Monday 30 March 2015
On the basis of a study performed by VoteWatch Europe, the Hanns Seidel Stiftung set up a meeting to analyse the voting of the new European Parliament in the first six months after the parliamentary elections of May 2014, in its local office situated in Brussels.
The main observation is that two of the three groups which form the grand coalition (EPP, S&D and ALDE) in the new Parliament, namely EPP and S&D, voted the same way in 4 out of 5 votes. However, the grand coalition broke down when key political issues had to be voted, such as when the European Commission unveiled its concrete plans for the coming year in January 2015.
One of the results of the 2014 elections had been the progression made by the fringe groups. However, until now, those fringe groups have not been able to impose their views in key decisions made by the EP. The main tools used by those groups to express their views and increase their visibility, have been parliamentary questions and oral and written statements.
The EPP has lost a significant number of seats in the new Parliament, but remains the leading political group, as is also shown by the ‘won votes’ record (in 92.5 % of votes cast by the EP, the EPP voted in accordance with the majority vote (‘yes’ or ‘no’) of that Parliament).
The policy areas in which the EPP wins most easily, are economic and monetary affairs, budget, internal market and industry, research and energy. On the other hand, the centre-left (S&D) is the group which wins most votes in the areas of civil liberties justice and home affairs.
In all, the conclusion is that MEPs participate more frequently in the voting. This is explained by the increased influence of the EP as well as the increased scrutiny exercised by civil society.