This website analyses voting records of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on policy crucial to prevent devastating climate change, and to stop the expansion of genetically modified crops and shale gas development in Europe. MEPs were then given a score depending on how they voted.
We examined MEPs voting records across 11 key votes over the last five years. The votes related to various different aspects of climate change policy in Europe.
The majority of important votes were selected with reference to CAN-Europe’s scorecards, with additional data and slight methodology modifications. These include:
Absences from votes were considered neutral, and they received 0 points on the spectrum, because we don’t currently have access to data showing whether the absence is legitimate, for instance through illness, or due to a lack of interest.
‘Vote corrections’ are not included, as these corrections do not change the outcome of the vote.
MEPs can be asked to vote on a complete report, a single amendment, several amendments put together or part of an amendment (split). We call all of these voted items. For each voted item an MEP can vote yes, no, or abstain. The MEP can also choose not to vote or stay away from the plenary session, which is recorded as absent. If she/he votes what we recommended, it's a point, if against -1. All others (abstentions and absences) are counted as 0.
We then rank all the MEPs between 0 for the worst, and 100 for the best. A score of 100 doesn't mean they voted to all the votes the way we recommended. It just means it's the best voting record in comparison to all other MEPs. It's the same for a score of 0, it's not 100% doing the opposite of our recommendation, but it's the lowest score. Vote corrections have not been included in the scorecards, since they don’t have any effect on the outcome of the vote. More on this here.
We take the score of each MEP belonging to a party/group/country and calculate the average. You might notice when you explore the data that some MEPs from the same party belong to different group. That’s the way the European Parliament works.
For each MEP, we give one point if she/he voted for or against the item or abstained (no matter what we recommend), and zero if they were absent. This total is then divided by the total number of voted items, and the percentage calculated. For example, an MEP that votes yes or no or abstains all the time will get a 100% record for participation. An MEP who never votes will score 0% participation.
The participation of a party is then based on the average of their MEPs.
The height represent the number of MEPs, the colour its score (gradient from dark red 0 to dark green 1).
Each slide represents the number of MEPs that are part of the political group in the European Parliament. Several national parties can be members of the same European political group.
Here the MEPs are ranked from 0 to 100, according to their vote. The higher the bar, the more MEPs got the same score. The average of the current selection is displayed as the big number in the middle.
Each national party is represented by a bubble and the size of the bubble will represent the number of MEPs. The x axis shows the average party score, with lower scores on the left-hand side and higher scores on the right.
The y axis represents the degree of participation in votes, so the more the MEPs voted, the higher they are.
The voted items included in the scorecards were provided by the following organisations:
Each organisation selected the votes that were most important over the past five years on policy crucial to prevent devastating climate change, and to stop the expansion of genetically modified crops and shale gas development in Europe. However, there are two limitations to the vote selection:
Data for individual MEPs are only available if the European Parliament has decided to vote on an item in a roll-call ballot. This is only the case for a minority of all votes in the European Parliament. For the majority of votes no data for individual MEPs is available. This restricts the selection of votes to the few that were voted in a roll-call ballot, even though, in some cases, it would have been preferable to include other important votes.
Data is only available for plenary sessions (when the whole European Parliament sits together). However, a lot of texts that are voted in the plenary session represent compromises that were discussed and voted at the committee level. There are 22 committees at the European Parliament ranging from Foreign Affairs and Budget Control to Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and Regional Development. No individual voting records of this crucial stage of decision making are available, so they couldn’t be included in the scorecards. Fortunately, this is set to change now.
These limitations mean that not all votes important for an issue could be included in the scorecards and that some of the votes represented compromises that do not fully reflect the organisation’s point of view.