Comment vote le Parlement européen ! Voting in the 2009-2014 European Parliament: how do MEPs vote after Lisbon?

Vote Watch vient de presenter son rapport le 26 janvier dernier.

The report analyses the voting behavior of MEPs and the political groups from the first plenary session of the new parliament (in july 2009) up to and including the December 2010 plenary session

The June 2009 European parliament elections and the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty have produced some changes in voting patterns in the European parliament .although the European people’s party is the largest group in the European parliament (with 36% of the seats),it is not always in a dominant position when it comes to winning votes, particularly in some of the most competitive areas.

The chances that the EPP wins a vote depend on a series of factors, such as the level of party competition, the coalition formation pattern (centre-left vs. centre-right), their own internal cohesion, and the behavior of the other two main groups. The EPP win easily when ALDE vote with them, as in most votes on economic and monetary affairs. When ALDE vote with S&D against the EPP, the EPP can still win if it can maintain a high level of internal cohesion (compared to S&D and ALDE) and a high participation rate, as has been the case on some civil liberties and environment policy votes. On the other hand, when a centre-left coalition is formed and where the EPP suffers higher defections, the EPP tends to find itself on the losing side, as is often the case on gender  equality issues and, to a lesser extent, on development issues.

Consequently, when there is a left-right split in votes, ALDE holds the balance of power. As a result, so far in EP7 ALDE have won, in more votes than the EPP, which was not the case in the previous Parliament. However, the international cohesion rate of the ALDE group is lower than the of the S&D and EPP and, moreover, has declined in the third semester of EP7 (July to December 2010) which diminishes the group’s voting power.

The ‘grand coalition’ (of S&D+ALDE+EPP) remains at the core of most decisions of constitutional affairs, foreign policy, agriculture and fisheries. However, this coalition is increasingly opposed by the other political groups. Furthermore, the new parliament has seen more left-right splits in votes in a number of policy areas, such as environment and public health, civil liberties, gender equality or development.

In the 2009-2014 European parliament, MEPs vote primarily  along transnational party lines rather than along national lines. Proof of this is the fact that cohesion rates of the four largest political groups (EPP,S&D,ALDE and Greens/EFA) are growing and are higher  than cohesion scores of MEPs from a single country(regardless of party). The only policy area that bucks this trend is agriculture: here the European political groups are less cohesive than on other policy issues and some national delegations (particularly the French and the Scandinavians) vote along national lines, and independently from colleagues in their political groups.

P.s. Civil liberties: a centre-left coalition (GUE/NGL+Greens/EFA+S&D+ALDE) has been predominant against the background of increasing left-right competition: the 3rd semester of EP7 saw the highest level of party competition in the policy area in the whole 2004-2010 period( the share of votes won by ‘the grand coalition’ reaching a record low of 40%). Although ALDE and the S&D won more votes overall than the EPP, the main centre-right group succeeded in winning a number of keys votes, such as the final votes on the Resolutions of Freedom of Information in Europe ( October 2009) and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (November 2010). The EPP have been  successful  on this occasions due to a combination of strong mobilization of its own members and defections from the other groups, particulary from ALDE

 Carmela de Luca Université de Naples  “l’ORIENTALE”

Adeline Silva Pereira

Après avoir effectué la deuxième année du master Sécurité Globale analyste politique trilingue à l'Université de Bordeaux, j'effectue un stage au sein d'EU Logos afin de pouvoir mettre en pratique mes compétences d'analyste concernant l'actualité européenne sur la défense, la sécurité et plus largement la coopération judiciaire et policière.

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