Two months before elections for the European Parliament, a new website has been launched to allow voters to find out how MEPs and political parties voted on environmental issues over the last five years.
Friends of the Earth Europe, in collaboration with Greenpeace, the European Environmental Bureau, the European Federation for Transport and Environment, and Climate Action Network Europe, chose 10 key environmental decisions (1) taken by the current European Parliament and have made the voting records public on www.EU-votewatch.org .
"Our top-50 list of environmentally friendly MEPs includes members from most parties, but there's a considerable difference in the voting behaviour of the political groups," said Martin Rocholl, director of Friends of the Earth Europe. "Surprisingly, the twelve MEPs with the worst voting record come from just two parties: the UK's Conservative and Unionist Party, and Forza Italia."
Ranking the votes by country sees Denmark, Sweden and Austria achieve the best scores, while Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom have the worst record. Voting behaviour does, however, vary considerably within each country (for details and names, see annex and www.EU-votewatch.org).
The environmental organisations stressed the importance of the European Parliament for the environment, public health and sustainable development in Europe, issues that voters can support by watching their MEPs' environmental performance and participating in the elections. Presenting the Environmental Manifesto for European Elections 2004, Jorgo Riss, director of Greenpeace European Unit, said: "We need a strong and environmentally-aware European Parliament to deal with the challenges ahead. Voters can make this clear to candidates when they vote. This website will help them see through the spin."
"Europeans will want the Parliament to stand up for a strict chemicals legislation, making sure that our bodies, environment and food aren't contaminated by unsafe chemicals. People should look at voting records on this issue before they go to the ballot box," said Stefan Scheuer of the European Environmental Bureau, introducing one of the decisions featured on the website.
(1) The 10 key environmental decisions are Nuclear, Energy Tax, Liability, GMOs, Transport, Recycling, Chemicals, Air Quality, Water and Pesticides.
Annexes - key results of the EU Vote Watch Project:
- Eco-friendly-voting MEPs by political group,
- Top 12 worst voting MEPs,
- Ranking by EU political group
- Ranking by Member State