The European People’s Party fell in line today to back a reform of copyright rules for the internet, finding unity after being split in a July vote. Only the group’s Swedish delegation struck out on its own, according to a POLITICO breakdown of roll-call votes.
The EPP’s unity was a big reason why EU legislators today voted through a position on new copyright rules, which backers argue would better protect the rights of artists, publishers and the cultural sector against the perceived dominance of internet giants including Google and Facebook.
According to people in the party, the EPP held a meeting ahead of the vote to discuss a common position. No formal guidance was issued, but members were encouraged to back Article 13. Others were concerned that without EPP support, the entire proposal could fail and be sent back to the Commission, so they opted to back the whole proposal.
Parliament voted to support the proposal 438 in favor, 226 against and 39 abstentions for a version of the text that largely supported amendments put forward by the file’s rapporteur Axel Voss.
Here’s a few more reasons why Parliament finally voted to support the text:
1. In addition to the European People’s Party falling into line, most of the Socialists & Democrats followed group recommendations. The vote was ultimately carried by a coalition of two big blocs of votes in Parliament.
2. Smaller groups failed to unite behind a position. The Liberal ALDE split on the issue, as did the Conservative ECR group. The Greens, despite their vocal opposition to the text, still saw nine (Estonian, French, German and Belgian) members vote in favor of it.
3. On a key article, Article 13 on tackling a “value gap” in remunerations platforms are paying to artists, the largest EPP group dominated the roll-call vote: 192 out of 206 MEPs voted for the compromise amendment. Other groups were split on the issue.
4. There were fewer abstentions than in July, with 102 MEPs who did not cast a vote in July participating in today’s vote and 70 supporting the reform. Crucially, 88 MEPs went from voting against the reform to backing it. Click on this link to see who flip-floppers are.
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