Monday

21st May 2018

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".

British influence declines in EU parliament

British MEPs, with one or two exceptions, are slipping in influence, whereas the Germans and the Italians have gained, according to a Brussels-based NGO.

Poland, Hungary push back at EU budget 'conditionality'

EU affairs ministers held their first discussion on the Commission's long-term post-Brexit budget plans - with cohesion and agriculture cuts, phasing put rebates, and the overall size emerging as major divisions.

Commission launches seven-year budget 'bargaining'

While the European Commission's post-Brexit EU budget proposal for 2021-2027 calls for a less-than-expected increase in spending, prime ministers of net payer countries have already called the starting proposal "unacceptable".

Opinion

EU budget must not fortify Europe at expense of peace

Given the European Commission new budget's heavy focus on migration, border management and security, many are asking whether the proposal will fortify Europe at the expense of its peace commitments.

Opinion

Europe's budget stasis

The EU's budgetary muddling through might not be enough when the next crisis hits.

News in Brief

  1. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'
  2. Only Estonia, Greece and UK hit Nato spending target
  3. EU to start process to counter US Iran sanctions
  4. Macedonia PM sees 'possible solutions' in Greek name row
  5. EU takes six countries to court over air pollution
  6. New Catalan leader sworn in without reference to Spain
  7. Merkel and Putin revive dialogue in troubled times
  8. European companies putting Iran business on hold

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  2. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  3. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  4. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  5. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border
  6. Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline
  7. Italian populists to defy EU debt rules
  8. Commission 'playing tricks' with EU budget figures

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  2. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  5. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  7. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  8. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  9. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  10. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  11. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight