December 2, 2008
In an article published by EurActiv on 1 December, ‘Monitoring your MEP: Mission impossible?‘, it was indicated that there is very little information available on how MEPs behave inside the European Parliament.
We, the founders of a new project called VoteWatchEU (to be launched on www.votewatch.eu early next year), would like to share with you our plans for changing this lack of accountability of EU decision-makers.
In the US, interest groups monitor the voting behaviour of US congressmen very closely (e.g. via the Americans for Democratic Action website). Before ADA, the media had a harder time reporting about such issues and holding congressmen accountable, as well as generating real competition among candidates.
Monitoring of MEPs’ voting behaviour – also with the possibility to create scales of MEPs’ positions on a range of policy issues – needs to happen in Europe as well if the media and voters are to become more involved in EU affairs, especially ahead of the June 2009 elections to the European Parliament.
Our VoteWatchEU project will provide updated information on all 785 MEPs’ voting records, presenting details on how they have voted within various policy areas. In a nutshell, VoteWatchEU will make it possible to look up one’s local MEP and see what he/she stands for, get various rankings for the most pro-/anti track records within the different areas, and find out when and how coalitions form between different political groups or between specific nationalities.
All of this happens on the basis of a multi-sponsor approach, whereby a network of interests and expertise provide the necessary professional input to develop a highly sophisticated website and related activities. Also, since this project is closely linked to a number of national capitals, particular interests either in the Brussels ‘bubble’ or in national politics will not able to affect the content of the project.
Monitoring and reporting of policymakers’ decision records is perhaps the single most constructive contribution which can be provided at this stage of the EU debate (and we should mention that the website will subsequently be extended to cover decision-making in the Council).
It is by giving the citizens a choice between representatives of different political platforms that interest can be generated in any political system.
Co-founder of VoteWatchEU
Policy Analyst at European Policy Centre (EPC)
Please check www.votewatch.eu in the New Year or contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about this project.Author : Letters to the EurActiv editor