE groups succeeded in securing the majority due to a high level of internal discipline, combined with defections from other groups. Continue Reading

September 2011: All change at VoteWatch.eu

Priestley and Van Hulten join VoteWatch.eu team

Brussels/London, Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Former European Parliament Secretary-General Sir Julian Priestley has joined the Board of VoteWatch.eu, the independent organisation that tracks MEP voting behaviour, it was announced today.

Priestley’s appointment is part of an overhaul of VoteWatch.eu’s governance structure, designed to prepare the organisation for the next phase in its development. Continue Reading

July 2011 EP plenary votes: Restrictions to cultivation of GMOs: each member state to decide for itself

The Parliament voted a legislative resolution stating that each state should decide for itself whether or not to restrict  the cultivation of GMOs on its territory. Though the final vote saw all political groups voting in favour of the proposal, the battle took place on several key provisions related to the legal grounds that Member States can use for prohibition. Click here to see the text of the legislative proposal.

The original proposal of the European Commission stated that member states can use all but health and environmental grounds in a decision to prohibit cultivation of GMOs. However, the political groups left-of-the-centre in the House insisted that member states be allowed to invoke a potentially negative environmental impact and that the list of legal grounds should explicitly include the socio-economic impact and urban planning. The centre-left (ALDE+S&D+Greens/EFA+GUE/NGL) secured a clear majority to pass their amendments due to a number of defections from the EPP group, primarily from among the Austrian, German, Greek and Hungarian ranks. Click here to see the text of the key amendment 41 and here to see a breakdown of votes by political groups, national delegations and individual MEPs.
Continue Reading

June 2011 EP plenary session: Parliament’s recommendations for the 2014-2020 MFF

The report on the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014-2020, which asked for an increase of at least 5% in the EU budget, as well as own resources and increased flexibility to respond to unexpected events, was endorsed by a pro-European majority (EPP, S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA). However, symbolic splits are noticeable: in the EPP Group, the Swedish delegation voted against, while part of the German delegation abstained. In the S&D Group, opposition came from the British and Danish delegations, while in the ALDE Group the British, German, Danish and Swedish delegations expressed their reservations by abstaining.  Click to see the breakdown of votes, more information and text of the report.

Other key votes in the MFF 2014-2020 report: Continue Reading

Summary of the 9-12 May 2011 EP plenary session

Centre-right (EPP+ALDE+ECR) MEPs ask the Commission to speed up negociations for a FTA with India. Centre-left opposed

The centre-right political forces defeated the left by 390 votes to 276, as christian-democrats, conservative and liberal MEPs all voted in favour. In the opposing camp were the socialists and democrats, greens and redical-left MEPs. However, 13 socialists, primarely from the UK, defected from their group and supported the FTA.

The non-legislative resolution expresses Parliament’s dissapointment of the slow progress in negociations for the free trade agreement and calls on both parties to finish the work by the end of this year. The text mentiones that the aim of the agreement should be full reciprocal duty elimination for all industrial goods, including sensitive sectors such as passenger cars. Continue Reading

Summary of the 4-7 April 2011 EP plenary session

Centre-left coalition fails to block Commission baby food health claim decision

A centre-left coalition (ALDE+S&D+Greens/EFA+GUE/NGL) on Wednesday 6 April failed to block a move by the European Commission to allow producers of baby food to claim that DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a fatty acid which occurs naturally in breast milk but which many baby milk formulas use as a synthetic additive, “contributes to the normal visual development of infants up to 12 months of age”.

A resolution to block the claim received 328 votes, well short of the qualified majority of 369 required under the ‘regulatory procedure with scrutiny’ to block a Commission decision. The German, Dutch and Swedish delegations within the ALDE group as well as part of the Italian delegation in the S&D group did not follow their group line. Click here to see how each MEP voted and for a break-down of votes by political group.  Continue Reading

Summary of the 7-10 March 2011 EP plenary session

Centre-left wins first battle over a new tax on financial transactions

According to the resolution adopted on Thursday, EU should introduce a tax on financial transactions (FTT) so that the financial sector will become safer and society greener. By introducing the tax, EU and developing countries should try to increase their tax revenues by combating tax evasion and harmful tax practices. This measure will not only reduce poverty but also eventually lead to a “governance dividend”.

One key vote was on amendment 2, which stipulate the fact that the EU should promote the introduction of an FTT at global level; failing that, the EU should implement an FTT at European level as a first step.

This centre-left forces succeeded in having this key amendment adopted due to a number of defections in the ALDE and EPP groups. Click to see the distribution of votes on amendment 2. Continue Reading

Summary of the 14-17 February 2011 EP plenary session

EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement approved by the MEPs

The European Parliament voted in favour of the FTA that aims to eliminate 98% of import duties – 1.6 billion euro of South Korean duties and 1.1 billion euro of EU duties – as well as trade barriers in manufactured goods, agricultural products and services over the next five years. While a majority of 465 MEPs voted in favour, the radical left (GUE/NGL) and the Greens/EFA groups, as well as 25 Socialists and Democrats (S&D) members from France and Italy opposed the agreement. Click to see how each MEP voted and the text of the agreement.

The House also adopted a Safeguard Clause to accompany the FTA, that allows the EU industry and governments to request a re-imposition of duties if surging imports hurt EU producers. This time the Greens/EFA and the GUE/NGL groups abstained, while the rest of the MEPs voted in favour. Click to see how MEPs voted and the text of the Safeguard Clause.

To read more about the EU-South Korea FTA click here. Continue Reading

Voting Behaviour in the EP: How Do MEPs Vote after Lisbon ?

This VoteWatch.eu report looks into the voting patterns in the first 18 months of the 7th European Parliament. The study, based on 1351 roll-call votes, finds that the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) continue to vote based on ideology rather than nationality and identifies the coalition formation pattern between the 7 political groups in the EP on each of the 20 policy areas.  Continue Reading