Thursday, 30 January 2014

Andrew Duff MEP: Proposal To Improve European Parliament Voting Transparency Postponed

Following opposition from the two largest groups in the European Parliament, the European People's Party (EPP) and Socialists and Democrats (S&D), a proposal to record and publish the results of how MEPs vote in committees has been postponed for the foreseeable future.

The proposal was due to be voted on next Wednesday 5th February by MEPs during the European Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg. However, it has now been delayed following this morning's meeting of the European Parliament Conference of Presidents, who have taken it off the final Strasbourg agenda.

Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff called for all final votes in committee on draft laws to be made public back in 2012, but his proposal was rejected by EPP and S&D MEPs in the Constitutional Affairs Committee.

He now strongly supports the current proposal.

He commented:

"It is wrong to have delayed this important reform. People have a right to know how their elected representatives vote. The argument is not complicated.

"Many important legislative decisions are made at committee stage. MEPs should not hide the choices they make from voters, the media and lobbyists. I had hoped that the European Parliament would put in place higher standards of scrutiny and transparency than those that are met in national parliaments. Sadly we seem not quite ready for this.

"The democratic legitimacy of the European Union is being called into question. More openness about MEPs' engagement in law making is an important element in the reform movement to which European Liberals are committed."

Currently MEPs' votes in committee are only published if specifically requested, unlike during the plenary session when all final legislative votes are recorded.