Tuesday

20th Feb 2018

British influence declines in EU parliament

  • VoteWatch Europe ranked around 10 percent of the parliament's 751 MEPs (Photo: European Parliament)

MEPs from Germany and Italy continue to exercise the most influence in the European Parliament, while the British begin to slip in a ranking compiled by an NGO.

A report out on Monday (11 September) by the Brussels-based VoteWatch Europe, had also found that lesser-known MEPs are still able to command considerable power when it comes to policy-making.

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.

"There are quite a few names in the top 70 that you may not have heard of or often encountered," said VoteWatch's Doru Frantescu.

Among them is Spanish socialist Ines Ayala Sender, who ranks seventh in a list of 70 MEPs. Other unknowns at the top include Polish conservative MEP Ryszard Czarnecki, Latvian centre-right MEP Krisjanis Karins, and Bulgarian liberal Iskra Mihaylova.

"They are not that well known, they are not very well visible in the media but still they are influential," noted Frantescu.

The more obvious heavy-hitters still dominate with the EU parliament's president, Antonio Tajani, ranking in first place.

Italian socialist group leader Gianni Pittella and German centre-right group leader Manfred Weber share the second spot, followed by the liberal group leader, Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt.

Weber's centre-right EPP group is larger than Pittella's socialist S&D. But S&D's smaller size was compensated by the socialists having won more votes in the plenary than the EPP, says VoteWatch.

Despite having lost Martin Schulz, the former EU parliament president, the Germans still dominate - with large delegations in both the EPP and S&D groups.

Their numbers mean they are able to jockey for key positions and take the lead, or so-called rapporteur positions, on policies floated by the European Commission. German MEPs chair five committees in the parliament.

The Italians are also able to squeeze more influence than their French counterparts. Italians have the largest delegation in the S&D, but also manage to exert pressure in fringe groups.

VoteWatch says the flexibility among the populist Five Star Movement's MEPs in the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group means they are able to secure coalitions with other groups and obtain key positions. Earlier this year, the Five Star Movement's MEPs almost joined the liberal group.

It also sets the Italians apart from the French, whose biggest delegation is represented by MEPs from the more narrow National Front party. Fewer more conventional French MEPs leaves them "vulnerable in their own political groups," said Frantescu.

While the British may have dropped influence, given their eventual exit from the European Union, there are exceptions.

Among them is Claude Moraes, a socialist MEP from the UK, who chairs the parliament's civil liberties committee. Moraes ranks sixth in the list.

"It is a fantastic achievement by him to still remain influential but he's an exception to the rule," noted Frantescu.

VoteWatch drew its findings by weighing some 200 responses of people who often interact with MEPs.

It says it used an algorithm that calculates the influence of an MEP on the basis of legislative activity, leadership, and other activities - such as number of amendments.

Its first report was issued last year, and drew similar conclusions.

EU parliament wary of pan-European lists

MEPs working on the future composition of the post-Brexit European Parliament say there is no legal basis to create a system of pan-EU euro-deputies.

Interview

Katainen explains: My friend Barroso did not lobby me

Vice-president of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen tells EUobserver that he did most of the talking during a beer with the former commission chief, who now works for Goldman Sachs.

EU taxpayers risk bailing out MEP pension scheme

An MEP voluntary pension scheme is running a €326 million actuarial deficit. The Luxembourg-based fund, set to manage to scheme, is said to have invested the money in controversial sectors like the arms industry.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs approve anti-smuggling bill on tobacco
  2. SPD members start voting on new Merkel-led government
  3. Barroso lobbied Katainen for Goldman Sachs
  4. Berlusconi's coalition ahead with 34.7% support
  5. Moscovici: Greece '99 percent' there to get new bailout
  6. Simone Veil to enter France's Pantheon in July
  7. German poll puts far-right AfD ahead of SPD for first time
  8. Commissioners poised to join EU-Mexico trade talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Climate ShowSupporting Start-Ups & SMEs in the Energy Transition. Tomorrow the Brussels Pre-Event
  2. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  3. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  4. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  6. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  7. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  8. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  10. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  11. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  12. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February

Latest News

  1. Eastern states push back at rule of law conditions on funds
  2. Katainen explains: My friend Barroso did not lobby me
  3. A European budget: securing a prosperous future for Europe
  4. Poland wrong to log in ancient forest, says EU lawyer
  5. EU taxpayers risk bailing out MEP pension scheme
  6. Commissioner Katainen confirms Barroso lobbied him
  7. Eurogroup chief pledge on transparency after meeting MPs
  8. Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission