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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

Summary of the 17-20 January 2011 EP plenary session

EU strategy for the Black Sea

A non-legislative report urging the Commission and the EEAS to draw up a strategy for the Black Sea region was adopted by the House. While the final vote saw an overwhelming majority, the most controversial provision was on paragraph 25 (2), which referred to Russian’s fleet presence in the area. Concretely, the provision stated that the Parliament “expresses particular concern at the extension of the port agreement for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea and its possible impact on stability in the region”. The S&D, ALDE and GUE/NGL groups voted against this stipulation, but they were defeated as the EPP, ECR and the Greens/EFA secured a majority in its favour. Click to see the distribution of votes and text. Continue Reading

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

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