Response to Concerns over EU Parliament Scoreboard Methodology Regarding MEP Absences

In response to methodological questions regarding the EU Parliament Scoreboard, the organisations responsible for the tool (BirdLife Europe, Climate Action Network Europe, European Environmental Bureau, Transport & Environment and WWF European Policy Office) offer the following explanation:

As stated in the full methodology, for each policy file assessed, MEPs received a score between 0 (no alignment) and 100 (full alignment), based on a comparison of their voting records with the publishing organisations’ positions and voting recommendations.

MEPs who did not vote also received a  score of 0.The reason for an MEP’s absence is not included in the Parliament’s roll call voting data.

As a result, MEPs who were absent during votes, due to, for example, medical conditions, parental leave or other important life events, might have received a total score that is not indicative of their overall voting behaviour on other policy files that were analysed. This potential effect is more stark for a very small number of MEPs who were absent for a longer duration, as well as for those members who are part of smaller party delegations.

We regret this unintended consequence and wish to affirm that it is not our intention to discriminate against these MEPs.

After publishing our scoreboard, we have been made aware that “excused absences” are registered as part of the attendance record of each plenary session. Unfortunately, this data is not directly present in the roll call votes published by the Parliament, and we are thus unable to reliably update our methodology and dataset to take account of this.

Our organisations strongly underscore the need for more transparency on MEPs’ activities and voting. In particular:

  • The Parliament should not only make available the raw data of MEP voting records, but also provide an accessible and interactive tool for citizens to browse this data and understand what MEPs were voting on.
  • MEPs who are – with good reason – unable to be physically present for plenary voting sessions, should be offered the possibility to vote remotely or nominate a proxy.
  • Roll call vote data should not be limited to only those MEPs who were present for the vote, but also include and distinguish between MEPs who were absent and officially excused and MEPs who were absent and without valid excuse.

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