euroVote past plans

  1. Summary of past votes
  2. Survey of candidates
  3. Promote the results

Here are some suggested tasks for different types of people. No qualification is needed for each role other than a little time. Do whatever task you want, but please let us know.


 Please help by converting the vote records of the previous votes into a computer-friendly format. Send updates and questions to ep-elections AT with the word "eurovote" in the subject line.


We need you to ask candidates questions. Please tell us who and where you are by emailing ep-elections AT with the word "eurovote" in the subject line.


 If you wish to help run this project, please email with "join eurovote" in the subject line and ask to join the development list.


If you wish to be told when we publish something, please email with "eurovote" in the subject line and ask to be added to the news list.

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euroVote: old introduction


elections 10-13 june The MEP elections are coming on 10 June. We can describe how MEPs voted in the past and gather candidate opinions on software-related questions. They should want to talk to potential voters right now. Then we can publish summaries and encourage voters to use them to help choose who to vote for.

If we do this work well now, we can elect wisely and spend less time reacting to bad news from the European Parliament in future. Ideally, we will get more help from the EP.

This is a short-term project suggested to fsfe-uk, which will run until 16 June. It should interest free software supporters, but other help is welcome.

Why is the EP important? The EP is one of the two chambers which produce EU directives, which often trigger production of UK laws. Stopping bad EU directives is a key step to stopping bad UK laws.

Directives start life as proposals from the European Commission and are refined by the EP and the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers are the representatives of our national governments and form the other directive- producing chamber. Unlike the UK, where the directly-elected Commons sometimes overrules the Lords, the directly-elected EP cannot overrule the indirectly- elected Council. If they do not agree at the end of the process, no directive passes. (This is how I see the "low-detail view" of the official description and I welcome corrections.)

(My (MJR's) priority is the UK, but I won't only generate UK data when it's easy to do more. I think this could scale to the whole EU if people want to do it.)

If you followed a link here and are confused why it said "hack the EuroParl", please look up computing meanings of hacker. This is not a media project, so I will not bow to their abuse of the word.


euroVote: Summary of MEP votes 1999-2004

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  1. identify which previous votes we are interested in - done by Tom Chance
  2. obtain the data from those votes - done by Alex Macfie and MJ Ray
  3. convert data into computer-friendly form
  4. summarise the data

Data files are tab-delimited. +1 means a vote for, 0 an abstention, -1 a vote against and NA means that I have no data. They should have header lines explaining the columns.

Christian Beauprez has extended an FFII openoffice file that scores MEPs by how they voted with some regional data. Feedback welcome.

We are interested in EUCD (Boselli 13-14 Feb 2001, Europarl data minutes with votes ), IPRED (Fourtou 9 Mar 2004, Europarl data FFII analysis AEL copy of vote minutes ) and SWPAT (McCarthy Sep 2003, EuroParl data FFII analysis votes are item 23 in this PDF ) votes. Attendance data can be found on

For later: MJR has the replies to the AFFS IPRED letters: can he summarise them to the public? Are MEP letters public info?

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euroVote: Survey of Candidates 2004

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  1. Ask candidates these questions

  2. decide what questions we are interested in

  3. divide candidates between voters
  4. voters contact candidates, record responses and select yes/no on each issue
  5. convert yes/no into computer-friendly form
  6. summarise the data

We include the FFII swpat questions, to help their EU-wide project. Erik Josefsson adds his notes about the FFII project to this page.

Next session, MEPs are likely to work on SWPAT directive and a new copyright directive, and comment on creation of an EU patent court and its jurisdiction. We need to cover these in questions, at least.

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euroVote: Questions for candidates

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Contact your MEP candidate by telephone, in person, by email or by letter. Open by introducing yourself to the MEP candidate. Ideally, you should be a voter in their constituency. Express concern about EU directives on copyrights and patents.

Ask your candidate the following questions. Please try to ask them exactly as shown and try to get a yes/no answer. If they answer something like "it depends" or avoid the question, mark it as "unknown". If you print this page out, you could write answers by the question numbers. You can ask the C and P blocks in whichever order pleases you.

C Explanation (for questioners, not candidates):

The first block of questions concern copyright, its enforcement and its future. There is currently a consultation underway, but no further schedule published, so these are fairly general questions. _Emphasised phrases_ were used in the [EUCD]( **Strong phrases** are things the [Copyright Act 1988]( permitted as "fair dealing" and usually permitted.


Do you believe that current copyright enforcement measures are sufficient?


Would you vote to allow _technological measures_ that prevent duplication of copyright material for **reporting, research and private study**?


Would you vote to allow sharing information about circumvention of _technological measures_ that prevent duplication of copyright material for **reporting, research and private study**?


Would you vote for future harmonsiations of European copyright laws to take _a high level of protection_ as their basis?


Do you believe that protection of copyright is more important than protection of competition?

P Explanation (for questioners, not candidates):

The following questions are specific and about the second reading of [the directive on patentability of computer-implemented inventions](, which will take place during the next parliament. The European Parliament amended this directive, but the Council of Ministers has changed the text back. [FFII's survey background document]( may be useful in explaining the questions.


Are you in favour of allowing patenting of computer software?


These questions concern the forthcoming second reading of the directive on patentability of computer-implemented inventions. Will you vote for freedom of publication (against patent program claims)?


Will you vote for freedom of interoperation, as voted by European Parliament Plenary on 24 September 2003 and in the JURI, CULT and ITRE committees?


Will you vote for exclusion of data processing from a 'field of technology', as voted in Article 3a on 24 September?


Will you vote for a definition of 'technical' by reference to forces of nature?


Will you vote for rejection of the directive if it does not include all of the above freedoms, exclusion and definition?

G Explanation:

 Thank the candidate for their answers and close the communication. The following questions are about your experience asking these questions. You should answer them yes or no, same as before:


Did the candidate reply?


Did the candidate refer your questions to a colleague?


Did the candidate give a full reply to all your questions, in your opinion? (Referral to a colleague counts as "No".)


Did the candidate seem knowledgeable about copyright, in your opinion?


Did the candidate seem knowledgeable about software patents, in your opinion?

Please enter your results one per line in the order asked. Start with the candidate name and constituency. For example:

Name: Peter Pepper
Constituency: Eastern
C1: yes
C2: no
C3: unknown

and so on. If you did not ask a particular question (please try to avoid doing that!), leave the response totally blank. Put any general comments or other info at the start or end of your results list, please. Email your results to, who will add them to the published data files.

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euroVote: Promote the results

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  • Before activity: find planners and co-ordinators
  • During activity: find researchers and questioners. Co-ordinate them to avoid wasted work.
  • After activity: publish and publicise the project outputs.
  • After voting: check correlation between results and project data.

Suggested sig file text: "Help hack the EuroParl!"

Other sites mentioning the European vote and software:

Can we use the public whip code (GPL) to present the results?

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euroVote: Site Copyright


Copyright 2004 MJ Ray. I grant permission to you to do any act with my contribution to this work. Please ask me to link to mirrors. Please link to this site and credit its contributors. No warranty offered and no liability accepted.