How we identified the 150 votes to save the planet.

In order to assess the ecological performance of the political groups of the European Parliament, BLOOM analyzed 150 votes on amendments tabled by the European Commission and by the different political groups during the 9th legislature of the European Parliament (2019-2024). These amendments refer to a total of 52 texts of major relevance to EU environmental policies.

Based on their content, the amendments were categorized into four main subjects:

  • The defense of the oceans, of marine biodiversity and artisanal fishers, as well as the fight against destructive fishing activities and all other forms of unsustainable exploitation of marine resources (such as deep-sea mining);
  • Combating climate change, promoting the European Union's energy transition, and the EU sustainable energy strategy;
  • The preservation of biodiversity and terrestrial habitats, as well as the promotion of sustainable, low-pesticide agriculture;
  • The promotion of environmental justice, the defense of citizens' civil and environmental rights, and the legal accountability of businesses for the impact of their activities on the environment (e.g., through a corporate duty of diligence).

Our list contains both amendments with a strong practical impact on EU environmental policies and regulations (e.g., amendments proposing a change in quantitative targets on greenhouse gas reduction) and amendments with important political and symbolic value (e.g., votes calling for the recognition of the climate crisis). Also, our list includes both legally binding votes (such as votes on regulations or directives proposed by the European Commission) and non-binding votes aimed at giving legislative recommendations to the Commission (as in the case of own-initiative reports). The detailed list of 52 texts, their binding value and the content of the 150 amendments and votes can be found here.

The 150 amendments are distributed as follows among the four subjects we identified:

ClimateEnvironmental justiceOcean

The chosen amendments are also divided as follows:

  • Votes and amendments that protect the planet, that require an improvement of the text subject to a vote (for example, demanding more ambitious regulations or objectives). MEPs must vote in favor of these amendments to defend nature;
  • Votes and amendments that are enemies of the planet, requiring a weakening of the text subject to vote. MEPs must vote against these amendments to defend nature.

The amendments chosen by BLOOM, as well as the texts they refer to, are neither an exhaustive nor a representative sample (i.e., random) of the votes related to these themes. Instead, this list contains the texts we believe to be the most representative of the consideration and treatment of environmental issues by European political groups.

Amendments were selected based on the availability of detailed voting results (Roll Call Votes). This allowed us to ensure that the amendments chosen were decisive. Only amendments of a certain importance are voted by "roll call", i.e., where a group of MEPs request the publication of the details of the vote. In addition, the presence of a voting detail allowed us to extract the position (in favor, against, or abstain) for each of the MEPs and each of the amendments.

In the selection process, we also prioritized amendments for which BLOOM or other NGOs provided voting recommendations to parliamentary groups in order to select the most relevant votes, for which MEPs could not ignore the impact their vote would have on nature. We considered all the votes of the European Parliament from the beginning of the term of office until the plenary sitting of January 2024 (included).

How the votes were extracted.

Roll Call Votes are automatically produced PDF documents. The results for an amendment are structured as follow:

  • label of the amendment
  • last names* of the MEPs that voted in favor, sorted by group (+)
  • last names* of the MEPs that voted against, sorted by group (-)
  • last names* of the MEPs that abstained to vote, sorted by group (0)
  • *For MEPs with the same last name, their full name is provided.

Developers from the association Data For Good have created for BLOOM an extraction tool specifically tailored for Roll Call Votes, which automatically retrieves votes for targeted amendments.

The workflow for processing each amendment is structured as follows:

  • The section pertaining to the specific amendment within the Roll Call Vote document is identified using its label.
  • The MEPs’ names are extracted with their associated group identifier at the time of voting and the value of their vote (+, - or 0).
  • A fuzzy matching is carried out between the names in the Roll Call Vote and the official MEPs list (
  • A 3-step validation process* on the first set of matches is then conducted: i) complete matching, ii) partial matching, iii) manual validation and correction.
  • Any discrepancies in the votes are corrected accordingly.
  • The amendment and the associated votes are saved in the database.
  • *Indeed, MEPs can change their name during the legislature (change of marital status, change in the spelling) or their name can be misprint.

A total of 97,454 individual votes were automatically extracted.

How the scores were calculated.

The national parties, delegations and the dates of beginning and end of office of MEPs were extracted from the official lists of the European Parliament and finally updated on February 22, 2024. Votes for which an MEP was absent were not included in the calculation of the score. For example, if an MEP voted on 142 of the 150 amendments included in this study, only the 142 voted texts have been taken into account, while the 8 remaining amendments were not used in the weighting of its score. In other words, absences have not been penalized. In addition, care was taken to consider the start and end dates of term of office of each MEP. Some MEPs arrived during the legislature to replace MEPs who had begun a mandate in their own country or who had left the parliament because of Brexit. For these MEPs, only the texts passed during their term of office were considered for the calculation of the score.

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

TypeVote forVote againstAbstention
Negative vote or amendment-1+10

Positive vote or amendment: vote and amendments that protect the planet, that require an improvement of the text subject to a vote.

Negative vote or amendment: vote and amendments enemies of the planet, requiring a weakening of the text subject to vote.

The sum of these points was then calculated and calibrated to range from 0 to 20. We calculated a global score and a score for each subject (ocean, climate, biodiversity, environmental justice), by MEP, national delegation and European political group. When calculating the scores for delegations and European political groups and parties, we took into account the MEPs' political group at the time of the vote, rather than their current political group, as a number of MEPs have changed group and/or party during their term of office. Hence, the score for a delegation/political group may have been calculated on the basis of votes by members who no longer belong to that delegation/political group.

Our analysis integrates the votes of a total number of 853 MEPs. This high number, compared with the current number of 705 MEPs, is due to the fact that some MEPs left their positions and were replaced before the end of the term or have left parliament for good as a result of Brexit in the case of the 73 British MEPs. 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.

A color gradient was assigned to each MEP according to its score:

Color palette

In addition, we have chosen not to weight votes for binding and non-binding texts differently. Before making this choice, we calculated group scores through four different weighting simulations to determine if it significantly changes the results:

  • Simulation 1: Only non-binding votes were taken into account (i.e., the weighting of non-binding votes is such that it completely wipes out binding votes).
  • Simulation 2: All votes were taken into account with the same weight
  • Simulation 3: Binding votes were weighted twice as much as the weight of non-binding votes.
  • Simulation 4: Only binding votes were taken into account (i.e., the weighting of binding votes is such that it completely wipes out non-binding votes).

For the majority of political groups, the rating drops when more weight is given to binding votes. Nevertheless, the differences remain relatively small, particularly between weighting simulations 2 and 3, which led us to choose not to weight the votes.