MEP Influence Index 2024: Top 100 most politically influential MEPs

MEP Influence Index 2024: Top 100 most politically influential MEPs

This analysis by measures the influence that Members of the European Parliament have exerted over EU policy since the beginning of the current Parliamentary term (July 2019-February 2024).

It is based on the collection of tens of thousands of facts and figures by our team, which has over 15 years of experience in measuring the political dimension of EU policy-making. When weighing the criteria, we have consulted with a wide range of EU practitioners.  

This research is meant to help both the professionals and the citizens at large to grasp the intricacies of the politics behind the EU policy making and identify the leading figures that are shaping the legislation for over 440 million citizens. 

This study, which we have conducted regularly, measures influence through a combination of criteria grouped in the following categories: formal and informal leadership positions, actual legislative work, political network, committee membership and voting behaviour. To read more about the methodology, click here.

Key findings / trends

  • The top 10 most influential MEPs since 2019 have been: Roberta Metsola (EP President and key legislator on strengthening democracy, media freedom and pluralism in the EU), Manfred Weber (Chair of EPP, the biggest political group in the Parliament), Iratxe García Pérez (S&D Chair), Othmar Karas (EP First Vice-Chair and FISC Vice-Chair), Valérie Hayer (Renew Chair and influential legislator on EU Resources), Dita Charanzová (EP Vice-President, Member of Renew Bureau and key legislator on internal market issues), Roberts Zīle (EP Vice-President and ECR Bureau Member and legislator with focus on maritime transport) and Frances Fitzgerald (EPP Vice-Chair and key legislator on women’s rights), Dragoş Tudorache (Renew Vice-Chair and key legislator on Artificial Intelligence) and Evelyn Regner (EP Vive-President and legislator on taxation and women's rights)
  • The German delegation is the most influential overall and also one of the best performing proportionally to its size. Conversely, the Italians, and, to a lesser extent, the French have been underperforming (regardless of the size of their delegations). From among the small countries, the Luxembourgers, the Maltese, and Portuguese punch above their weight the most, while Hungarians, Cypriots and Italians are the most underperforming national groups.
  • The EPP is the most influential group when taken as a whole, whereas Renew members tend to perform better proportionally, especially due to their legislative activities and voting performance. When it comes to leadership positions, Renew and S&D are in the pole position, just ahead of the EPP. S&D and EPP members still have an edge when it comes to their network (also due to the bigger seniority of their MEPs).
  • Our assessments on the sectorial influence of MEPs show a diverse picture with regards to the performance of different national groups. North-Western European delegations (such as Finns and Dutch) have a relatively bigger clout on environmental files, while CEE MEPs tend to perform better on transportation or foreign policy. Regarding the political groups, Renew MEPs exert the most proportional influence on most areas, but S&D perform better when it comes to proportional influence on health and social affairs. Greens/EFA punch above their weight on environmental policy as expected.

The full list of most influential MEPs across policy areas can be found here. For more details on their ranking, please check the relevant pages (links below). 

Note to the reader:

You are currently reading the overall MEP Political Influence Index. However, if you are interested in a particular policy sector, you should look into the sectoral indices, as indicated below: 

If you are interested in specific countries, you can also check the OVERVIEW BY COUNTRY (across all policy areas).

Note: this report highlights which MEPs have found themselves (due to a combination of personal leadership and circumstantial factors) in positions from which they have been able to influence EU policy. 

However, in order to assess which MEPs are “better for you”, we strongly suggest that you also track the “direction” in which each MEP is influencing the policy, as this is key to determine whether that MEP shares your views of not. For more information, feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Who are the top 100 most influential Members of the European Parliament?

The list is also available as a table format here

A few facts and figures on top 100 MEPs:

  • S&D MEPs are the most represented in top 100 list (35%), followed by MEPs from the EPP (27%) and Renew (25%).
  • Germany is by far the country with most MEPs in the top 100 (13%), followed by Spain (10%), Romania (10%), France (8%), the Netherlands (8%) and Portugal (7%) .
  • 39% of top influential MEPs are women,
  • 37% of top influencers have been elected to the European Parliament for the first time in 2019. 36% of top influential MEPs are over 60 years old, whereas 14% of them are under 40 years old.

Seniority is a key factor for influence, which also explains the predominance of older and more experienced MEPs at the top. Yet, it is important keep an eye on the younger decision–makers, since many of them are likely to take on more important positions in the future. To this purpose, we have also built the top 40 most influential MEPs under 40. 

The list is also available as a table format here.

According to the available information on party lists, we expect at least 30 of these top 100 MEPs to come back after the elections

Would you like to know which MEPs are likely to come back and where they stand on key policy issues? 

Contact us at [email protected] for more information on our EP2024 elections info-pack (which includes likely MEPs, Commissioners, policy impact, and much more).

Which national groups are exerting the most influence?

When taken as a whole, delegations from large countries such as Germany, France, Italy, etc. would obviously exert more influence than smaller countries’ delegations made up of only a few MEPs. Yet, our assessment also shows which national delegations are able to punch above their weight, such as being able to get more leadership positions or legislative files than their delegation size would normally allow. 

This is for instance the case of Malta and Luxembourg, as their MEPs are able to play an important role in the European Parliament despite coming from the smallest EU countries. Luxembourgish MEPs perform particularly well with regards to leadership positions in the EU Parliament (e.g. Marc Angel - Vice-President of EP) or in the political groups (e.g. Wiseler-Lima, Goerens - as coordinators), but also when it comes to getting legislative files. Two Maltese MEPs are in the top 100 most influential MEPs, namely EP President Roberta Metsola and S&D Vice-Chair Alex Agius Saliba.

Other high performing delegations are the Portuguese (who are the top performers when it comes to legislative activities) and the Finns (who perform well both with regards to legislative activities and leadership positions).

Note: you can find more detailed findings on each country in our OVERVIEW BY COUNTRY

On the flip side, Hungarian MEPs are the biggest underperformers in the European Parliament. This is due to the fact that a significant part of their MEPs belong to the unaffiliated camp (Fidesz), which means that they are unable to get reports or access leadership positions. This might change in the next term, as Fidesz is trying to join the ECR group, although the Hungarian representation in the more influential centrist forces is set to remain comparatively low. 

A similar issue is faced by the Italian delegation, as many Italian MEPs belong to the unaffiliated camp (Movimento 5 Stelle), or to the ID group (Lega), which is rather isolated in the European Parliament. The picture might change in the next EP, as the party of Italian PM Giorgia Meloni belongs to a slightly more influential group compared to ID (namely the ECR). However, this will also depend on the extent to which ECR will be able to cooperate with the EPP group in the next EP term. Meloni’s efforts might be frustrated by the tension between EPP and Polish Law and Justice, as well as Fidesz (in case they are accepted into ECR).

The Poles tend to perform slightly better, especially due to their strong concentration in the EPP and ECR groups, which partially explain their relatively high leadership score. However, the Poles tend to underperform when it comes to legislative activities in particular, which might be due to the fact that many of their MEPs are part of a group (ECR) which tends to be isolated when it comes to coalition-buildings on specific policy areas. Looking ahead, Polish influence is set to increase in the EPP and Renew group, due to the expected good performance of the parties from the recently-formed Tusk government. The rising Polish influence in the EPP is likely to fuel tensions between the EPP and ECR group, which will have implications for coalition-building in some areas.

Among the large delegations, Spaniards and Germans perform better, also due to their strong representation in the largest groups (EPP, Renew, S&D).

Germans benefit from easier access to leadership positions, being the largest national group by far in the EPP and Greens/EFA groups and one of the biggest delegations within S&D and Renew (SPD’s and FDP’s participation in government in Berlin also gives these parties extra weight). So far, it seems that the Germans are well positioned to keep their leadership positions in the key EPP and Greens/EFA groups also in the next term, while the weakening polling performance for SPD and FDP will likely diminish their relative positions in their groups. Importantly, the rise of AfD and the possible good score for the new list led by Sahra Wagenknecht will increase the level of polarisation within the German delegation in the next EP, with more Germans joining the fringe sides of the political spectrum.

The Spaniards also perform well on the leadership front, as their MEPs are concentrated in groups where they can exert a significant influence (S&D especially, but also EPP, Renew and The Left). Differently from Germany, the Spanish political scene remains comparatively cohesive, as PP and PSOE are leading by far in the polls for European elections in Spain. Yet, Spaniards will lose most of their representation in Renew, where they are currently one of the largest delegations.

The average performance of French MEPs tends to be much lower. Despite being very influential in some of the groups (especially Renew), the French influence is affected by the low level of seniority of their MEPs and the high number of French representatives in the isolated ID group. With Macron’s facing significant backlash at home, and the steady rise of more radical forces such as Le Pen’s and Zemmour’s parties, the French influence in the next EP is unlikely to improve. If the French end up with a weak representation in the largest groups (EPP, S&D and Renew), this will limit their access to key files and leadership positions. Yet, Macron’s party is still set to retain the leadership of the Renew group, which is likely to remain pivotal on many issues (in spite of the electoral losses), whereas the French Socialists could gain ground within the S&D family (according to current polls).

Note: you can find more detailed findings on each country in our OVERVIEW BY COUNTRY

Which political groups are exerting the most influence?

The three largest groups (EPP, S&D, Renew) remain the most influential, both in absolute terms and proportionally to their size. Their MEPs tend to be more strongly represented in leadership positions, win more votes, have higher seniority and get the most important legislative reports. 

The EPP is the most influential group when taken as a whole, also because it is the largest one in the current European Parliament (and it is set to remain the largest one in the next EP as well, according to our latest projections). 

However, when looking at the proportional influence of which political family, the central position of the Renew group in the political spectrum seems to be benefitting its members, which are scoring the highest proportionally when it comes to getting key legislative reports, leadership positions and winning votes. However, S&D and EPP members still have an edge when it comes to their network (also due to the bigger seniority of their MEPs). Greens/EFA MEPs also tend to perform relatively well proportionally speaking, which confirms the more central role that this group played in this Parliamentary term.  

The MEPs from the groups that are further to the fringes of the political spectrum (The Left, ECR and ID) tend to be more isolated and found it more difficult to leave their footprint on the latest EU decisions. This is especially true for the ID group, which is subject to a cordon sanitaire by the other groups, which prevent them from getting any institutional leadership positions or playing any role in the negotiations on important files.

However, according to our latest projections, the fringe factions will gain the most seats later this year, to the detriment of the more moderate forces. This is especially the case for ECR and ID, which will try to leverage their bigger numbers to break their relative isolation and determine the other political groups and Brussels-based stakeholders to engage with them. 

Feel free to contact us at [email protected] for more predictions and insights on the upcoming EU elections. We can provide you with dedicated briefings, visualisations and presentations on how the elections will likely affect specific EU policies (such as environment, energy, health, digital, trade, etc.).

Related posts