Friday

15th Dec 2017

Influential MEPs not always high profile

  • Martin Schulz, as parliament president, is with no surprise ranked as most influential MEP (Photo: © European Union 2016 - European Parliament)

Germans, Italians and Poles top a ranking of the most influential members of the European Parliament created by VoteWatch Europe.

The Brussels-based NGO based the ranking on an algorithm giving points to MEPs on criteria such as their post in the parliament, their activity levels, and loyalty to their political group.

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.

VoteWatch weighted the criteria with the help of 234 EU affairs experts who deal more or less regularly with MEPs.

The study, whose methods could be subject to discussion, provides a mapping of how power is perceived in the parliament, and highlights how some countries punch above or below their weight.



Not surprisingly, the parliament's president Martin Schulz is first, ahead of the leaders of the two main political groups, Manfred Weber from the centre-right EPP and Gianni Pittella from the centre-left S&D.

The three leaders are followed by Giovanni La Via, an Italian EPP MEP who chairs the parliament's environment committee.

Ranked fifth are Bernd Lange, a German S&D, and Ryszard Czarnecki, a Polish member of the conservative ECR group.

Lange chairs the international trade committee and is the parliament's rapporteur on the TTIP free-trade talks with the US. Czarnecki is a parliament vice-president and a political coordinator for his group in the budgetary control committee.

"Political coordinators are considered more influential … than the vice-presidents of the EP, whereas committees’ chairs can be almost as influential as the chairs of the political groups," VoteWatch says in a text accompanying the study.

The NGO notes that important offices held in the past, like EU commissioner, minister or EP president, "do not play such an important role when shaping policies in the European Parliament."

The top 10 also include former EP president Jerzy Buzek (Poland, EPP), who chairs the industry, research and energy committee; Jaroslaw Walesa (Poland, EPP), a rapporteur on files concerning imports from third countries; Ingeborg Graessle (Germany, EPP), the chair of the budgetary committee; and Timothy Kirkhope (UK, ECR), who was rapporteur on the Passenger Name Record (PNR) counter-terrorism legislation.

Snapshot

VoteWatch's algorithm leaves out of the top positions high profile MEPs such as Belgian Liberal Guy Verhofstadt (12th position) and his group colleague Sophie in 't Veld (Netherlands).

It also leaves out the long-serving chair of the foreign affairs committee Elmar Brok (Germany, EPP), German Greens’ Jan Philipp Albrecht, who is vocal on data protection issues, and Julia Reda, in the front line on copyright issues.

The ranking also confirms that two EU big countries, Spain, and France even more so, have lost influence.

There are only two French MEPs in the top 30, with the first one in 17th position. Spain records three MEPs in the top 30, the first one in at 13. By contrast, Poland has three MEPs among the 30, all of them in the top 10, and Germany has six in the top-30 bracket.

VoteWatch noted that MEPs from Nordic, Baltic, and Benelux countries have the highest average of influence per MEP in terms of drafting parliament reports.

"That is to say, the MEPs from these countries get to shape more EU laws than the size of their country would normally allow them to do," the NGO says.

"At the other end, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Greece are less influential than their 'normal' (size-based) potential”, it adds.

The study, it says, is only "a snapshot of the situation at the start of the 2016 autumn season", half way through the current legislature, and is "not an assessment of the best and the worst, or the good and the bad".

Centeno: Eurogroup picks Southern head

Portuguese finance minister was chosen by his eurozone colleagues with a 'very substantial majority' after he appeared to be the only one ticking the boxes.

Commission wants more centralised eurozone by 2019

EU leaders will discuss at their summit next week the commission's proposals, which include a European Monetary Fund and an EU finance minister - but no eurozone budget, as proposed by French president Emmanuel Macron.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Estonia completes two out of three priority digital bills
  2. EU countries are not 'tax havens', parliament says
  3. Tech firms' delays mean EU needs rules for online terror
  4. Slovak PM: Human rights are not a travel pass to EU
  5. British PM limps to EU capital after Brexit defeat
  6. US pleads for clarity on Brexit aviation 'black hole'
  7. Tusk migration note prompts institutional 'hysteria'
  8. Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  2. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  3. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage
  4. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceUnderstanding the Social Consequences of Obesity
  6. Union for the MediterraneanMediterranean Countries Commit to Strengthening Women's Role in Region
  7. Bio-Based IndustriesRegistration for BBI JU Stakeholder Forum about to close. Last chance to register!
  8. European Heart NetworkThe Time Is Ripe for Simplified Front-Of-Pack Nutrition Labelling
  9. Counter BalanceNew EU External Investment Plan Risks Sidelining Development Objectives
  10. EU2017EEEAS Calls for Eastern Partnership Countries to Enter EU Market Through Estonia
  11. Dialogue PlatformThe Turkey I No Longer Know
  12. World Vision7 Million Children at Risk in the DRC: Donor Meeting to Focus on Saving More Lives