Monday

24th Jul 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 and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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".

Investigation

Inside the Code of Conduct, the EU's most secretive group

The informal group of national officials that is in charge of checking EU countries' tax laws is now working on the first EU blacklist of tax havens, amid critiques over its lack of transparency and accountability.

Ombudsman asks for more details on Barroso case

Emily O'Reilly has asked the EU Commission to say what former commissioners should be allowed to do after they leave office and explain why it took no decision over its former president's controversial new job.

Investigation

Inside the Code of Conduct, the EU's most secretive group

The informal group of national officials that is in charge of checking EU countries' tax laws is now working on the first EU blacklist of tax havens, amid critiques over its lack of transparency and accountability.

Ombudsman asks for more details on Barroso case

Emily O'Reilly has asked the EU Commission to say what former commissioners should be allowed to do after they leave office and explain why it took no decision over its former president's controversial new job.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary