Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Respectable MEPs Should Not Hide How They Vote - Andrew Duff MEP

The European Parliament will vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on whether to open up its legislative procedures to better public scrutiny. MEPs will decide on whether to follow the proposal of its constitutional affairs committee to make roll call votes compulsory on all final votes at committee stage and in plenary.

Andrew Duff, Liberal constitutional spokesman, has long championed such transparency. In a statement today, Duff said: "More and more critical votes on draft laws are taken at committee stage. This is especially so when progress in the 'trialogue' negotiations with the European Commission and Council of Ministers allow agreement to be reached at the first reading stage of the co-decision procedure (Article 294 TFEU). 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. This reform, if carried, will make it clear which MEP supports, opposes or abstains on a draft law at all stages of the law-making process.

"National parliamentary practice differs very much when it comes to the transparency of committee stage votes. It is however right that the European Parliament should aim for the maximum degree of openness. The rather lengthy distance between the European Parliament and the citizen should not be shrouded in opacity. No respectable MEP needs to hide how he or she votes. The seriousness and quality of the legislative process can be expected to grow if Parliament votes for this reform. Press, public and lobbyists will have greater confidence in Parliamentary procedure if MEPs can be watched fairly to ensure that they act as they talk."