You vote for them, they vote on your behalf

What is MEP watch about?
This website has been created to make it easier to see and understand more about the European Parliament. The key players are Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who are directly elected by European citizens and share responsibility with national governments to edit and approve all EU laws.
Much of the work of the MEPs is done in Committee, where they discuss in detail the draft laws and vote. Once the Committees have finished their work, all of the MEPs sitting in Plenary session can amend and vote on the laws.
So voting is pretty central to the whole process. You vote for them, the MEPs, for a 5 year mandate (for example 2009-2014). Then acting as your representatives, they vote on a monthly basis on laws that affect you.
But there is very little information that is publicly available about how MEPs vote - whether in committee or plenary - on a whole piece of legislation or a specific amendment.
This is not very transparent nor does it help the MEPs be accountable to the people who elected them.
Our goal is to develop and use technology tools to reveal more about what happens inside the Parliament, most importantly we will try to monitor and publish the voting record of MEPs so that you can see how they translated your vote for them into actual votes on issues that matter to you.
The objective is to do this systematically during the next Parliamentary mandate (2009-2014) and we will start by highlighting who is standing for election. The first task was to collect data on the candidates of all of the parties standing for the European Parliament elections in June 2009 and put this information into a user-friendly format on the website.
This meant gathering information from each country, looking through campaign websites in local languages and translating it for an international audience. This ambitious task was made possible with the help of more than 60 volunteers, activists and NGOs across Europe.  More than 8,500 candidates were identified and put into the database. You can search the list of who stood for Parliament on this site and see more details of the 736 MEPs that were successfully elected in June 2009.