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MEPs voting and attendance records to Committee and Plenary sessions are being duly scrutinised since VoteWatch.eu was launched on 11 May (see Close-up on voting records). Several MEPs have already been hauled over the coals (sometimes unfairly) and suddenly been put into the uncomfortable position of justifying a weak score. Transparency is definitely the order of the day and this is no bad thing.

But who is scrutinising candidates who already know that they will never, ever, take up a seat in Strasbourg? How many of these ghost-candidates top their party lists for the EU elections across Europe? Does honesty carry less weight than transparency?

– Miguel

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VoteWatch.eu logoToday marked the launch of VoteWatch.eu, a slickly designed website aimed at shedding greater transparency on the workings of the European Parliament and its 785 elected Members.

The site was unveiled today during a launch event chaired by Hans Martens, Chief Executive of the European Policy Centre who was joined by Sara Hagemann, also of the EPC, Professor Simon Hix of the London School of Economics, Nikiforos Diamandouros, the European Ombudsman, Jana Mittermaier, head of Transparency International in Brussels and Tony Barber, the Financial Times bureau chief in Brussels.

The site offers up a veritable ‘smörgåsbord’ of statistics for the curious citizen and the media including voting records of European parliamentarians per Member State and voting records of European political groups. In addition, there are sections organised around coalitions and policy areas.

The launch of the website is timely indeed. With the European elections coming up in less than a month, transparency seems to be the flavour of the moment in Brussels. This is particularly illustrated by the ongoing row regarding MP’s expenses in the UK for example and a recent study on European parliamentary absenteeism (see interview with EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering in Le Monde). VoteWatch.eu will most certainly add to the debate.

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