Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing: The Effects of Issue Redefinition


Member state

For

Against

Abstention

Total present

Cohesion

Austria

8

10

1

19

28.95

Belgium

15

3

1

19

68.42

Bulgaria

17

0

0

17

100

Croatia

12

0

0

12

100

Cyprus

4

2

0

6

50

Czech Republic

17

0

2

19

84.21

Denmark

7

1

0

8

81.25

Estonia

5

1

0

6

75

Finland

7

3

1

11

45.45

France

36

22

4

62

37.1

Germany

67

26

0

93

58.06

Greece

13

3

1

17

64.71

Hungary

20

0

0

20

100

Ireland

3

9

0

12

62.5

Italy

55

1

1

57

94.74

Latvia

8

1

0

9

83.33

Lithuania

10

0

0

10

100

Luxembourg

5

1

0

6

75

Malta

4

0

0

4

100

Netherlands

14

10

0

24

37.5

Poland

42

0

0

42

100

Portugal

17

5

0

22

65.91

Romania

24

1

3

28

78.57

Slovakia

12

0

0

12

100

Slovenia

7

0

0

7

100

Spain

35

17

0

52

50.96

Sweden

14

5

0

19

60.53

United Kingdom

50

14

1

65

65.38


Notes Own elaboration based on data provided by www.​votewatch.​eu



To provide the complete picture, Table 12.2 presents the voting by parliamentary groups. The table shows that cohesion was very high among the members of the European Conservatives and Reformists, the European People’s Party and the Greens–European Free Alliance. However, also four MEPs of the latter group voted against the majority vote in the group and therefore for the proposal: two of them come from the United Kingdom, one from Belgium and one from Denmark.


Table 12.2
Voting in the European Parliament by group










































































Group

For

Against

Abstention

Present

Cohesion

Alliance of liberals and democrats for europe (ALDE)

69

7

1

77

84.42

European conservatives and reformists (ECR)

44

0

2

46

93.48

Europe of freedom and democracy (EFD)

16

8

2

26

42.31

European people’s party (EPP)

222

10

3

235

91.7

The Greens–European free alliance (Greens–EFA)

4

51

0

55

89.09

European United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE-NGL)

6

27

0

33

72.73

Non-inscrits (NI)

14

11

6

31

17.74

Progressive alliance of socialists and democrats (S&D)

153

21

1

175

81.14


Notes Own elaboration based on data provided by www.​votewatch.​eu

All in all, in light of the findings of the studies commissioned both by the European Commission and the European Parliament, the actual outcome of the policy process is surprisingly moderate. Even though the policy process involved a large number of actors, it must be stated that it was controversial only in the very early phase when the European Commission decided to “play down the role that shale gas might play in European market” (McGowan 2014, p. 52).

However, in the course of the policy process, the positions of the European Commission and the European Parliament converged and so there was reason to expect that more ambitious legislation would be brought on the way. The European Parliament’s agreement to the modified proposal for the revision of the environmental impact directive can be explained by the need to coordinate its legislative activity with the European Council. In the European Council, there is no member state really pushing for tighter regulatory standards at the EU level (see Jacobs in Chap. 6, Ciambra and Solorio in Chap. 8 and Cox and Dekanozishvili in Chap. 9)—not even France. At the same time, shale gas production is foreseen in some EU countries including Poland and the United Kingdom (see Bomberg 2013). It appears that the member states do not push for stricter EU-wide rules when it is not clear at this point what the true commercial potential of shale gas production is.