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.

Here are some of the most intriguing findings:

- Dutch fishing industry lobby fails to maintain fishing by electrocution. Notably, among the Dutch, only the MEP representing the Party for the Animals voted for making this practice illegal. However, 60% of EU Parliamentarians from the other countries supported the ban of electric fishing (and blocked Commission's initiative that aimed to continue to allow this technique).

- EPP fails to lift ban on driftnets use in the Baltic Sea. However, some of the EPP delegations bordering the Baltic Sea disagreed with their political group and supported keeping the ban.

Austrian far-right party, new junior coalition partner in Vienna, agrees that the European Commission should monitor phasing out of national subsidies for fossil fuels. In an unusual turn of events, the FPO's votes supported the (tiny) majority that the leftist groups needed to push this demand onto the Commission.

ALDE/ADLE is the main winner of this plenary session. Benefiting from increasing disputes between center-right EPP and center-left S&D, the centrist ALDE was needed most of the time to build a majority and, as a result, this group was on the winning side in 84% of votes (significantly ahead of both S&D and EPP).

French right-wing MEPs join the left in pushing for remunerated internships. French policymakers are leading the fight against unpaid internships, together with Portuguese, Austrian and Cypriot MEPs.

- In an attempt to protect Tuscany's geothermal industry, Italian Democratic Party, in power in Rome, succeeds in swinging the position of the Socialist group in their favour, but then fails to gather an overall majority to block the resolution in the EP's plenary. Italians in S&D have a big influence on the group, although the current chair, Gianni Pittella, might be running soon for the national elections in Italy.

- The Maltese, Slovenian and Croatian MEP were the most interested to take part in the votes in January (their attendance rate was higher than the one of the other national groups). While the Cypriot, the Finns and the Estonians were the least participative. See here the full list.

- On decisions regarding employment policy, Italian and Portuguese MEPs put party affiliation second and tended to vote together, while the Danes, Swedes, British or the Dutch remained deeply divided on political lines.

- In a counter-intuitive move, Greens refuse to endorse call by the other leftist groups to exclude energy efficiency investments from budget deficit rules - reasons are yet unclear.

Greens/EFA MEPs have been the most participative in this part-session. Greens/EFA group has also been the most cohesive group (ie. its members voted most often as a united block).  Members of the Eurosceptic groups have been the least united.

Three MEPs were in the majority most often (meaning that their position was the most consensual overall in the EP), all from ALDE: Nedzhmi Ali, Charles Goerens and Urmas Paet.

- Bernd Lange was in the majority the most often from among the Socialists & Democrats, whereas Sean Kelly scored the highest from among the People’s Party Members.

- Extra: EPP's spokesperson, Sigriefed Mureşan chips in on the future of EU money

- Extra: What would a Macron-led ALDE mean for European politics?

If you want to discover exactly how each EU Parliamentarian voted on the above issues, sign up to our services by dropping us an email at [email protected]

This analysis is part of VoteWatch Premium Service. To read the full analysis you need to log-in with a PREMIUM account. If you don't have one, contact us at  [email protected]