High EPP Abstentions Responsible for Adoption of Noichl Report. An Analysis of the Vote

admin
June 12, 2015

On June 9, the European Parliament adopted the Report on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015. Its supporters claim this was the result of a “very progressive majority in this Parliament”. But a closer analysis of the vote reveals a different picture: There is neither a consensus nor a majority on the controversial claims of the Noichl report.

Despite the fact that the claims in the Noichl report can be described as nothing less than radical, it is interesting to see that the voting behaviour of the EPP essentially led to its adoption. This, therefore, raises the question if this political group really represents the “centre of society” as they claim to do?

Anything but consensus

A closer look at the voting results reveals that there is anything but a consensus on the controversial claims made in the so-called Noichl report. In fact, less than half (45.5%) of all 750 MEPs voted for the adoption of the report.

Furthermore, there were a high number of abstentions and non-voters (17.1%). When we add up the number of votes of the MEPs who voted against the resolution, abstained from voting, or simply were not present (54.5%), it becomes quite apparent that there is no consensus whatsoever on the questions voted on. And what becomes obvious is that the most decisive factor in the adoption of the Noichl report was not the fact that the left voted for left positions – albeit radical ones -(S&D, Greens/EFA, GUE-NGL, ALDE), but the astonishing and disappointing voting behaviour of a part of the EPP group. Instead of leading the effort to defeat the resolution, the voting behaviour of EPP-affiliated MEPs shows a very high defection rate (19 in favour, 136 votes against and 53 abstentions).

Total votes

An analysis of the total number of eligible votes (750) shows that a total of 341 votes were cast supporting the adoption of the Noichl report. This corresponds to 45.5% of the total of entitled voters. In addition, 281 votes were cast against adoption of the report, which corresponded to 37.4% of the total of entitled voters. A total of 81 voters abstained, which corresponded to 10.8% of the total of entitled voters, and 47 non-present voters corresponded to 6.3% of the total of entitled voters. Had the EPP MEPs stood together against the Noichl claims, which are disrespectful not only of EU competence, but of women, children, families, the report could have been easily defeated.

The EPP’s voting behaviour

While the coalition of S&D, Greens/EFA, GUE-NGL, and ALDE had, as expected, generally unanimous voting behaviour with only minor dissent within the ALDE group (4 dissenting votes against the adoption of the report and 14 abstentions), the voting behaviour of the EPP is the interesting bit.

The political agenda in the Noichl report includes a roadmap for LGBT people (§2), support for gender mainstreaming (§§ 7, 76), and the promotion of medically-assisted reproduction (§59) and abortion (§§ 52, 68, 72). It also seeks to “implement sex education programmes for schools” (§56) in Europe, including “access to contraception for young people” (§60).

With such radical claims, it is thus surprising to have had EPP-affiliated MEPs from Spain (14), Poland (9), and Portugal (5) voting in favour of the report. It is also interesting to note that only 5 EPP MEPs from France voted for adoption of the report, since on prior occasions, they have tended to vote quite differently on matters like those addressed by the Noichl report. Only two MEPs from the S&D group bravely rejected the controversial report: Damiano Zoffoli and Luigi Morgano, both from Italy.

As a result, we see that the final vote in favour of adopting the Noichl report was not a consensus of European MEPs, as some have claimed. Rather, it was the high number of abstentions of MEPs – and, disappointingly, the discordance in the voting behaviour of EPP MEPs. Below is a detailed breakdown of the final pro-Noichl EPP votes and abstentions.

EPP votes in favour of adopting the Noichl report (total: 19)

POL (2)

(Adam SZEJNFELD, Danuta Maria HÜBNER)

FRA (3)

(Alain CADEC, Elisabeth MORIN-CHARTIER, Jérôme LAVRILLEUX)

SWE (2)

(Anna Maria CORAZZA BILDT, Gunnar HÖKMARK)

LVA (3)

(Artis PABRIKS, Krišjānis KARIŅŠ, Sandra KALNIETE)

BEL (4)

(Claude ROLIN, Ivo BELET, Pascal ARIMONT, Tom VANDENKENDELAERE)

FIN (3)

(Petri SARVAMAA, Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN, Henna VIRKKUNEN)

ROM (1)

(Iuliu WINKLER)

CZE (1)

(Jiří POSPÍŠIL)

EPP abstentions (total: 53)

POL (9)

(Agnieszka KOZŁOWSKA-RAJEWICZ, Dariusz ROSATI, Elżbieta Katarzyna ŁUKACIJEWSKA, Jerzy BUZEK, Julia PITERA, Róża Gräfin von THUN UND HOHENSTEIN, Bogdan Brunon WENTA, Bogdan Andrzej ZDROJEWSKI, Barbara KUDRYCKA)

FRA (5)

(Angélique DELAHAYE, Françoise GROSSETÊTE, Marc JOULAUD, Maurice PONGA, Tokia SAÏFI)

SPA (13)

(Agustín DÍAZ DE MERA GARCÍA CONSUEGRA, Antonio LÓPEZ-ISTÚRIZ WHITE, Esteban GONZÁLEZ PONS, Esther HERRANZ GARCÍA, Francesc GAMBÚS, Francisco José MILLÁN MON, Luis de GRANDES PASCUAL, Pablo ZALBA BIDEGAIN, Pilar del CASTILLO VERA, Rosa ESTARÀS FERRAGUT, Santiago FISAS AYXELÀ, Teresa JIMÉNEZ-BECERRIL BARRIO, Verónica LOPE FONTAGNÉ)

BUL (3)

(Andrey KOVATCHEV, Andrey NOVAKOV, Eva PAUNOVA)

SVK (1)

(József NAGY)

SVN (1)

(Romana TOMC)

LUX (2)

(Frank ENGEL, Georges BACH)

NL (1)

(Esther de LANGE)

GRE (3)

(Elissavet VOZEMBERG, Maria SPYRAKI, Theodoros ZAGORAKIS)

POR (5)

(Carlos COELHO, Cláudia MONTEIRO DE AGUIAR, José Manuel FERNANDES, Paulo RANGEL, Sofia RIBEIRO)

CYP (1)

(Lefteris CHRISTOFOROU)

IRE (3)

(Deirdre CLUNE, Mairead McGUINNESS, Seán KELLY)

ROM (4)

(Cristian Dan PREDA, Marian-Jean MARINESCU, Monica MACOVEI, Siegfried MUREȘAN)

CZE (1)

(Luděk NIEDERMAYER)

GER (1)

(Sven SCHULZE)