On Tuesday, 25 October 2022, MEP Irena Joveva and co-signatories sent a letter to Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, calling for amendments to the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure in the articles relating to the voting procedure. She wrote, among other things, that first and foremost, accountability derives from transparency, which is only partially enabled under the current voting system.
In her letter, the MEP pointed out that the current voting method, which usually involves a show of hands, is disorganised, which is particularly problematic in plenary sessions. She stressed that the biggest issue is the lack of transparency, therefore all votes should be taken by roll call.
She noted that amending the Rules of Procedure was not uncommon, and that the Rules had previously been adapted in the interest of transparency. She and the co-signatories called for an amendment to Rule 187(1), which states that “As a general rule, Parliament shall vote by show of hands”. She pointed out that this approach permits MEPs as elected representatives to hide their votes and avoid their positions being known to the public, which Joveva strongly opposes.
She added that the current voting method through a show of hands is time-consuming and that, despite the excellence of interpreters, there are delays in interpreting. Furthermore, the vice-president chairing the voting session is often unable correctly to assess the majority, which can lead to mistakes, even wrong voting results.
The MEP also pointed out that during the pandemic, all votes were taken by roll call, which she believed had proven to be very efficient. She added that for democracy to function, it is necessary to strive to ensure transparent operation and accountability to the citizens of the European Union.
As the main point of the letter, the MEP emphasised: “In our work, we represent all EU citizens, which means we must actualize the legitimacy of our work by being accountable to them. As we know, accountability derives from transparency.”
Letter on amending the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament to increase transparency (English version)
Letter on amending the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament to increase transparency (Slovenian version)