Monday

25th Jul 2016

MEPs boost transparency in committee votes

  • Casini: 'Voters have a right to know how their elected representatives have voted' (Photo: European Parliament)

A large majority of MEPs on Wednesday (26 February) in Strasbourg agreed to increase transparency in the committee level decision-making process.

With more and more critical votes on draft laws taken at the committee stage, the change means final legislative votes in committees will be electronically recorded and published for public scrutiny in a so-called roll call vote.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Most final committee votes are currently taken by a show of hands. But a roll call vote means people can now hold an MEP accountable for his or her voting behaviour at all stages of the law-making process.

“The rather lengthy distance between the European Parliament and the citizen should not be shrouded in opacity,” said UK liberal Andrew Duff in a statement.

“While all votes in committee are open to the press and public, it is very difficult for the voting behaviour of every individual MEP to be monitored,” he added.

Italian centre-right MEP Carlo Casini, who chairs the parliament’s constitutional affairs committee, was the lead negotiator on the file.

Casini in his report justified the change because “voters have a right to know how their elected representatives have voted.”

His report met initial resistance by the parliament’s centre-right EPP and the centre-left S&D groups.

Both groups delayed placing the item on the assembly agenda twice.

They wanted further consultations and argued that MEPs must understand the full implications of the roll call because it narrows the room for manoeuvre and flexibility in negotiations.

Exposing voting track records is said to make it more difficult for deputies to engage in legislative swaps, a process where an MEP or a group of MEPs make concessions to the opposing camp on a proposal in exchange for something else.

Pro-transparency groups say the procedural change is needed because the real decision-making on legislation in the parliament is often made at the committee levels.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event Agenda for 2016
  2. GoogleHow Google Fights Piracy: Creating Value While Fighting Piracy
  3. EJC"My Visit to Israel" - Opinion by MEP Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the EP Working Group on Antisemitism
  4. World VisionChildren Migrating, Out of School and at Work as Hunger Deepens in Southern Africa
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStand-Up (and Exercise) to Prevent Chronic Diseases
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersLaunches a Real-time News Hub Specialised in EU Stakeholders
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen Calls for International Probe Into Turkey Coup Allegations
  8. GoogleEU-US Privacy Shield: Restoring Faith in Data Flows and Transatlantic Relations
  9. World VisionWorld Leaders & Youth Advocates Launch Partnership to End Violence Vs. Children
  10. Counter BalanceReport: Institutionalised Corruption in Romania's Third Largest Company
  11. Access NowEuropol Supports Encryption. We Can Relax Now… Right?
  12. GoogleLearn about Google's projects across Europe on Twitter @GoogleBrussels