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Summary of the 13-16 December 2010 EP plenary session

The European citizens now have the right of proposing legislative initiatives to the Commission

This proposal was supported by all political groups and is considered an important step towards a strong participatory democracy at EU level. Upon adopting this initiative, the European citizens will have more means to making their voice heard to the European institutions and be directly involved in the European decision-making process. Click to see the distribution of votes, text and additional information.

Content: Parliament’s main aim was to make the procedure as simple and user-friendly as possible. Thus, the minimum number of Member States from which signatures must be gathered was lowered to one fourth. Continue Reading

Summary of the 22-25 November 2010 EP plenary session

ACTA (Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement): the Commission narrowly receives the backing of a majority of MEPs on its negotiated multilateral agreement that concerns particularly the measures taken to protect intellectual property against illegal downloading from the internet.

The issue raised strong competition between conservatives and centre-left, with the former getting the upper hand. The conservative forces (EPP and ECR groups) have succeeded in having their form of the resolution adopted in the European Parliament’s plenary (click here to see its text). The text backs the Commission and aims at a betterr protection of the industry. Continue Reading

Summary of the 18-21 October 2010 EP plenary session

Center-left wins the battle over the Maternity Leave Directive: 20 paid weeks proposed by the Parliament

The new “Directive on Maternity Leave” was adopted by the European Parliament with a narrow majority. The text provides for the extension of the maternity leave from 14 to 20 fully paid weeks and a number of other measures favorable to mothers and pregnant women, as well as for strengthening the role of the paternity leave.

The left has backed the proposal, arguing that its provisions will provide for more protection of women and encourage demographic growth. The right, on the other hand, has opposed it, stating that such provisions would lead to significant additional burden particularly for the small business and to indirect discrimination of women on the labor market, as employers will avoid hiring young women likely to benefit from an extended paid maternity leave. Continue Reading

Lack of ‘political will’ on public voting records

European Voice

Parliament under pressure to release more data on how it makes decisions.


The European Parliament has come under increased pressure to release more data on how it makes decisions, notably in releasing information on how MEPs vote. VoteWatch.eu, which provides online monitoring and analysis of the Parliament’s voting data, has called for all voting by MEPs, whether in plenary or in committees, to be recorded and made public.

Doru Frantescu of VoteWatch.eu says that the Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers should do more to make their work more transparent – especially with details of how votes are carried out. Continue Reading

Summary of the 20-22 September 2010 EP plenary session

The Financial Supervision Package was adopted by the European Parliament

The architecture of the European financial supervision, as approved by the Parliament, will consist in a European Systemic Risk Board and 3 independent authorities to supervise banks (based in London), insurance and pensions (based in Frankfurt) and securities and markets (based in Paris).

The system is conceived as a European response for preventing future financial crisis. The 6 separate reports were adopted by large majorities in the EP plenary, with only the anti-European group (EFD) opposing. However, the MEPs from the EPP, S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL groups underlined that, although they welcome the compromise reached with the Council over the content of the new regulations, they see this as only the beginning of the transition towards a real European economic and financial governance, as new regulations will follow shortly. Continue Reading

Summary of the 6-9 September 2010 EP plenary session

New guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States have been suggested by the European Parliament in a report under the consultation procedure. The document, whose provisions recommend to Member State measures so as to increase the employment rate in the EU up to 75% of the active population, was adopted in the plenary by a large majority composed of EPP+ALDE+S&D+Greens/EFA. However, the radical-left (GUE/NGL) and the anti-Europeans (EFD) voted against the proposal, while the conservatives (ECR) abstained (click to see the distribution of votes and text). Continue Reading

VoteWatch, ecco come scovare l’europarlamentare assenteista

Il Fatto Quotidiano

Politica continentale sotto la lente del web, grazie al sito che pubblica il tasso di presenza, di ribellione rispetto al gruppo di appartenenza, le interrogazioni e gli interventi tenuti in plenaria.

Nell’Italia in cui la trasparenza degli eletti non rappresenta più un valore fondante del mandato elettorale, l’etica politica si affievolisce e gli unici a dover parare il colpo pagandolo con la sfiducia tout court sono i cittadini. Continue Reading

Summary of the 5-8 July 2010 EP plenary session

The SWIFT agreement ratified: the Parliament has approved the agreement between the EU and the US on transfer of data regarding the financial transactions of EU citizens. The House had rejected the initial form of this agreement earlier this year, but has now agreed to its amended form that provides additional guarantees aimed at ensuring the proper use of the data by the US authorities, such as the delegation of a special EU official to Washington to supervise these operations.

The legislative resolution was supported by an EPP+S&D+ALDE+ECR majority, while the Greens/EFA and the radical left – GUE/NGL have opposed it. Also on the opposing side were the British members of the EFD group, as well as 2 Italian ALDE MEPs, and a small number of German MEPs of the EPP and S&D groups. Notably, the ALDE and S&D groups, after they have rejected the initial agreement in February, have now voted in favor of the amended form, considering that this new deal provides the right balance between the right to privacy of EU citizens and the need to have proper tools to fight terrorism. Continue Reading

Les coalitions varient en fonction des sujets au Parlement européen

RTL Belgique

Le positionnement des trois principaux groupes politiques au Parlement européen varie largement en fonction des sujets, selon une étude du site web indépendant d’analyse VoteWatch. Si le Parlement penche à droite sur les questions économiques, il est plutôt à gauche sur plusieurs enjeux sociétaux.

A la différence d’un parlement national, l’assemblée européenne ne fonctionne pas sur base d’une majorité claire appuyant l’action d’un gouvernement. Continue Reading

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