BETA


2019/2057(DEC) 2018 discharge: EU general budget, European Council and Council

Progress: Procedure completed, awaiting publication in Official Journal

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead CONT ZDECHOVSKÝ Tomáš (icon: EPP EPP)
Lead committee dossier:

Events

2020/10/20
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament decided by 657 votes to 26, with 4 abstentions, to refuse to grant the Secretary-General discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2018, Section II – European Council and Council.

In its resolution accompanying the decision on discharge, Parliament recalled that the European Council and the Council, as Union institutions, should be democratically accountable to all the citizens of the Union for the funds entrusted to them to perform their duties. However, for the past 10 years the Council has refused to cooperate in the discharge procedure and thus forced the Parliament to refuse to grant discharge.

The decision whether to grant discharge for 2018 was postponed in May 2020 similar to what was done in previous years.

Lack of respect and trust

Parliament stressed that this state of affairs is not tenable for either institution: for the Council because no positive decision on the implementation of its budget has been granted since 2009, and for Parliament because it shows a lack of respect for Parliament's role as discharge authority and guarantor of the transparency and democratic accountability of the budget of the Union.

If this situation continues, it shall damage public trust in the financial management of the Union institutions.

Lack of communication

Parliament repeatedly encounters difficulties in receiving answers from the Council due to a lack of cooperation, resulting in the refusal to grant discharge for more than 10 years. It recalled that effective control of the Union’s budget implementation requires loyal cooperation among the institutions. Members recalled the wish of Parliament to start negotiations with the Council with a view to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement to finally overcome this situation of deadlock. The Council is invited to suggest an appropriate date to start negotiations.

Budget separation and transparency

As regards the budget, Parliament insisted that the budget of the European Council and the budget of the Council be separated in order to contribute to more transparency, accountability and efficiency with respect to the expenditure for both institutions as recommended by Parliament in many of its discharge resolutions over the last years.

Parliament also regretted that the Council has not joined the transparent register scheme for lobbyists which also leads to a lack of trust in the Union decision-making process.

Parliament emphasised the importance of allowing citizens to follow the legislative process of the Union easily. It called on the Council to step up its transparency efforts by, inter alia , publishing Council legislative documents including minutes of working group meetings and trilogues and other milestone working documents in line with the European Ombudsman’s recommendations.

Once again, Members expressed their deep concerns about the corporate sponsorship of Member States hosting the Union Presidency and echoed the concerns expressed by Union citizens and Members on the matter. It strongly recommended the Council to envisage the budgetisation of Presidencies.

Documents
2020/10/13
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2020/10/13
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2020/10/01
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2020/09/10
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2020/07/07
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2020/06/03
   EP - ZDECHOVSKÝ Tomáš (EPP) appointed as rapporteur in CONT
2020/05/13
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament decided by 643 votes to 37, with 11 abstentions, to postpone its decision on the discharge to the Secretary-General of the Council in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Council and of the Council for the financial year 2018.

In the resolution accompanying its discharge decision (adopted by 641 votes to 30, with 22 abstentions), the European Parliament made a series of observations:

Budgetary and financial management

Parliament noted that in 2018 the Council had a general budget of EUR 572 854 377 (compared to EUR 561 576 000 in 2017), with an overall implementation rate of 91.9% (compared to 93.8% in 2017). It praised the sound financial management and the prudence shown by the Council (the Council's budget had decreased from EUR 634 million in 2010 to EUR 573 million in 2018, a decrease of 9.63 %).

Appropriations carried over from 2018 to 2019 amounted to EUR 56 599 584, or 10.7 % (compared to EUR 60 576 175 in 2017, or 11.5 %), coming mainly from areas such as IT systems (EUR 18.3 million), buildings (EUR 16 million) and interpretation (EUR 11.9 million). Appropriations have been cancelled in 2018, amounting to EUR 46 348 862 (compared with EUR 35 025 789 in 2017). Members called on the Council to strengthen its efforts to avoid budget over-estimates.

Parliament regretted that the request to separate the budget of the European Council and the Council into one budget for each institution, made by Parliament in previous discharge resolutions, has not been considered. It called on the Council to separate the budget in that way for reasons of transparency and to improve accountability and expenditure efficiency for both institutions.

Transparency

Members regretted that the Council has still not joined the transparency register, despite two rounds of negotiations in 2018 under the Bulgarian Presidency and in 2019 under the Romanian Presidency on the proposal for a new Interinstitutional Agreement on a mandatory transparency register accessible in a machine-readable format to interest representatives of Parliament, the Council and the Commission. The Council was called on to join the register, to make a real commitment to the principles of transparency and accountability by taking concrete steps and to set an example by refusing to hold meetings with unregistered lobbyists.

The General Secretariat of the Council was called on to ensure that the ethics rules governing the President of the European Council are brought into line with those of the President of the Commission so that ‘revolving door’ rules apply for three years and formal approval is required for any new roles with a link to the activities of the Union.

Parliament reiterated its support for the recommendations of the Ombudsman on the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council. It asked the Council to step up its transparency efforts by, inter alia , publishing Council legislative documents, having formal minute-taking of Council preparatory bodies to record Member State positions and publishing those minutes, and making available more trilogue documents in line with the Ombudsman’s recommendations.

Members expressed its deep concerns about the information reported by European media regarding the corporate sponsorship of Member States hosting the Union Presidency and echoes the concerns expressed by Union citizens and Members of Parliament on the matter.

Future cooperation between Council and Parliament

Parliament regretted the lack of cooperation from the Council in the discharge procedure which has resulted in Parliament’s refusal to grant discharge to the Secretary-General of the Council since the financial year 2009. It welcomed the Council's willingness to reach an agreement with Parliament on how to cooperate in the discharge process and stressed the need for a Memorandum of Understanding between the Council and Parliament in order to resolve the differences of views that still exist between the two institutions.

Members called on Parliament's new negotiating team to ensure that the agreement is fully consistent with the position approved in February 2020 by Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee.

Documents
2020/05/13
   EP - Report referred back to committee
2020/03/02
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2020/03/02
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2020/02/19
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2020/02/17
   CSL - Supplementary non-legislative basic document
Documents
2020/01/30
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2019/12/11
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2019/12/09
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2019/09/18
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2019/06/27
   EC - Non-legislative basic document
2019/06/27
   EC - Non-legislative basic document published

Documents

Votes

A9-0038/2020 - Tomáš Zdechovský - Décision

2020/05/13 Outcome: +: 643, -: 37, 0: 11
DE IT ES PL FR RO NL SE PT HU EL BG BE CZ SK IE AT DK LT HR LV SI FI CY MT LU EE
Total
90
75
58
50
78
33
29
21
21
21
20
17
21
21
14
13
19
13
11
11
8
8
14
6
6
6
7
icon: PPE PPE
184

Latvia PPE

2
2

Malta PPE

2

Luxembourg PPE

2

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
142

Greece S&D

2

Lithuania S&D

2

Latvia S&D

2

Slovenia S&D

2

Cyprus S&D

2

Luxembourg S&D

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1

Estonia S&D

2
icon: Renew Renew
98

Italy Renew

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1

Hungary Renew

2

Slovakia Renew

2

Ireland Renew

2

Austria Renew

For (1)

1

Lithuania Renew

2

Croatia Renew

For (1)

1

Latvia Renew

For (1)

1

Slovenia Renew

2

Finland Renew

3

Luxembourg Renew

2

Estonia Renew

3
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
65

Spain Verts/ALE

2

Netherlands Verts/ALE

3

Sweden Verts/ALE

3

Portugal Verts/ALE

1

Belgium Verts/ALE

3

Czechia Verts/ALE

3

Ireland Verts/ALE

2

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Denmark Verts/ALE

2

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2

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1

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3

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1
icon: ECR ECR
61

Germany ECR

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1

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4

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1

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2

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1

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2
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39

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1

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1

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2
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28

Germany NI

2

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1

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1

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2

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74

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1

A9-0038/2020 - Tomáš Zdechovský - am 1rev

2020/05/14 Outcome: -: 386, +: 281, 0: 19
PT ES DE SE EL CY FI MT DK AT BE IE NL LV LU HR SK LT EE SI BG HU CZ RO IT FR PL
Total
20
58
90
21
19
6
14
6
13
19
21
13
28
8
6
11
13
11
7
8
17
21
20
33
74
79
50
icon: S&D S&D
141

Greece S&D

2

Cyprus S&D

2

Latvia S&D

2

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Lithuania S&D

2

Estonia S&D

2

Slovenia S&D

2
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
66

Portugal Verts/ALE

1

Spain Verts/ALE

2

Sweden Verts/ALE

3

Finland Verts/ALE

3

Denmark Verts/ALE

2

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Belgium Verts/ALE

3

Ireland Verts/ALE

2

Netherlands Verts/ALE

3

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1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

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1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

2

Czechia Verts/ALE

3
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38

Sweden GUE/NGL

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1

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1

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1
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27

Germany NI

2

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1

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1

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2

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1
icon: ID ID
75

Finland ID

2

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1

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3

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1

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2
icon: ECR ECR
62

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1

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1

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4

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2

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1

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2

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1

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2

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1
icon: Renew Renew
97

Sweden Renew

3

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3

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1

Ireland Renew

2

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1

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2

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1

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1

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2

Estonia Renew

3

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2

Bulgaria Renew

3

Hungary Renew

2

Italy Renew

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1
icon: PPE PPE
180

Cyprus PPE

2

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2

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2

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1

Slovenia PPE

4

A9-0038/2020 - Tomáš Zdechovský - am 2

2020/05/14 Outcome: -: 354, +: 320, 0: 10
IT PL HU SK EL CZ LV HR SI BG LT IE AT MT CY SE RO EE FI LU BE NL PT DK DE FR ES
Total
74
50
21
13
17
20
8
11
8
17
11
13
19
6
6
21
33
7
14
6
21
28
20
13
90
79
58
icon: PPE PPE
180

Latvia PPE

2

Malta PPE

2
2

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg PPE

2

Belgium PPE

For (1)

4
icon: ID ID
75

Czechia ID

2
3

Estonia ID

For (1)

1

Finland ID

2

Denmark ID

For (1)

1
icon: ECR ECR
62

Slovakia ECR

For (1)

2

Greece ECR

1

Latvia ECR

2

Croatia ECR

For (1)

1

Bulgaria ECR

2

Lithuania ECR

1

Romania ECR

1

Netherlands ECR

4

Germany ECR

Abstain (1)

1
icon: NI NI
25

Hungary NI

Against (1)

1

Slovakia NI

2

Greece NI

For (1)

1

Croatia NI

Abstain (1)

1

Netherlands NI

1

Germany NI

2
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
38

Czechia GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

1

Ireland GUE/NGL

4

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2

Sweden GUE/NGL

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1

Finland GUE/NGL

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1

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1

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1

Portugal GUE/NGL

4

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1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
66

Czechia Verts/ALE

3

Latvia Verts/ALE

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1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

2

Ireland Verts/ALE

2

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3

Sweden Verts/ALE

3

Finland Verts/ALE

3

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Against (1)

1

Belgium Verts/ALE

3

Netherlands Verts/ALE

3

Portugal Verts/ALE

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1

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2

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2
icon: Renew Renew
97

Italy Renew

Against (1)

1

Hungary Renew

2

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Against (1)

1

Latvia Renew

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1

Croatia Renew

Against (1)

1

Slovenia Renew

2

Bulgaria Renew

3

Lithuania Renew

2

Ireland Renew

2

Austria Renew

Against (1)

1

Sweden Renew

3

Estonia Renew

3

Finland Renew

3

Luxembourg Renew

2
icon: S&D S&D
141

Slovakia S&D

3

Greece S&D

2

Latvia S&D

2

Slovenia S&D

Against (2)

2

Lithuania S&D

2

Cyprus S&D

2

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2

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2

Luxembourg S&D

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1

Belgium S&D

3

A9-0038/2020 - Tomáš Zdechovský - am 8+9S

2020/05/14 Outcome: +: 586, -: 54, 0: 46
DE FR PL ES RO NL HU IT BG SE BE CZ AT SK PT LT HR FI DK LV SI MT IE EE EL CY LU
Total
90
79
50
58
33
28
21
74
17
21
21
20
19
13
20
11
11
14
13
8
8
6
13
7
19
6
6
icon: PPE PPE
180

Latvia PPE

2

Malta PPE

2

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1
2

Luxembourg PPE

2
icon: S&D S&D
141

Lithuania S&D

2

Latvia S&D

2

Slovenia S&D

2

Estonia S&D

2

Greece S&D

2

Cyprus S&D

2

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1
icon: Renew Renew
97

Hungary Renew

2

Italy Renew

For (1)

1

Austria Renew

For (1)

1

Slovakia Renew

For (1)

1

Lithuania Renew

2

Croatia Renew

For (1)

1

Finland Renew

3

Latvia Renew

For (1)

1

Slovenia Renew

2

Ireland Renew

2

Estonia Renew

3

Luxembourg Renew

2
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
66

Spain Verts/ALE

2

Netherlands Verts/ALE

3

Sweden Verts/ALE

3

Belgium Verts/ALE

3

Czechia Verts/ALE

3

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Portugal Verts/ALE

1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

2

Finland Verts/ALE

3

Denmark Verts/ALE

2

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Ireland Verts/ALE

2

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1
icon: ECR ECR
62

Germany ECR

For (1)

1

Romania ECR

1

Bulgaria ECR

2
3

Lithuania ECR

1

Croatia ECR

For (1)

1

Latvia ECR

2

Greece ECR

1
icon: ID ID
75

Czechia ID

For (1)

Abstain (1)

2

Austria ID

3

Finland ID

2

Denmark ID

Abstain (1)

1

Estonia ID

Against (1)

1
icon: NI NI
27

Germany NI

Against (1)

2

Netherlands NI

Abstain (1)

1

Hungary NI

Against (1)

1

Slovakia NI

Abstain (1)

2

Croatia NI

Abstain (1)

1

Greece NI

Against (1)

3
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
38

Netherlands GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

Sweden GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

1

Belgium GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

Czechia GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

Portugal GUE/NGL

4

Finland GUE/NGL

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1

Denmark GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

Ireland GUE/NGL

4

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2

A9-0038/2020 - Tomáš Zdechovský - am 3

2020/05/14 Outcome: +: 598, 0: 50, -: 38
DE ES PL IT RO FR NL HU PT BG CZ EL BE SE IE AT SK DK LT HR FI LV SI CY MT LU EE
Total
90
58
50
74
33
79
28
21
20
17
20
19
21
21
13
19
13
13
11
11
14
8
8
6
6
6
7
icon: PPE PPE
180

Latvia PPE

2
2

Malta PPE

2

Luxembourg PPE

2

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
141

Greece S&D

2

Lithuania S&D

2

Latvia S&D

2

Slovenia S&D

2

Cyprus S&D

2

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Estonia S&D

2
icon: Renew Renew
97

Italy Renew

For (1)

1

Hungary Renew

2

Ireland Renew

2

Austria Renew

For (1)

1

Slovakia Renew

For (1)

1

Lithuania Renew

2

Croatia Renew

For (1)

1

Finland Renew

3

Latvia Renew

For (1)

1

Slovenia Renew

2

Luxembourg Renew

2

Estonia Renew

3
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
66

Spain Verts/ALE

2

Netherlands Verts/ALE

3

Portugal Verts/ALE

1

Czechia Verts/ALE

3

Belgium Verts/ALE

3

Sweden Verts/ALE

3

Ireland Verts/ALE

2

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Denmark Verts/ALE

2

Lithuania Verts/ALE

2

Finland Verts/ALE

3

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1
icon: ECR ECR
62

Germany ECR

For (1)

1

Romania ECR

1

Netherlands ECR

4

Bulgaria ECR

2

Greece ECR

1
3

Lithuania ECR

1

Croatia ECR

For (1)

1

Latvia ECR

2
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
38

Netherlands GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Czechia GUE/NGL

1

Belgium GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

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For (1)

1

Denmark GUE/NGL

1

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2
icon: NI NI
27

Germany NI

2

Netherlands NI

1

Hungary NI

1

Slovakia NI

For (1)

Abstain (1)

2

Croatia NI

Abstain (1)

1
icon: ID ID
75

Czechia ID

Abstain (2)

2

Austria ID

3

Denmark ID

Abstain (1)

1

Finland ID

2

Estonia ID

Against (1)

1

A9-0038/2020 - Tomáš Zdechovský - Résolution

2020/05/14 Outcome: +: 641, -: 30, 0: 22
DE IT ES PL RO FR NL HU PT BE EL CZ BG AT SE IE SK FI DK LT HR LV CY SI MT LU EE
Total
92
75
58
51
33
78
27
21
21
21
21
21
17
19
21
13
14
14
13
11
11
8
6
8
6
6
7
icon: PPE PPE
185

Latvia PPE

2
2

Malta PPE

2

Luxembourg PPE

2

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
141

Greece S&D

2

Lithuania S&D

2

Latvia S&D

2

Cyprus S&D

2

Slovenia S&D

For (1)

Against (1)

2

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Estonia S&D

2
icon: Renew Renew
98

Italy Renew

For (1)

1

Hungary Renew

2

Austria Renew

For (1)

1

Ireland Renew

2

Slovakia Renew

2

Finland Renew

3

Lithuania Renew

2

Croatia Renew

For (1)

1

Latvia Renew

For (1)

1

Slovenia Renew

2

Luxembourg Renew

2

Estonia Renew

3
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
66

Spain Verts/ALE

2

Netherlands Verts/ALE

3

Portugal Verts/ALE

1

Belgium Verts/ALE

3

Czechia Verts/ALE

3

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Sweden Verts/ALE

3

Ireland Verts/ALE

2

Finland Verts/ALE

3

Denmark Verts/ALE

2

Lithuania Verts/ALE

2

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1
icon: ECR ECR
62

Germany ECR

For (1)

1

Romania ECR

1

Netherlands ECR

4

Greece ECR

1

Bulgaria ECR

2
3

Lithuania ECR

1

Croatia ECR

For (1)

1

Latvia ECR

2
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
38

Netherlands GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Portugal GUE/NGL

4

Belgium GUE/NGL

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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
icon: NI NI
28

Germany NI

2

Netherlands NI

Abstain (1)

1

Hungary NI

Abstain (1)

1

Slovakia NI

2

Croatia NI

Against (1)

1
icon: ID ID
75

Czechia ID

Against (1)

Abstain (1)

2

Austria ID

3

Finland ID

2

Denmark ID

Abstain (1)

1

Estonia ID

Against (1)

1

A9-0189/2020 - Tomáš Zdechovský - Décision

2020/10/19 Outcome: +: 657, -: 26, 0: 4
DE IT ES PL FR RO NL CZ PT HU SE EL AT BG BE DK SK HR IE FI LT LV SI CY LU MT EE
Total
91