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

Is Belgian MEP Rolin actually more progressive than his political group, the EPP?

As our previous report on the ‘unusual’ voting behavior of the Finnish MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen showcased, the positions taken by EU Parliamentarians sometimes diverge from the official lines of their political groups.

Indeed, the political affiliation of MEPs is not the only factor that shapes their voting behavior. There are many other factors that influence MEPs’ behavior, such as their nationality, personal background and beliefs. Continue Reading

Vote on labour policy highlights political and national differences

Brexit will lead to a decrease in the support for a more flexible labour market across the European Union. In fact, over the decades, the British government opposed several EU initiatives aiming at stepping up worker protection, as they implied higher costs for businesses as a whole. The debates regarding the flexibility of the labour market have long haunted the different European institutions, which constantly hesitated about the positions they should adopt while trying to satisfy countries with heterogeneous views on the question. Continue Reading

EU governments’ power game with freedom of movement for European citizens: who is losing?

Freedom of movement of people inside the Union is one of the four fundamental freedoms on which the European construction is based, along with that of goods, services and capital. While the principle is clearly stated in the EU’s treaties, when it comes to applying it, many issues surface.  The European Executive, the Commission, has proposed in recent years a number of pieces of legislation aimed at removing the remaining regulatory barriers between the countries.

These laws have eventually been approved in the Council of the EU, but only after tough disputes between the Member States. However, the introduction of qualified majority voting has made it possible to reach a position even without all governments agreeing. This has set the ground for a new kind of power game in the Council, with each interested government looking to find allies and build majorities, or blocking minorities. Failure to do so results in being left in minority and losing the battle.  Continue Reading