BETA


2015/2040(INI) Procedures and practices regarding commissioner hearings, lessons to be taken from the 2014 process

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead AFCO CORBETT Richard (icon: S&D S&D) PREDA Cristian Dan (icon: PPE PPE), MESSERSCHMIDT Morten (icon: ECR ECR), PAGAZAURTUNDÚA Maite (icon: ALDE ALDE), DURAND Pascal (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE)
Committee Opinion EMPL
Committee Opinion ENVI PATRICIELLO Aldo (icon: PPE PPE) Gerben-Jan GERBRANDY (icon: ALDE ALDE), Julie GIRLING (icon: ECR ECR), Valentinas MAZURONIS (icon: ALDE ALDE)
Committee Opinion ITRE
Committee Opinion TRAN CRAMER Michael (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE) Wim van de CAMP (icon: PPE PPE), Merja KYLLÖNEN (icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL), Rolandas PAKSAS (icon: EFDD EFDD), Pavel TELIČKA (icon: ALDE ALDE)
Committee Opinion JURI CAVADA Jean-Marie (icon: ALDE ALDE) Mary HONEYBALL (icon: S&D S&D), Jiří MAŠTÁLKA (icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL), Tadeusz ZWIEFKA (icon: PPE PPE)
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
RoP 54

Events

2016/02/24
   Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2015/09/08
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2015/09/08
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted by 517 votes to 168 with 23 abstentions a resolution on procedures and practices regarding Commissioner hearings, lessons to be taken from the 2014 process.

Hearings of Commissioners-designate, first used in 1994, are now a well-established practice and are indispensable in enabling Parliament to make an informed judgement on the Commission when it holds its vote of confidence allowing the Commission to take office. The hearing process gives Parliament and EU citizens the opportunity to discover and evaluate the candidates’ personalities, qualifications, preparedness and priorities as well as their knowledge of their designated portfolio. The practice increases the democratic legitimacy of the European Union institutions and brings those institutions closer to European citizens.

Whilst having demonstrated its effectiveness, the hearing process can always be improved, particularly by means of more flexible and dynamic exchanges between the Commissioner and members of the committee responsible for the hearing.

Members suggested that it would be useful to set a deadline by which all Member States have to put forward their candidates, so as to leave adequate time for the Commission President elect to allocate the portfolios taking into account the work experience and background of the candidate.

With the aim of attaining Parliament’s gender quality objectives, Members considered that each Member State should henceforth put forward at least two candidates – male and female on a footing of equality – for consideration by the Commission President-elect.

Checks on declarations of the financial interests of Commissioners designate by the Committee on Legal Affairs should be improved by including family interests covering family members living with them in the same household since the current scope was too limited. Parliament felt that confirmation by the Committee on Legal Affairs of the absence of any conflict of interests, based on a substantive analysis of the declarations of financial interests, constituted an essential precondition for the holding of the hearing by the committee responsible. It invited the Commission to revise its rules on this as soon as possible. The Committee on Legal Affairs should issue guidelines in the form of a recommendation or initiative report, with a view to facilitating reform of the procedures relating to Commissioners’ declarations of interests.

Members made the following suggestions regarding the hearings:

when a vice-president of the Commission has responsibilities which are primarily horizontal, the hearing could exceptionally be carried out in a different format such as a meeting of the Conference of Presidents or a meeting of the Conference of Committee Chairs; the written questionnaire sent ahead of each hearing should allow for 7 questions instead of 5, but that there should not be several sub-questions under each question; it would be better to have around 25 questions, but with each questioner allowed immediate follow-up, so as to enhance the effectiveness and inquisitorial nature of the hearings; the following guidelines should apply for the coordinators’ evaluation meeting after the hearings: (i) if the coordinators unanimously approve the candidate – letter of approval; (ii) if the coordinators unanimously reject the candidate – letter of rejection; (iii) if coordinators representing a clear majority approve the candidate – letter stating that a large majority approve (minorities may request that it be mentioned that their group does not share the majority view); if there is no clear majority, or there is a majority (but not a consensus) against the candidate, and if the coordinators consider it necessary: (i) first request additional information through further written questions; (ii) if still dissatisfied – request for a further 1.5-hour hearing, with the approval of the Conference of Presidents; (iii) if there is still no consensus or overwhelming majority among the coordinators – vote in committee; a clear majority in this context should be coordinators who together represent at least two-thirds of the committee membership;

Furthermore, Members considered that:

there should be a specific section of Parliament’s website where the CVs of the Commissioners-designate and responses to written questions are made available, in advance of the public hearings, in all the official languages of the Union; there should be a specific and visible place on Parliament’s website where the evaluations are placed within 24 hours; the rule should be changed to refer to 24 hours after the evaluation, given that some evaluations are completed only following further procedures

Documents
2015/09/08
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2015/09/07
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2015/06/19
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Details

The Committee on Constitutional Affairs adopted an own-initiative report by Richard CORBETT (S&D, UK) on procedures and practices regarding Commissioner hearings, lessons to be taken from the 2014 process.

Hearings of Commissioners-designate, first used in 1994, are now a well-established practice which increases the democratic legitimacy of the European Union institutions and brings those institutions closer to European citizens. These hearings are indispensable in enabling Parliament to make an informed judgement on the Commission when it holds its vote of confidence allowing the Commission to take office.

Whilst having demonstrated its effectiveness, the hearing process can always be improved.

Members suggested that it would be useful to set a deadline by which all Member States have to put forward their candidates, so as to leave adequate time for the Commission President elect to allocate the portfolios taking into account the work experience and background of the candidate.

With the aim of attaining Parliament’s gender quality objectives, Members considered that each Member State should henceforth put forward at least two candidates – male and female on a footing of equality – for consideration by the Commission President-elect. Checks on declarations of the financial interests of Commissioners designated by the Committee on Legal Affairs should remain the competence of the Committee on Legal Affairs but should be improved. They should also cover family members living with them in the same household. Members stated that the current scope of Commissioners’ declarations of interests is too limited , therefore, the Commission is invited to revise its rules on this as soon as possible.

Members made the following suggestions regarding the hearings:

when a vice-president of the Commission has responsibilities which are primarily horizontal, the hearing could exceptionally be carried out in a different format such as a meeting of the Conference of Presidents or a meeting of the Conference of Committee Chairs; the written questionnaire sent ahead of each hearing should allow for 7 questions instead of 5, but that there should not be several sub-questions under each question; it would be better to have around 25 questions, but with each questioner allowed immediate follow-up, so as to enhance the effectiveness and inquisitorial nature of the hearings; the following guidelines should apply for the coordinators’ evaluation meeting after the hearings: if the coordinators unanimously approve the candidate – letter of approval; (ii) if the coordinators unanimously reject the candidate – letter of rejection; if coordinators representing a clear majority approve the candidate – letter stating that a large majority approve (minorities may request that it be mentioned that their group does not share the majority view); if there is no clear majority, or there is a majority (but not a consensus) against the candidate, and if the coordinators consider it necessary: (i) first request additional information through further written questions; (ii) if still dissatisfied – request for a further 1.5-hour hearing, with the approval of the Conference of Presidents; (iii) if there is still no consensus or overwhelming majority among the coordinators – vote in committee; a clear majority in this context should be coordinators who together represent at least two-thirds of the committee membership;

Furthermore, Members considered that:

there should be a specific section of Parliament’s website where the CVs of the Commissioners-designate and responses to written questions are made available, in advance of the public hearings, in all the official languages of the Union; there should be a specific and visible place on Parliament’s website where the evaluations are placed within 24 hours; the rule should be changed to refer to 24 hours after the evaluation, given that some evaluations are completed only following further procedures.

Documents
2015/06/17
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2015/05/11
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2015/05/11
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2015/04/17
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2015/04/14
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2015/02/24
   EP - Committee Opinion
2015/02/12
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2015/02/12
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2015/02/09
   EP - Committee Opinion
2015/01/19
   EP - Committee Opinion
2014/12/04
   EP - Responsible Committee

Documents

Activities

Votes

A8-0197/2015 - Richard Corbett - § 9 introduction et tirets 1 et 2

2015/09/08 Outcome: +: 634, -: 58, 0: 8
DE IT ES PL RO GB FR CZ PT BE AT HU NL SE BG DK SK EL LT HR IE LV FI SI LU EE CY MT
Total
91
67
50
49
31
64
71
21
19
19
18
19
25
18
13
13
13
18
11
11
10
8
10
7
6
6
6
6
icon: PPE PPE
200

Denmark PPE

For (1)

1
2

Luxembourg PPE

3

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
182

Netherlands S&D

3

Croatia S&D

2

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Latvia S&D

1

Finland S&D

1

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Estonia S&D

For (1)

1

Cyprus S&D

2

Malta S&D

3
icon: ALDE ALDE
66

Romania ALDE

3

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Bulgaria ALDE

3

Denmark ALDE

3

Croatia ALDE

2

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

Latvia ALDE

1

Finland ALDE

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3

Slovenia ALDE

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1

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For (1)

1

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3
icon: ECR ECR
64

Italy ECR

2

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2

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2

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1

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1

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49

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3

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3

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1

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For (1)

1

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2
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
49

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5

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2

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3

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2

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For (1)

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1

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3

A8-0197/2015 - Richard Corbett - Am 1

2015/09/08 Outcome: -: 406, +: 292, 0: 5
NL FR BE DK LT FI EE IE CZ SE LV LU AT HR SI SK CY EL BG PT MT ES PL HU GB IT DE RO
Total
26
71
19
12
11
12
6
10
21
19
7
6
18
11
7
13
5
18
14
18
6
51
48
20
65
69
89
31
icon: ALDE ALDE
67

Denmark ALDE

2

Estonia ALDE

3

Ireland ALDE

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1

Latvia ALDE

1

Luxembourg ALDE

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1

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Croatia ALDE

2

Slovenia ALDE

For (1)

1

Bulgaria ALDE

3

United Kingdom ALDE

1

Romania ALDE

3
icon: ECR ECR
63

Netherlands ECR

2

Lithuania ECR

1

Finland ECR

For (1)

1

Czechia ECR

2

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For (1)

1

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1

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2
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49

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5
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48

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3

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1
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38

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3

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1

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11

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2

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41

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1

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1

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2

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1
icon: S&D S&D
182

Netherlands S&D

3

Belgium S&D

3
3

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2

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2

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4

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4

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3

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2

A8-0197/2015 - Richard Corbett - § 9 tiret 3

2015/09/08 Outcome: +: 509, -: 180, 0: 15
DE ES RO FR HU IT SE BG BE AT PT CZ HR LT NL FI SI LU EE MT SK PL LV IE DK CY EL GB
Total
89
51
30
71
20
69
20
14
18
18
19
21
11
10
25
12
7
6
6
6
12
49
8
10
13
6
18
65
icon: PPE PPE
205
2

Luxembourg PPE

3

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1

Denmark PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
183

Croatia S&D

2

Netherlands S&D

3

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Estonia S&D

For (1)

1

Malta S&D

3

Latvia S&D

1

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Cyprus S&D

2
icon: ALDE ALDE
67

Romania ALDE

2

Bulgaria ALDE

3

Austria ALDE

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1

Croatia ALDE

2

Slovenia ALDE

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1

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1

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3

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1

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1

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3

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1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
49

Hungary Verts/ALE

2

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

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3

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1

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1

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1

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5
icon: NI NI
11

Germany NI

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1

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2

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2

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1

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1

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1
icon: ENF ENF
37

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Against (1)

1

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1

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3

Poland ENF

2

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1
icon: EFDD EFDD
40

France EFDD

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1

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2

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1

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1
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49

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3

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63

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1

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A8-0197/2015 - Richard Corbett - § 9 tiret 4

2015/09/08 Outcome: +: 565, 0: 94, -: 41
DE IT ES FR RO PL PT HU NL SE BG CZ AT BE FI LT IE EL SK DK GB HR LV SI LU EE CY MT
Total
88
68
51
72
31
47
19
20
25
19
14
21
18
19
12
11
10
16
13
13
63
11
8
7
6
6
6
6
icon: PPE PPE
203
2

Denmark PPE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg PPE

3

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
180

Netherlands S&D

3

Czechia S&D

Abstain (1)

4

Belgium S&D

Against (1)

3

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Croatia S&D

2

Latvia S&D

1

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Estonia S&D

For (1)

1

Cyprus S&D

2

Malta S&D

3
icon: ALDE ALDE
68

Romania ALDE

3

Bulgaria ALDE

3

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

Denmark ALDE

3

United Kingdom ALDE

1

Croatia ALDE

2

Latvia ALDE

1

Slovenia ALDE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Estonia ALDE

3
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
49

Hungary Verts/ALE

2

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Finland Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

5

Croatia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Slovenia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Estonia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
48

Portugal GUE/NGL

3

Netherlands GUE/NGL

3

Sweden GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Denmark GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

1

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2
icon: ECR ECR
63

Italy ECR

2

Netherlands ECR

2

Czechia ECR

2

Finland ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Lithuania ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Greece ECR

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1

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1

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1
icon: EFDD EFDD
41

France EFDD

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1

Poland EFDD

1

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2

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Against (1)

1

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1
icon: ENF ENF
38

Romania ENF

Abstain (1)

1
2

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3

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1

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1
icon: NI NI
10

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1

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2

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1

A8-0197/2015 - Richard Corbett - Résolution

2015/09/08 Outcome: +: 517, -: 168, 0: 23
DE IT ES RO FR BE HU BG AT PT CZ LT HR SK FI SI PL LV EE MT SE NL LU DK IE CY EL GB
Total
90
69
51
31
71
19
19
14
18
19
21
11
11
13
12
7
49
8
6
6
19
26
6
13
10
6
18
65
icon: PPE PPE
206
2

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg PPE

Against (1)

3

Denmark PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
182

Croatia S&D

2

Latvia S&D

1

Estonia S&D

For (1)

1

Malta S&D

3

Netherlands S&D

3

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Cyprus S&D

2
icon: ALDE ALDE
68

Romania ALDE

3

Bulgaria ALDE

3

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Croatia ALDE

2

Slovenia ALDE

For (1)

1

Latvia ALDE

1

Estonia ALDE

3

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1

Denmark ALDE

3

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

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1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
49

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Hungary Verts/ALE

2

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Lithuania Verts/ALE

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1

Croatia Verts/ALE

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1

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1

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1

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1

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1

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2

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For (1)

1

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1

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5
icon: EFDD EFDD
41

France EFDD

Against (1)

1

Czechia EFDD

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1

Lithuania EFDD

For (1)

1

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1

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2
icon: NI NI
11

Germany NI

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1

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2

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2

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1

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1

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1
icon: ENF ENF
38

Romania ENF

Abstain (1)

1

Belgium ENF

Abstain (1)

1

Poland ENF

2

Netherlands ENF

3

United Kingdom ENF

Against (1)

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
49

Italy GUE/NGL

3

Portugal GUE/NGL

3

Czechia GUE/NGL

Against (1)

3

Finland GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

Sweden GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

Netherlands GUE/NGL

3

Denmark GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1
4

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1
icon: ECR ECR
64

Italy ECR

2

Czechia ECR

2

Lithuania ECR

Against (1)

1

Croatia ECR

Against (1)

1

Slovakia ECR

For (1)

3

Finland ECR

Against (1)

1

Latvia ECR

Against (1)

1

Netherlands ECR

2

Greece ECR

Against (1)

1
AmendmentsDossier
134 2015/2040(INI)
2015/03/20 TRAN 19 amendments...
source: 552.013
2015/03/31 ENVI 41 amendments...