The European Parliament has come under increased pressure to release more data on how it makes decisions, notably in releasing information on how MEPs vote.
VoteWatch.eu, which provides online monitoring and analysis of the Parliament’s voting data, has called for all voting by MEPs, whether in plenary or in committees, to be recorded and made public.
Doru Frantescu of VoteWatch.eu says that the Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers should do more to make their work more transparent – especially with details of how votes are carried out.
The Parliament publishes roll-call votes only on legislative reports. Other votes, either electronically, which record results but not MEPs’ individual choices, and voting by a show of hands, continue on non-legislative resolutions such as on the deal to supply banking data to the US, or on France’s expulsions of Roma.
These motions provoked wide attention, including on how MEPs voted, says Frantescu. “The image of the Parliament was badly shaken by this,” he says, pointing to a lack of political will as the main cause for the slow progress.
An eight-member working group of MEPs set up in September tasked with making the Parliament’s plenary work more attractive, will study possible extensions of roll-call voting to all issues. Frantescu says that the Parliament’s committee work, while already televised via the internet, should also ensure that it publishes clear data on how MEPs vote on each item. While most votes are recorded, roll-call votes are traditionally only conducted on final votes on reports.
VoteWatch.eu has also called on the Council to provide data on governments’ decisions, as well as more up-to-date minutes of meetings, and has urged the Commission to provide more detail on who sits on its working groups and when they meet.