Political Splits and Compromise in the European Parliament: how do they vote in Strasbourg? (Part One)


Thierry Chopin,  

Camille Lépinay


13 December 2010

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Chopin Thierry

Thierry Chopin

Head of research of the Robert Schuman Foundation, associate professor at the Catholic University of Lille (ESPOL)

Lépinay Camille

Camille Lépinay

Graduate of the Political Studies Institute Paris (Sciences Po) and of the College of Europe (Bruges).

3,138 votes have taken place in the European Parliament, since the European elections in June 2009, between July 2009 and July 2010, most of them in Strasbourg [2]. Although these votes have been given relatively little media coverage, they are visible signs of an emerging European democracy. Indeed, MEPs do not sit according to their nationality, but by political group. This does not necessarily mean that nationalities play no role in the Parliament [3]. It does mean, however, that the left-right split is being expressed more vigorously alongside the more traditional division of proponents and opponents of European integration [4].

These conclusions are based on long term studies of roll call votes. A political group or a minimum of 40 MEPs are in fact allowed to ask for the recording of individual MEPs' votes, which are then made public. It should be noted that not all of the votes are recorded as roll call vote. [5] For example, the rejection of the first version of the SWIFT agreement on 11th February 2010 and the resolution on the Roma on 9th September 2010 were not recorded. Moreover, the act of requesting or not a roll call vote is a strategic choice by the groups: on the one hand, the "troops" can be mobilised; on the other hand, it can encourage MEPs not to vote, so that they do not have to approve a result that is difficult to sell from a political and media point of view. We must therefore admit that this strategic aspect may reduce the representativeness of roll call votes [6]. At the same time, however, around one third of the votes can be analysed with precision. Furthermore, these votes have been linked to attendance lists in an interactive database – VoteWatch.eu - which enables the collection of relevant statistics [7].

Finally, the revision of the European Parliament's rules of procedures in 2009 makes the roll call vote obligatory to approve any final vote on a legislative act [8].

By adopting an approach developed in a recent study published by the Robert Schuman Foundation on the 6th Legislature (2004-2009) [9], we have analysed 16 roll call votes that are illustrative of the first year of the 7th Legislature (2009-2014). The 16 votes were selected on the basis of several criteria: their political importance (for the European political system or for their impact on European policies), their importance in the media (assessed notably because they were quoted by the Parliament's press department as being "highlights" of the year [10]), whether they were illustrative amongst the various categories identified in the previous study and whether the roll call vote was used.

Without going into all of the details, we endeavour to describe how divergences have emerged between political groups and also indicate the cases in which national delegations have adopted a different stance to their group. After highlighting the increasingly partisan approach that is emerging in Parliament, these 16 votes will be studied according to five major categories: the political system, the economy, social, agricultural and environmental issues, external relations and the area of "Justice, Freedom and Security".

1 A logic of assertion which is increasingly distinct

1.1 The major patterns of the 7th legislature

The 7th European election [11] witnessed a clear victory for the right wing which took 44.5% of the votes across the Union, an increase of 5.3 percentage points in comparison with 2004. On the other hand, the Social Democratic parties were defeated, winning only 29.2% of the vote; this was their weakest result since 1979. The right wing won in 20 of the 27 Member States; the left wing won in 7. The protest vote, traditionally greater during an intermediary election like European elections, was therefore weak in 2009.

In this standpoint, the political balance in the European Parliament seems to be relatively stable in comparison with the previous legislature. Indeed, the winning European People's Party (EPP) has almost the same weight it enjoyed during the last term in office (36%). The EPP's biggest "national" delegation is that of the Germans (42 MEPs) followed by the Italians (35). With the merger of the Italian Democrats with the European Socialists the weight of the European Socialist Party (PSE) – which became the "Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats" (S&D) – only declined slightly (25% against 27.6% between 2004 and 2009). The biggest S&D delegations are German (23 MEPs), Spanish (21) and Italian (21). The Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) experienced a slight stagnation (11.4% against 12.7%), but it continues to play a pivotal role in coalition building. The two main ALDE delegations are British and German (12 MEPs each).

The results of the parties on the left are similar to those of the Social Democrats. The far left is stagnating (2.9% of the votes in the Union) whilst the GUE/NGL Group (United European Left/Nordic Green Left), which rallies the far left force, went from 9.4% to 4.7% of the seats. Its three main delegations come from Germany, France and Portugal. Although the Greens achieved high scores in Belgium, France and Luxembourg and have improved their position, they only won 5.6% across the Union as a whole, with 54 MEPs, that is 7.5% of the Parliament. They only have MEPs in 14 Member States, with the two biggest groups being German and French (14 MEPs). In its "European Free Alliance" section, the Greens/EFA parliamentary group includes, amongst others, Catalan MEPs as well as a Corsican, a Scot, an independent Estonian and a Russian speaking Latvian MEP.

At the same time, these European elections heralded a further decline for the Eurosceptics. Declan Ganley, the founder of the Libertas movement, finally lost his wager by winning only one seat: the one of the Frenchman Philippe de Villiers. Eurosceptic MEPs are notably to be found within the EFD group – Europe of Freedom and Democracy (32 members, 4.3% of the Parliament) which mainly comprises two strong delegations: the Italian one (Northern League) and the British one (United Kingdom Independence Party, UKIP). Other Eurosceptic MEPs such as the Austrians in Hans-Peter Martin's List are in the "non-inscrits" group for non-attached members.

A new feature of the 7th legislative is the new Group of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), which brings together 7.4% of the MEPs. Amongst these one can find British and Czech (ODS) conservatives – who were part of the EPP/ED group – as well as the Polish conservatives (PiS) – formerly in the UEN group. This group is both Eurosceptic conservative with regard to social issues and liberal from an economic point of view. It is a relatively fragile group in that it only just manages to achieve the representative threshold of 8 countries with the addition of five MEPs (Belgian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Dutch) whose withdrawal could lead to the end of the group. It is above all a pragmatic alliance to access posts and reports within Parliament.

The far right won 6.6% on average and over 10% in 8 Member States (Belgium, Austria, Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, Finland, Bulgaria and Italy). The increase was sharp in the UK where the British National Party (BNP) won two seats in Parliament. The far right is not a homogeneous movement and it is therefore hard to consider it as a united force. While some joined the EFD group, others are to be found amongst the non-attached.  [12]

These seven political groups form the backbone of the Parliament and represent the major political families: socialist, ecologist, liberal, Christian-Democrat, conservative and so on. It is significant that in spite of a certain level of heterogeneity within the various groups, they show great discipline when it comes to voting, and the coherence of the partisan families remains high [13]. The cohesion of the groups in the European Parliament is just as high as that of the Democrat and Republican camps in the American Congress [14].

1.2 A cultural history of transpartisan compromise

The European Parliament is typified by a culture of transpartisan compromise which has arisen due to cultural, political and institutional reasons.

From a "cultural" point of view, European affairs are marked by a culture of compromise, at a community level in general and at a Parliament level in particular. The culture of compromise has emerged within each institution – Commission, Council and Parliament - as they members have adopted converging stances contrasting with the other two, in spite of their belonging to rival political groups, as observed during the negotiation on the 2011 budget.

From a political point of view, the nature of the Union's competences helps us to understand the influence of the logic of compromise in Parliament. Neither labour nor employment policies, nor the vital issues in taxation, retirement pensions and the social protection system, nor the educational systems, nor public security are the genuine focus of EU policies. It is over these issues that the left-right split is the greatest at national level. The fact that consumer protection or healthcare are the most disputed subjects, explains, on the contrary, that two political groups such as the EPP and the S&D can adopt identical stances in around 2/3 of the votes submitted in the European Parliament.

The importance of these compromises is further enhanced by specific voting rules within Parliament which impede the expression of alternatives and the reversibility of the Community political system and make the constitution of clear, stable coalitions difficult. On the one hand, its functioning (attribution of responsibilities, reports and speaking time etc) relies on proportional rules. On the other hand, numbers of votes have to rally the support of "the majority of the component Members of Parliament" [15]. Indeed For legislative acts, the approval of amendments to a Commission proposal requires the absolute majority of component members of Parliament at second reading, as opposed to a simple majority of the votes cast for the first reading. At first reading, this may encourage the formation of occasional transpartisan majorities.

These transpartisan majorities occur frequently, since they have no effect from a national point of view or in terms of support for a government. The grand coalition agreement which was renewed between the EPP and the S&D in September 2009 bears witness to this. This so-called "technical" agreement aims to achieve the absolute majority of members (369 MEPs out of 736) and to share the Presidency of the Parliament. This alliance can be explained from an arithmetical point of view. Neither a centre-right alliance ALDE-EPP (47.7% of the members) nor a centre-left alliance S&D, Greens/EFA, ALDE and GUE/NGL (48.6%) would achieve an absolute majority. With respectively 265 and 184 MEPs, the EPP and S&D groups rally 60.9% of the seats and rise above the threshold necessary to achieve an absolute majority [16]. Even though this technical agreement is not supposed to have a political impact on the coalition partners' voting freedom, it is obvious that the quest for a transpartisan compromise retains a high profile in the functioning of Parliament.

Last but not least, the traditional culture of compromise finds an explanation in Parliament's historical institutional assertion vis-à-vis the Commission and the Council on the basis of a kind of internal transpartisan unity. Although the logic of institutional assertion has not disappeared, it should now become secondary due to the dual effect of the growth of community competences in areas that are strictly political (in the area of "Freedom, Security, Justice" for example) and in the extension of the co-decision procedure that increases Parliament's legislative powers quite significantly. This dual phenomenon has been witnessed over the last few years and has been especially enhanced by the Lisbon Treaty. With the Lisbon Treaty, the Council and the Parliament decide on an equal footing with regard to the adoption of a greater majority of legislative acts: 89 out of 120 EU policy areas are subject to the "ordinary legislative procedure", 44 being new "co-decision" areas. . The enhancement of these powers is significant in terms of the area of "freedom, security and justice" and also from a budgetary point of view – the abolition of the distinction between compulsory and non- compulsory expenditures enables the Parliament to decide on the entire budget on an equal footing with the Council. Two subtle nuances might be added however to this point. Firstly, the increase in the Parliament's co-decision powers will not prevent it from holding sway over the other community institutions and notably vis-à-vis the Commission, as witnessed during negotiations over the European External Action Service [17]. Secondly co-decision sometimes quite paradoxically leads to a certain type of renationalisation of some debates as well as an increase in the number of diverging votes within the political groups; the Permanent Representations of some Member States' sometimes try to influence the MEPs of their respective countries to win the battles they have lost in the Council.

1.3 Votes that define distinct partisan choices

In spite of this culture of compromise, some recent empirical studies have shown that votes in Parliament have become increasingly polarized from an ideological point of view over the last ten years [18]. Partisan splits appear in the choice of which MEPs will be appointed to positions of responsibility (President of the Parliament, Presidents of the Committees in particular), but they especially emerge during regular votes which the MEPs cast, notably in plenary sessions.

The left-right division is of course not as clear in the Parliament as it is at national level [19]. But the study of the parliamentary votes reveals the progressive development of two-sided political splits: on the one hand between partisans and adversaries of continuing community integration, on the other hand between the left and the right split over economic issues and questions relative to the areas of "freedom, security and justice" (asylum, immigration etc). This duality might explain the non-emergence of a clear majority on the right because although the EPP, ALDE and ECR groups form a majority (54.9%) the Eurosceptics of the ECR group are quite apart from the Europhiles of the EPP and ALDE groups. [20]

Data available on the subject confirms that the Greens and the Communist left vote much more often in the same way (79.3% of the votes recorded) than the Greens and the far right (45.2% of the votes); socialists and communists also often vote similarly (69.1% of the votes) more than the EPP and ALDE MEPs (67.9%). The proportion of joint votes between the EPP and the PSE declined over the period 1999-2004: it was over 65% in the early years but less than 64% in 2004 (for an overall average of 64.5% over that period).

In addition, a study of votes in Parliament since the beginning of the 2009-2014 legislature [21] clearly shows that the different types of coalition differ according to the subject at hand:

a centre-right alliance (EPP, ALDE and ECR) on economic and trade issues, development, industry, research and energy; a centre-left alliance (S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL) on the budget, civil liberties, environment, gender equality; a grand centrist coalition (EPP, S&D and ALDE) on agriculture, fisheries, constitutional and foreign affairs, the internal market and budgetary control.

2 Votes on the community political system

It is interesting firstly to analyse votes that focused on the functioning of the community political system. These votes convey the degree of MEPs' acceptance of the Union's main orientations from three standpoints: political, budgetary and constitutional.

2.1 The Political Dimension: investiture of the Barroso II Commission (9th February 2010)


Although the Community political system is not really a parliamentary regime, the election of the President of the Commission by the Parliament is a high point of the legislature. The re-election of José Manuel Barroso on 16th October 2009 was however not subject of a roll call vote but of a secret ballot. Therefore, the vote of approval of the European Commission as a whole is considered.

The Barroso II Commission was approved on 9th February 2010 by 66.3% of MEPs; while Barroso had been elected by 51.9% of them. The analysis of the roll call vote reveals "a grand coalition" and not a simple centre-right majority, since the Commission was approved not only by the EPP and ALDE groups but also by 88.6% of the S&D group. Of course the EPP – Barroso's political family – provided half of the favourable votes. But the comparison with the vote of approval of the "Barroso Commission I" vote in 2004 reveals an increase in the number of MEPs who approved the "Barroso Commission II" within the S&D groups (88.9% against 67.2% in 2004) and the ALDE group (86.9% against a previous 73.1%), contrary to the calls for the politicization of the election of the Commission. The vote on the appointment of the Commission was not just about electing its President, but was also a question of balance between commissioners and the distribution of portfolio. The GUE/NGL, Greens/EFA and non-attached MEPs voted against, like in 2004, the ECR group abstained and the EFD was divided.

The split between partisans and opponents of European integration is therefore not as relevant here, since the pro-European Greens/EFA voted against and some EFD MEPs voted in favour. Although it is difficult to classify this final vote according to a left-right split, the balance between the left and the right were at the heart of the negotiations between the EPP and S&D groups mainly over keys posts in the institutions and the Commission's composition. The agreement of the S&D group was counterbalanced by the perspective of holding the Presidency of the Parliament during the second mid-term of the legislature. However, it was not the S&D's agreement to the final investiture which led to the agreement over the legislature; in reality the former already existed prior to the latter and the defection of the S&D would have caused the former to "implode". This investiture vote therefore well illustrates the political dynamics behind a compromise. One might note the defections, for domestic political reasons, of the French Socialists (as in 2004) when they voted against, thereby breaking from their political group – as did the French ALDE MEPs (abstainers in 2004). Finally, British EFD MEPs opposed the investiture and were followed by the Finnish, Danish and French EFD MEPS (the only ones of their respective nationalities), whilst the majority of the group abstained.

2.2 The Budgetary Dimension: the 2010 budget (22nd October [23] and 17th December 2009 [24])

The adoption of the European budget often gives rise to an inter-institutional battle. In 2010, the Commission proposed a budget of €122.3 billion, reduced to €120.5 billion by the Council at first reading whilst 71.6% of MEPs voted for a budget of €127.5 billion on 22nd October 2009. The Parliament notably requested additional funds for the economic recovery package and a Dairy Fund. [25] Negotiations between the three institutions led to a budget of €122.937 billion, including a Dairy Fund, [26] approved at second reading by 65.6% of MEPs on 17th December 2009.

Votes at 1st and 2nd reading differed little, suggesting that MEPs followed their political groups aiming at institutional assertion, by requesting an increase at first reading and then by rallying to the inter-institutional compromise at second reading. Moreover, the stricter admissibility criteria at second reading encouraged the Parliament to be moderate. In both cases, the majority comprised the EPP, S&D and ALDE groups, with the Greens/EFA and the GUE/NGL voting against. However, there were tensions in the Eurosceptic groups, the ECR and EFD groups. Within the ECR group, the official line was abstention, but at second reading the Polish and Lithuanian delegations voted in favour aligning themselves with the other MEPs of their nationality. Within the EFD, 48.4% of the group voted against at first reading, but 35.5% voted for at second reading, due to a U-turn of the Italian EFD delegation. The participation of the Northern League – the national party of Italian EFD - in Berlusconi's government could be recalled as a possible hypothesis. The French S&D and ALDE MEPs also broke away from their groups at first reading, voting against but then voted for at second reading.

In a "national" standpoint, a rate of approval below 50% can be observed on the part of MEPs from four countries: the British (30.6%), the Czechs (36.4%, the Danes (38.5%) and the Dutch (44%). The UK, Denmark and the Czech Republic are known for their greater tendency towards euroscepticism and incidentally have delegations within the ECR and EFD groups, whilst the Netherlands is the leading net contributor to the European budget.

2.3 The Constitutional Dimension: transitional adaptation to the number of MEPs (6th May 2010)


On 6th May 2010, 65.1% of the MEPs accepted the Council's "simplified" revision of the treaties bringing the number of MEPs temporarily up to 754 to enable the 18 additional MEPs created by the Lisbon Treaty to take their seats without the dismissal of three German MEPs. The EPP, S&D and ALDE groups voted in favour, the Greens/EFA, GUE/NGL and ECR groups voted against, the EFD group abstained.

The debate [28]mainly focused on the French case. [29] Finally, Parliament accepted the appointment of two additional French MEPs by the French Parliament, instead of taking into account the results of the 2009 European elections. French S&D MEPs (in opposition at national level) agreed to this solution, but may have influenced the reticence expressed in the resolution. Five French ALDE MEPs out of six however rejected it, as did all of the Green MEPs (who could have "won" a member in case of a direct election).

From the standpoint of proponents and opponents of European integration, one may note that the resolution was prepared by the federalist MEP Inigo Méndez de Vigo (EPP, ES), whilst the EFD and ECR groups were riddled with tensions. The EFD group officially abstained but this position was only followed by 33% of its members – slightly less than half of those present. The ECR group officially voted against arguing of the additional cost of having MEPs as observers. [30] But 10 Polish ECR MEPs (out of 15) voted in favour and two abstained, aligning themselves with the other Polish MEPs. 63.9% of the British MEPs did not attend the plenary session which came just after the British elections.

2.4 Approval of the European External Action Service (8th July 2010) [31]

The fourth vote is a mix of the political, financial and constitutional aspects: the vote approving the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS). Although the treaty only required consultation of the Parliament, the latter set itself up as a key player in the inter-institutional negotiations arguing for its right of co-decision over the service's budget and over the rules establishing the status of the European civil servants. Negotiations led to a political agreement on 21st June 2010 which Parliament approved on 8th July 2010.

The resolution of 8th July 2010 was approved by an 85.4% majority of MEPs present that is 74.7% of members. The majority was composed of 5 groups out of the 7: the EPP, ALDE, S&D, Greens as well as the ECR groups. The positive voting instruction on the part of the ECR group led to low cohesion of 53.3%, whilst the other groups in favour showed cohesion of over 95%. [32] The split between partisans and opponents of European integration was to be found in the opposition of the GUE/NDL, EFD and the non-attached MEPs as well as higher levels of opposition amongst MEPs who might qualify as tendentiously more eurosceptics: the Dutch (32% against), the British (22% against), the Czechs (22.7% against), the Austrians (17.6% against), except for the Cypriots (33.3% against). It must be noted, , that these countries have more MEPs within the EFD, GUE/NGL and the non-attached groups.

These four votes illustrate quite clearly the format of the traditional centrist "grand coalition" with regard to institutional issues. They also suggest that the split between proponents and opponents of European integration and the logic of assertion vis-à-vis the other institutions are still significant as far as issues related to the European political system are concerned.

3 Votes on Economic Issues


Votes on economic issues are relevant due to the economic and financial crisis but also to observe the emergence of a left-right split.

3.1 Resolution on the "Europe 2020" Strategy (10th March 2010)


Following the extraordinary European Council on 11th February 2010, Parliament organised a debate on 24th February 2010 with the Presidents of the European Council, H. Van Rompuy, and of the Commission, J-M Barroso, to discuss, amongst other matters, the EU 2020 Strategy, going beyond the Lisbon Strategy which came to an end in 2010. After the debate, a non-legislative resolution was adopted on 10th March 2010 by 62.9% of the MEPs. Whilst being positive about the new strategy, the resolution was critical of the "open coordination method" and of the inadequacy of the European budget; it also requested a binding inter-institutional agreement for the implementation of this strategy. [34]

This resolution was also the visible result of a compromise by the addition of the positions of the EPP, S&D and ALDE groups which proposed and supported it in a "grand coalition" format. The negative votes of 6 German EPP MEPs (out of 42), the 12 French S&D MEPs present, 2 Belgian S&D MEPs and the abstention of 2 other Belgian S&D MEPs and a French ALDE MEP can be highlighted. The Greens, GUE/NGL and EFD groups as well as the non-attached MEPs voted against. 88.9% of the ECR group abstained having failed to push through its own motion but succeeding – with the EPP and ALDE's support – in the adoption of an amendment which demands structural reform. The opposition between proponents and opponents of European integration was not very relevant in this instance.

3.2 Own-initiative Report on Public Deficits (20th May 2010)


On a topical economic theme and after a Commission communication, Parliament asked French S&D MEP, L. Hoang Ngoc to write an own-initiative report on the "long term viability of public finances in the context of the economic recovery". L. Hoang Ngoc was openly against the reduction of investment spending before the end of the crisis [36], but his report was radically changed by the "Economic and Monetary Affairs" Committee, notably by the EPP and ALDE MEPs [37]. The resolution adopted is concerned about the high levels of debt and public deficit and calls for a better implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact. Since he failed to have his amendments adopted in plenary, Mr Hoang Ngoc demanded that his name be withdrawn from the report. [38]

The non-legislative resolution was approved by a simple majority (49.3% of those present, 41.2% of members from the EPP and ALDE groups except some defections). The S&D, Greens, GUE/NGL and EFD groups opposed it. A simple majority would not have been sufficient for a legislative act [39]. The ECR group abstained but was divided, notably the British delegation: of 25, 7 voted in favour, 6 abstained, and 4 did not vote. Taking these data into consideration, the hypothesis might be suggested that the tension could have been a result of the acuteness of the deficit issue for the new British government coalition between the Conservatives (ECR) and the Lib-Dems (ALDE).

3.3 The Capital Requirements' Directive (7th July 2010)


On economic matters, the Parliament is a co-legislator in many areas. Amongst the directives adopted to improve the governance of the financial markets, Parliament approved at first reading on 7th July 2010 the draft directive on "Capital requirements for the trading book and for re-securitisations, and the supervisory review of remuneration policies" (the so-called "CRD III"). In a view of a quick adoption, the directive was the subject of a political agreement with the Council at first reading. Amongst other things, this directive provides for the control of bankers' bonuses and the implementation of new Basel III rules on banks' own funds.

The political agreement was approved by a very broad majority – 90.6% of those present, 84.9% of the MEPs – including nearly all of the groups and 60.7% of the non-attached except for the GUE/NGL group and some from the EFD group. With regard to the GUE/NGL group, the instruction to abstain was followed by 60% of the members, while 28.6% voted against, since the national delegations were divided. Likewise within the EFD group, the instruction to vote in favour was only followed by 50% of the MEPs, since 10 Britons voted against. 22 British ECR MEPs out of 25 voted in support (like their group), apparently following the favourable position of the British government [41]. However, interpreting the vote through the prism of national interest" bears shortcomings, because 23.1% of British MEPs voted against, a much higher percentage than for other countries – including 2 ECR MEPs (in spite of the Conservatives' presence in the British government). The abstention of the Czech ECR delegation suggests the relative pertinence of the split between proponents and opponents of European integration.

The comparison of these votes in the economic area suggests that although long term European economic goals are the focus of relative consensus, the means to achieve them may be subject of greater politicisation and divergences, unless they result from a negotiated agreement with the other institutions.

[1] This study prolongs the reflection by Y. Bertoncini and T. Chopin, Elections européennes : l'heure des choix – Le cas de la France, Robert Schuman Foundation, Note n°45, May 2009.
[2] European Parliament (EP), "Parliament's first year in numbers: July 2009 to July 2010", 03/09/2010, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/public/story_page/008-80685-243-08-36-901-20100831STO80674-2010-31-08-2010/default_en.htm
[3] Cf. T. Chopin and C. Lépinay, " L'influence nationale au Parlement européen : état des lieux un an après les élections européennes ", Robert Schuman Foundation, European Issue n°175-176, 28/06 and 05/07/2010.
[4] See S. Hix, A. Noury, G. Roland, Dimensions of Politics in the European Parliament, Cambridge University Press 2007.
[5] The other votes are votes by a show of hands or electronic votes.
[6] Bjørn Høyland, "Procedural and party effects in European Parliament roll-call votes", European Union Politics, vol. 11 n°4, December 2010, pp. 597–613.
[7] http://www.votewatch.eu/ The authors thank the VoteWatch.eu team for allowing them to use their data. We would also like to thank Arnaud Magnier for his attentive reading of this text.
[8] European Parliament, Rules of procedure– 7th legislature, November 2010, article 166.
[9] Y. Bertoncini and T. Chopin, Elections européennes : l'heure des choix, op. cit., pp. 46-67.
[10] European Parliament, "Parliament's first year in numbers: July 2009 to July 2010", op.cit.,
[11] For a detailed commentary see T. Chopin, C. Deloy, "The European Elections 2009. Results, review, outlook" in "The State of the Union 2010. Schuman Report on Europe", Paris, Editions Lignes de repères, 2010.
[12] Simon Hix, "What to expect in the 2009-14 European Parliament: Return to the Grand Coalition?", Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies (SIEPS), European Policy Analysis, n°8, August 2009, p.3., http://www.sieps.se/files/download-document/561-2009_8epa.html
[13] Cf. Simon Hix, Christopher Lord, Political Parties in the European Union, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1997.
[14] Hix, 2009, op.cit., p.1.
[15] For a detailed inventory of these rules, see Yves Bertoncini and Thierry Chopin, op. cit., p. 476-477.
[16] Hix, 2009, op..cit., p.3.
[17] Cf. Maxime Lefebvre, Christophe Hillion, "The European External Action Serivce : towards a common diplomacy?" European Issues n°184, Robert Schuman Foundation, 18th October 2010 - http://www.robert-schuman.eu/doc/questions_europe/qe-184-fr.pdf
[18] See S. Hix, A. Noury, G. Roland, Dimensions of Politics in the European Parliament, op. cit.
[19] On this point see, Paul Magnette, Yannis Papadopoulos, "On the Politicization of the European Consociation: a Middle way between" Hix and Bartolini", in European Governance Paper, Eurogov, 2008.
[20] H. De Clerck-Sachsse, "The New European Parliament: All change or business as usual?", CEPS Special report, CEPS, August 2009, p.3., www.ceps.eu/ceps/download/1714
[21] Cf. "Voting Behaviour in the New European Parliament: the First Year", VoteWatch.eu. Annual Report 2010.
[22] EP Decision of 9th February 2010 giving consent to the appointment of the Commission, http://www.votewatch.eu/cx_vote_details.php?id_act=320&lang=en
[23] EP Resolution on 22nd October 2009 on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2010, Section III – Commission (C7-0127/2009 – 2009/2002(BUD)) and Letter of amendment No 1/2010 (SEC(2009)1133) to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2010, http://www.votewatch.eu/cx_vote_details.php?id_act=117&lang=en
[24] EP Resolution of 17th December 2009 on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2010 as modified by the Council (all sections) (11902/2009 – C7-0127/2009 – 2009/2002(BUD)) and Letters of amendment Nos 1/2010 (SEC(2009)1133 - 14272/2009 - C7-0215/2009), 2/2010 (SEC(2009)1462 – 16328/2009 - C7-0292/2009) and 3/2010 (SEC(2009)1635 – 16731/2009 - C7-0304/2009) to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2010, cf. http://www.votewatch.eu/cx_vote_details.php?id_act=299&lang=en
[25] EP, "2010 Budget : more Money to fund the Recovery Plan and milk Fund", 22/09/2010, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+IM-PRESS+20091021IPR62941+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
[26] EP, "Parliament adopts EU budget for2010", 17/12/2010, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+IM-PRESS+20091215IPR66441+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
[27] EP Resolution of 6th May 2010 on the draft protocol amending Protocol No 36 on transitional provisions concerning the composition of the European Parliament for the rest of the 2009-2014 parliamentary term: the European Parliament's opinion, cf. http://votewatch.eu/cx_vote_details.php?id_act=623&lang=en
[28] EP, CRE 05/05/2010 - 17, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+CRE+20100505+ITEM-017+DOC+XML+V0//EN
[29] Cf. Chopin and Lépinay, op. cit, p.8.
[30] Explanation of the vote of P. Bradbourn (ECR), in EP, PV 06/05/2010 - 7.2, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+CRE+20100506+ITEM-012+DOC+XML+V0//EN
[31] EP legislative resolution on 8th July 2010 on the proposal for a Council decision establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service cf. http://votewatch.eu/cx_vote_details.php?id_act=851&lang=en
[32] DataVoteWatch.eu
[33] Cf. http://www.votewatch.eu/cx_vote_details.php?id_act=446&lang=en
[34] EP resolution of 10 March 2010 on EU 2020, 10/03/2010, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P7-TA-2010-0053+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
[35] EP Resolution of 20th May 2010 on the long-term sustainability of public finances for a recovering economy, cf. http://votewatch.eu/cx_vote_details.php?id_act=664&lang=en
[36] L. Hoang-Ngoc, Speech in plenary on the report by on the long term sustainability of public finances" 20/05/2010, http://www.liemhoangngoc.eu/?p=859
[37] EP, Oral explanations of votes, CRE 20/05/2010 - 7.5 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+CRE+20100520+ITEM-008+DOC+XML+V0//EN
[38] EP, PV 20/05/2010 - 7.5, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+PV+20100520+ITEM-007-05+DOC+XML+V0//EN
[39] Cf. Bertoncini et Chopin, op.cit., 2010, loc. cit.
[40] Draft directive by the EP and the Council modifying the directives 2006/48/CE and 2006/49/CE with regard to" capital requirements for the trading book and for re-securitisations, and the supervisory review of remuneration policies", Cf. http://votewatch.eu/cx_vote_details.php?id_act=827&lang=en
[41] Ibid.

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