21st Mar 2018

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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.

Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case

The European Commission repeated that it followed the rules when its former head joined Goldman Sachs - and suggested it will not follow the EU Ombudsman's demand to refer the case back to the ethics committee.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders expected to approve Brexit future talks guidelines
  2. Tusk: EU must 'continue to engage' with US on trade
  3. European elections set for 23-26 May 2019
  4. EU tries to find common candidate for top UN food job
  5. Facebook post triggers Norway no-confidence vote
  6. Merkel: 'no reason' to sanction Schroeder for Russia support
  7. MEPs and Council strike deal on posted workers' rights
  8. EU parliament to investigate Facebook data 'breach'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverHiring - Sales Associate With 2+ Years Experience - Apply Now!
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?