Thursday

14th Dec 2017

Focus

Belgium, Spain, France field most senior MEPs in EU vote

Is the European Parliament an important institution to which political heavyweights should be sent? Or is it a place for potential talent to learn the metier, away from their member state's capital?

Opinions on the matter differ greatly among 11 EU member states, according to two researchers from Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

This month they published a preliminary report on their findings.

The researchers looked at the resumes of 318 candidates for the next European Parliament.

Political parties in Belgium, Spain and France have put more experienced politicians on the ballot, while MEP candidates from the Czech Republic, Denmark and the Netherlands are the least experienced.

Each MEP candidate was awarded points for political experience and how recent that experience was.

If someone had been government leader or head of state just before being a candidate for the European Parliament, he or she received 700 points. Someone who had that position more than two years ago received 500 points and if it was more than eight years ago, 200 points.

Current membership of a national or federal parliament got 190 points, while 110 were given if more than two years had passed. Current European Commissioners received 300 points, current MEPs 100 points.

The two MEP candidates with the highest score (1,170) were both Belgians: former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt (Alde) and former minister in several cabinets Steven Vanackere (EPP). The average points of all 11 member states under research was 234.

The researchers also looked at 565 people who were members of the European Parliament in the periods 2004-2009 and 2009-2014.

The results for Belgium have been consistently high: an average of 300 points or higher in all three periods. When defining a political heavyweight of 400 points or higher, 23.7 percent of the researched Belgian candidates are heavyweights. Spain and France are also well-represented.

At the bottom of the ranking is the Netherlands, with an average this year of 112. There are no Dutch candidates with a score higher than 400 – nor were there any in 2004 and 2009.

Denmark (average score of 161), Czech Republic (180) and the United Kingdom (193) have also put relative political rookies on the ballots.

According to the lead researchers, Wim Voermans and Jerfi Uzman, the scores indicate how important the European Parliament is in the eyes of national political parties. They plan to widen their research with data from other member states.

The 11 states included in the study were: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK.

EUobserved

When two worlds collide

Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission.

EUobserved

Schadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Pro-Kremlin trolls targeted Scottish referendum
  2. MEPs vote to allow phosphate additives in kebabs
  3. Babis government sworn in in Czech Republic
  4. Russia looks to crypto-currencies to evade EU sanctions
  5. Juncker embroiled in Luxembourg wire-tapping trial
  6. Kurz close to forming new Austrian right-wing government
  7. Ministers reach deal on fish quotas but overfishing continues
  8. UK parliament to vote on right to veto final Brexit deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  2. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  3. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  4. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  7. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  8. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  9. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  10. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  11. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  12. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe

Latest News

  1. Tusk migration note prompts institutional 'hysteria'
  2. Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short
  3. Brits in EU-27 are uncertain, alone and far from protected
  4. 2018 fishing quotas agreed - but Brexit muddies waters
  5. Medical HQ to spearhead EU military push
  6. Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland
  7. EU renews glyphosate approval, pledges transparency
  8. Romania searching for EU respectability