Environmental performance of European political parties (2019-2023) : Our methodology

1) Methodology followed to rank the MEPs

The BLOOM team selected texts related to the climate, the ocean, and biodiversity that were adopted during the 9th legislature of the European Parliament (2019-2024). Whether they are laws or reports, these texts reflect distinct visions of environmental protection in the short and medium term, and therefore clearly reflect positions on ecology and public policy choices. These documents are neither an exhaustive nor a representative sample (i.e., random) of the texts related to these themes. Instead, this list contains the texts we believe to be the most important in terms of their impact (positive or negative) on nature.

We included several amendments from each text if they met two criteria:

  • Detailed voting results were available for the amendments.
  • NGOs had issued voting recommendations for the amendments.

These two criteria allowed us to ensure that the amendments chosen were decisive. Only amendments of a certain importance are voted on by “roll call”, i.e., where a group of MEPs request the publication of the details of the vote. The second criterion also allowed us to make sure that the MEPs could not ignore the impact their vote would have on nature as they had received advice from the NGOs.

In total, 20 amendments related to 11 texts were selected and analyzed to rank MEPs. On the other hand, the final votes on the texts were not taken into account, as only the votes on the amendments aimed at strengthening the ecological ambition of a text make it possible to give an account of the line followed by a political group. It should also be noted that these choices preceded the evaluation of the groups themselves, so it was not possible to anticipate the results that would be obtained.

For each amendment, points were awarded or withdrawn according to the MEPs’ vote as follows:

The different types of voting Number of points
Vote to Protect Nature +1
Vote to Destroy Nature -1
Abstention/Absence 0

The sum of these points was then calculated and calibrated to range from 0 to 20. The start and end dates of term of office were factored into the calculation. Some deputies arrived during the legislature to replace deputies who begun a mandate in their own country or who left the parliament due to Brexit. For these MEPs, only the texts passed during their term of office were considered for the calculation of the score.

Our analysis integrates a total number of 736 MEPs after British MPs were removed. This high number of MEPs in comparison with the current number of 705 MEPs is because some MEPs left their positions during a term and were replaced. We chose to evaluate all MEPs, including those who left and those who arrived over the course of the legislature, so long as they voted on at least one of the texts we chose for the analysis.

We calculated the average score of each political group within the European Parliament. MEPs who have changed political groups during their term of office were not included in the analysis.

A color gradient was assigned to each political group:

  • “Green tones” for political groups with a score between 14/20 and 20/20
  • “Beige tones” for  political  groups  with a score between 8/20 and 13/20
  • “Red tones” for political groups with a score between 0/20 and 7/20

2) The selected texts and amendments

Resolution “momentum for the ocean: strengthening ocean governance and biodiversity” (Theme: Ocean)

In February 2022, while France presided over the European Council, French President Emmanuel Macron held the ‘One Ocean Summit’ in Brest. In the wake of the summit, this resolution sought to define the European Parliament’s roadmap for ocean governance and biodiversity protection. Among other things, the resolution stressed that the European Parliament “calls for the EU to stand as a leader in protecting the ocean”, “support[s] an international moratorium on deep seabed mining” and “expresses disappointment at the fact that the Treaty of the High Seas was ultimately not adopted at the Fifth Intergovernmental Conference”.

  • Amendment 4: This amendment from the EPP sought to suspend the European Regulation 2022/1614 which determined the existing deep-sea fishing areas and established a list of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems that needed to be protected. Rejecting this amendment protects Nature. See our analysis.  To find out more, click here.
  • Recital 6: The Parliament “reiterates its call on the Commission and Member States to support an international moratorium on deep seabed mining”. Adopting this recital protects Nature. See our position. To find out more, click here.


Revision of the fisheries control system (Theme: Ocean)

The EU fisheries control system is the cornerstone of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. It establishes the rules for monitoring and controlling fishing activities in EU waters. Without close monitoring of fishing vessels, systematic reporting of catches and effective sanctions, strategies for the sustainable management of fish stocks may not be respected. On the 10th March 2021, the European Parliament approved the revision of this legislation. More than 300 amendments were tabled, mainly by the PECH commission, most of them reflecting the influence of industrial fishing lobbies on some MEPs.

  • Amendment 81: This amendment aimed to increase the margin of tolerance of fishing vessels when they catch species unintentionally. These catches are often under-reported. The Commission proposed a 10% tolerance margin, but this amendment included an exceptional 25% margin of tolerance for tuna fishing.  Rejecting this amendment protects Nature. See our analysis.  To find out more, click here.
  • Amendment 328: This amendment authorized industrial fishing to benefit from some significant tolerance derogations, even though those were excluded in the Commission proposal.  Rejecting this amendment protects Nature. See our analysis.  To find out more, click here.


Resolution: “A sustainable blue economy in the EU: the role of fisheries and aquaculture sectors” (Theme: Ocean)

In 2021, the European Commission published its vision on a European “sustainable Blue Economy”. A few months later, the European Parliament drafted a resolution stressing the need to address the sustainability of European fisheries and aquaculture sectors. Three amendments on destructive fishing gears and marine protected areas were intensely debated.

  • Amendment 1: This amendment seeks to “urgently tackle the detrimental impacts on the climate, seabed integrity, fish populations and sensitive species (as bycatch) of fishing techniques such as bottom-contacting gear, drift nets, demersal seines or fish aggregating devices, including by limiting their use.”  Adopting this amendment protects Nature. To find out more, click here.
  • Amendment 3: This amendment “Calls for the EU to prohibit all environmentally damaging extractive industrial activities such as mining and fossil fuel extraction in marine protected areas”.  Scientists and NGOs consider that bottom-trawling and industrial fishing in general should be banned from every Marine Protected Area.  Adopting this amendment protects Nature. See our position.  To find out more, click here.
  • Amendment 4: This perverse amendment proposes to ban “detrimental” fishing methods in “strictly” protected marine areas exclusively.  Problem 1: This is the only place in the ocean where they are already banned.  Problem 2: This amendment undermines the international definition of a Marine Protected Area (MPAs), which already prohibits destructive fishing methods and industrial extractive activities in ALL MPAs.  Rejecting this amendment protects Nature. See our analysis.  To find out more, click here.


Resolution to object to the delegated act on EU Taxonomy (Theme: Climate)

The EU Taxonomy aims to promote economic activities considered sustainable by making it easier for EU Member States to grant subsidies, or for the European Investment Bank to grant loans. The gas and nuclear industry intensely lobbied EU institutions for inclusion in the EU Taxonomy. The MEPs who refused this inclusion tabled a resolution to oppose the Commission’s delegated act.

  • Final vote on the motion for the resolution: NGOs advocated to oppose the European Commission’s decision to consider fossil gas and nuclear power as “transitional” energies in the EU Taxonomy.  France’s Climate Action Network explained that “by leaving the door open to the inclusion of fossil gas and nuclear power, the Commission risks undermining the credibility of this tool and turning it into a greenwashing tool for polluting industries.”  Adopting this motion protects Nature. To find out more, click here.


The Just Transition Fund (Theme: Climate)

With a budget of 17.5 billion euros, the Just Transition Fund intends to support the regions most dependent on fossil fuels, mainly coal, in their transition. A controversial amendment suggested that the Transition Fund could support investments in “activities related to natural gas”, prolonging the European dependency on fossil fuels.

  • Amendment 45: This amendment tabled by the EPP group stated that “for regions heavily relying on the extraction and combustion of coal, lignite, oil shale or peat, the Commission may approve territorial just transition plans which include investments in activities related to natural gas.”  Rejecting this amendment protects Nature. To find out more, click here.


The new Common Agricultural Policy (Theme: biodiversity )

The European Parliament voted on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform in June 2022. In light of the climate and biodiversity crisis, a public debate arose on whether this new CAP set the environmental constraints required to protect the environment, and whether it promoted an adequate transition away from industrial agriculture towards more socially and environmentally friendly practices. A coalition of 43 NGOs advocated “for a new CAP” and called for “the scrapping of the current CAP system, which gives one third of its subsidies to the 1% of farms with the largest areas, led by industrial-scale farms (…). We need to support farmers to produce healthy and environmentally friendly food”. We identified two key amendments.

For the MEPs who opposed it, this new CAP does not impose enough constraints on the protection of the environment, and once again favors the largest agricultural areas instead of those most beneficial to and respectful of the planet.

  • Amendment 1147: This amendment tabled by the Greens sought to reject the European Commission’s initial draft on the CAP’s strategic plans.  A coalition of 43 NGOs called for “the scrapping of the current CAP system, which gives one third of its subsidies to the 1% of farms with the largest areas, led by industrial-scale farms”.  Adopting this amendment protects Nature. To find out more, click here.
  • Amendment 1141: European Commission tied CAP payments to a set of environmental obligations related to the Green Deal. This amendment was tabled to weaken these environmental conditionalities.  Rejecting this amendment protects Nature. To find out more, click here.


Resolution: Human Rights Violations in Uganda and Tanzania Related to Investments in Fossil Energy Projects (Theme: Climate)

On 15th September 2022, the European Parliament adopted an emergency resolution calling for TotalEnergies to account for the human rights violations and environmental harm underway in Uganda and Tanzania tied to the EACOP project, which includes the drilling of more than 400 wells, and the construction of a 1,443-kilometre-long pipeline. In this context, an amendment sought to reiterate the European Parliament’s support for a European legislation and international treaty on business and human rights.

  • Recital 5: This recital is a “call for a strong and ambitious directive on mandatory corporate due diligence and an ambitious legally binding international instrument to cope with human rights, environment and climate obligations”. NGOs call on the EU to adopt an ambitious European legislation and UN Treaty to make sure businesses respect human rights and the environment.  Adopting this amendment protects Nature. To find out more, click here.


Motion to reject The Project of Common Interests (Theme: Climate)

According to the EU Commission, “Projects of common interest (PCIs) are key cross border infrastructure projects that link the energy systems of EU countries. They are intended to help the EU achieve its energy policy and climate objectives: affordable, secure and sustainable energy for all citizens (…)”. In 2020, the European Parliament voted on a list of “Projects of Common Interests”. An amendment sought to reject the Commission’s proposal in light of the climate emergency, since it included funding for new fossil gas infrastructure.

  • Final vote on the motion: NGOs such as Greenpeace opposed the inclusion of gas infrastructures such as pipelines in the “Projects of Common Interest”. Client Earth explained that “this list amounts to a VIP pass for fossil gas in Europe, when we should be talking about its phase-out”.  Adopting this motion protects Nature. To find out more, click here.


REPORT on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 (European Climate Law) (Theme: Climate)

The European Climate Law sought to enshrine the European Green Deal into law in order to reach climate neutrality by 2050. In order to set intermediary objectives, the European Commission aimed for a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. An amendment called for a more ambitious target of a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Amendment 48: This amendment is in favour of a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, instead of the 55% target set by the Commission.  Adopting this amendment protects Nature. To find out more, click here.


Resolution on the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Theme: Biodiversity)

Ahead of the COP15 on biodiversity, Members of the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for the EU to lead the way in the negotiations that were to take place in Montreal, in order to reach an international agreement capable of addressing the ongoing collapse of biodiversity. Several amendments relating to pesticides, legally binding targets in the frame of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, and the legal protection of global commons and ecosystems were key to defining the EU’s negotiation mandate.

  • Amendment 5: This amendment states that “the massive use of broad-spectrum systemic herbicides such as glyphosate is directly responsible for massive loss of biodiversity”.  Adopting this amendment protects Nature. To find out more, click here.
  • Amendment 18: This amendment calls on the Commission “to propose an ambitious and inclusive Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 that sets legally binding targets for the EU and its Member States, including specific targets to reach at least 30% of protected terrestrial and marine areas and to restore at least 30% of degraded ecosystems at Union level by 2030”.  Adopting this amendment protects Nature. To find out more, click here.
  • Amendment 19: This amendment “calls on the Commission and the Member States to defend the adoption of a global legal status and rights to be recognized for global commons and for terrestrial and marine ecosystems at COP15.”  Adopting this amendment protects Nature. To find out more, click here.


EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 on bringing nature back into our lives (Theme: Biodiversity)

On 7th June 2021, the European Parliament adopted the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, which aimed to “[bring] nature back into our lives”. As the IPCC and IPBES remind us, the climate and biodiversity crises are intertwined and require bold public policies to address climate change and the collapse of biodiversity. Several amendments sought to reduce the ambition of the EU Strategy as far as marine protection was concerned. Faced with the deterioration of ecosystems, MEPs are calling for binding measures for Member States. In order to carry out the actions necessary, 20 billion euros would be needed per year. Many environmental protection objectives have already been planned for 2010 to 2020 (e.g., the “Birds” and “Natura 2000” directives), but none of them have been achieved to date. Although this strategy was presented as an improvement, some conservative MPs attempted to weaken it through amendments and reconsideration of specific paragraphs.

  • Amendment 22: This amendment aimed to further allow the catch of fish to feed carnivorous farmed fish. It called for this practice to be “controlled” instead of “phased out”, as proposed in the original text.  Rejecting this amendment protects Nature. Read the BLOOM report on the dark side of aquaculture.  To find out more, click here.
  • Recital 74: This recital “recalls the existing requirement to cease fishing with bottom-contacting gear below 400m in areas where Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems are known or likely to exist”.  Adopting this recital protects Nature. To find out more, click here.
  • Recital 174: This recital stresses that deep-sea mining is very likely to result in an inevitable and permanent loss of biodiversity.  NGOs are totally opposed to deep-sea mining. This paid off in France: during COP27, Emmanuel Macron stated that France supports the ban on deep-sea mining.  Adopting this amendment protects Nature. To find out more, click here.

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