EU Climate agenda: key MEP to watch

© European Union 2019 – Source : EP / ERIC VIDAL

This report is the second instance of our new series on individual MEPs: Getting to know the decision-makers. We launched this series last week when we looked at the track record of the rapporteur on the Just Transition Fund. In these reports, we look beyond mere statements and learn the actual directions in which the politicians work to influence EU legislation. Continue Reading

Von der Leyen gets the green light, but the biggest challenges are yet to come

© European Union 2019 – Source : EP

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

How each MEP voted on Lagarde, Brexit backstop, US-Iran sanctions and Amazon fires

© European Union 2019 – Source : EP

While preparing for the upcoming hearings of the EU Commission nominees, MEPs cast their votes on some of the hottest topics on the EU agenda: the appointment of Christine Lagarde to succeed Mario Draghi at the ECB, the EU strategy on the Brexit negotiations, the US sanctions against Iran and the case of the Amazon fires.

While the mainstream forces (S&D, Renew Europe and EPP) managed to remain cohesive in backing Lagarde and the EU Brexit strategy, rifts among these groups were observed with regards to the EU position on US-Iran and the Amazon fires. Continue Reading

Exclusive interview: Albanian progress on its path towards EU membership

 By Xhoana Shehu

The recent acceleration in the Western Balkans’ path towards EU membership results from the window of opportunity opened by the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council, as the South Eastern country is highly supportive of the EU perspective of the region, due to the regional linkage they have. Indeed, after the 6-months Bulgarian Presidency, the Western Balkan region is back in the spotlight and is most likely going to stay in the center stage during the Austrian Council Presidency, starting at the end of June, since the country is also friendly to the region.

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Scenario: who could take over EU’s top posts in 2019?

2019 is surely going to bring a large shake-up to the EU system. Next year we will see the first EU elections without the British and an increasingly fragmented European Parliament, as new political movements like Macron’s En Marche and the Italian 5 Star Movement are set to pose a serious challenge to the traditional parties. As a result, the allocation of top EU posts will be a more complex operation than ever before. Continue Reading

Survey results: What will happen in 2019 – pivotal year for the EU?

The findings of our latest survey among EU professionals reveal interesting expectations regarding the changes to take place in 2019. The EU affairs community largely expects the EPP to win the elections next year, but also to be the first political family to propose a leading candidate for the elections (spitzenkandidat). Eurosceptic forces are expected to stand strong, despite the departure of the British UKIP. Continue Reading

Winners and losers of the EP Plenary January 2018

The Politics behind EU Policy Making

Energy, environment and fisheries are three of the areas where the EU Parliamentarians have made key decisions during the first EP plenary of 2018. As always, we kept track of who voted for what, who won and who lost. This report highlights the most controversial issues, the oddest voting behaviors of MEPs and the strangest bedfellows occurred during the January part-session. Continue Reading

Could Macron join ALDE?

‘‘European Liberals seek champion for upcoming elections’’ would not be out of place among the latest job openings on the website of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). For the European centrist family, it is indeed crucial to lead a decisive campaign in 2019 to gain weight on the European stage and to finally emerge as a leading force rather than remaining stuck between the right-leaning EPP and the left leaning S&D. Continue Reading

German political crisis: what next?

The recent breakdown of the negotiations for a new coalition in Germany took many stakeholders by surprise. As our pre-elections report published in June had already predicted, putting together a coalition between the Christian Democrats, the Liberals and the Greens is a painstaking operation. The abrupt end of the preliminary talks showed that there are still limitations to political engineering, as the positions of the Greens on most issues are still too far from the ones of their potential coalition partners. Continue Reading

What future for the ALDE group: the internal divisions and the potential transformations of the kingmaker of the EP

Because of its central position within the political spectrum, ALDE/ADLE is currently the main kingmaker in the EP. The positions adopted by this political group are often decisive in swinging the outcome of votes, when the two largest groups (EPP and S&D) are in disagreement. For example, this is often the case with regards to environmental policy, where the two largest EU political families are backing different regulatory approaches. Continue Reading