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Liberals launch proposals to increase transparency of MEP votes


16 Mar 2012

Liberals launch proposals to increase transparency of MEP votes

On Monday 19th March the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament will discuss a proposal by Andrew Duff MEP (Lib Dem, UK) to open up law making to greater public scrutiny.

Mr Duff proposes that all final votes on draft laws even in Parliament's powerful committees should be by roll call. He argues:

"Although Parliament's final act of law making takes place in plenary in public and with a roll call vote, many substantive legislative decisions under the ordinary legislative procedure are taken at the committee stage of proceedings. This is especially so where first reading agreements are sought and obtained.

"At the moment, voting in committee can be fairly obscure. Although voting takes place in public, and most committee meetings are now web-streamed, it still remains difficult for citizens, the media, academics and interest groups to follow the political lines of the party groups and the personal voting decisions of MEPs.

"National parliaments are increasingly critical of the difficulties they face in scrutinising first reading procedures within the European Parliament."

Duff, who is also President of the Union of European Federalists, adds:

"The automatic recording of nominal voting in committee and its publication in the minutes will make voting fully transparent. It will enhance the accountability of MEPs to their party groups and to their constituents.

"It will illuminate the workings of the European Parliament, and set a high standard which other less modern chambers in Europe may be persuaded to follow."

Editors' Note

1. Mr Duff's proposal will amend Rule 195 of the Parliament's Rules of Procedure:

2. In the US Congress, Rule 3(c)(4) of the House of Representatives reads: 'A record of the vote of each Member of the Committee on each record vote on any measure or matter before the Committee shall be made publicly available in electronic form within 48 hours, and with respect to any record vote on any motion to amend or report, shall be included in the report of the Committee showing the total number of votes cast for and against and the names of those members voting for and against'.

For more information, please contact:

Neil Corlett - Tel: +32 2 284 20 77 Mob: +32 478 78 22 84

Yannick Laude - Tel: +32 2 284 31 69 Mob: +32 495 22 78 37