While political environments are often being described as ‘bubbles’ that are detached from the rest of society, they are far from being immune to the most dramatic international developments. After facing significant disruption due to the wave of terrorist attacks in 2015 – 2016, the EU political life is now sliding towards a standstill due to the ongoing Corona Virus pandemic. Continue Reading
During the last plenary session, MEPs gave the green light to the new von der Leyen’s Commission, as the eventful 2019 year comes close to an end. After a prolonged period of EU transition limbo, in 2020 the focus will shift back to the day-to-day legislative battles. Who are the future winners and losers of EU politics going to be? Continue Reading
Today, a majority of MEPs decided to give the green-light to the new von der Leyen Commission. About 65% of MEPs backed the new College of Commissioners, whereas only 22% of Parliamentarians voted against von der Leyen. This means that, after a difficult process, the new legislative cycle can finally start. However, if you think von der Leyen’s life will be any easier after clearing this major hurdle, you might want to reconsider: the biggest challenges are yet to come, as the latest trends show that coalition building on EU policy initiatives is going to be more difficult than ever. Continue Reading
European Commission took another beating from the Parliament: its definition of endocrine disruptors gets rejected
The frustration of the bureaucrats in DG Health and Food Safety must be reaching a new high, as the elected EU politicians block their agenda once again. After being slapped with the rejection of their plans to approve a new genetically modified soybean, the Parliamentarians had an issue with the Executive’s definition of endocrine disruptors too. Continue Reading
Half a year into the job of presiding over one of the most influential committees of the European Parliament, the one that legislates environmental (and energy) policy, MEP Adina Vălean feels that the EU can do more to lead the world into becoming truly environmentally-friendly. However, in this exclusive interview to VoteWatch, Vălean also explains how a two-speed Europe could weaken EU’s environmental ambitions and leverage on the global stage. Continue Reading
The EU Parliament adopted a resolution constituting the mandate for its delegation to COP 21, the UN climate change conference that will take place in Paris in December 2015. The adopted text urges the EU to demand a legally binding and ambitious agreement. Although the final document received cross-party support, key differences remain between the political families, which sets the stage for further difficult negotiations.
Concretely, MEPs coming from the leftist groups and ALDE formed a majority in favour of more ambitious legally-binding targets. Their position is that the EU should lead the way and go ahead with 3 binding targets, an energy-efficiency target of 40%, a renewable energy target of 30% by 2030 and a greenhouse-gas (GHG) reduction target of at least 40% (compared to 1990 levels). These forces have also asked for a roadmap to completely eliminate greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.
On the other hand, the conservative forces, EPP and ECR, prefer a more gradual approach that would allow various economic sectors more time to adjust without losing competitiveness. EPP and ECR proposed that the full elimination of CO2 emissions should be envisaged by the end of the century, as 2050 is considered an unrealistic deadline. Moreover, the centre-right euro-parliamentarians are of the opinion that the EU should be more cautious in establishing its own binding targets in the absence of a legally-binding agreement at global level, since the lack of a level-playing field would put the European industry (and its jobs) at a disadvantage when trying to sell its products and services on the global market. This view was not shared by the left and ALDE, who currently rally a majority in the European Parliament on environmental matters, and who are more inclined to believe that if Europe takes the lead this would put pressure on the other global players to do the same.
Through this report, the EU Parliament also calls on the Member States to urgently take binding and concrete measures against climate change and pull their weight towards an ambitious and legally binding agreement in Paris this December. However, the voting behavior of some key delegations of MEPs whose parties are governing in their countries seems to indicate that these governments have reservations. Concretely, Angela Merkel’s German CDU/CSU delegation, David Cameron’s Conservative delegation, Polish Law&Justice Party (of the new prime-minister Beata Szydlo) and Mariano Rajoy’s Partido Popular delegation all voted for a more gradual approach towards achieving environmental objectives.