MEP Influence Index 2024: Top MEPs shaping EU’s environmental policy

MEP Influence Index 2024: Top MEPs shaping EU’s environmental policy

This analysis measures the influence that Members of the European Parliament are exerting over EU legislation and documents that shape EU environmental policy. It is part of a series of reports that includes:

This research measures MEPs’ influence through a combination of criteria clustered in the following categories: formal and informal leadership positions, actual legislative work, political network, committee membership and voting behavior.

Disclaimer: this is an assessment based on our team's 15+ years of experience in interpreting relevant EU socio-political data. The aim of this research is not to provide an "absolute truth", but rather to provide an indicative overview. As in any such research, the weighing of the criteria may contain an intrinsic degree of subjectivity, which we aimed to reduce by consulting with a wide range of analysts and practitioners.To read the full methodology, click here.

Key findings:

  • The top 5 most influential MEPs on environment have been: Pascal Canfin (Chair of ENVI and legislator on issues such as methane emissions reduction), Bas Eickhout (Vice-Chair of ENVI, Greens/EFA ENVI Coordinator and legislator on topics such as f-gases), Alexandr Vondra (ECR ENVI Coordinator and top legislator, including on vehicles, with respect to their emissions and battery durability), Peter Liese (EPP ENVI Coordinator and legislator on issues such as emissions allowance trading) and Martin Hojsík (top legislator, including on soil monitoring and resilience).
  • MEPs from centre-left groups, as well as Northern countries tend to be punching above their weight when it comes to influencing this policy area. See the full stats below.

More details on the above findings can be found below.

Important: when tracking influence over EU policies, always bear in mind that while individual MEPs are the visible signatories of initiatives or amendments, they are not operating in an information vacuum. Rather, their views and actions are shaped by a wide range of political and societal stakeholders that engage with them.

To understand the full picture, you need to look at the strength of these forces and the direction in which they are pushing and pulling. For example, the chart below shows the level of influence of all MEPs on environmental issues, but also the direction in which each of them is working to influence the specific debate on climate targets, e.g. whether they promote a higher targets or a more gradual transition. Particular attention should be paid to the MEPs who are in the middle, i.e. which have both a fair level of influence and their views are moderate, because in the current (and future) fragmented political landscape, these MEPs (the swing voters) are the ones that make the difference, i.e. their votes are the ones that decide whether a key paragraph is approved or not.

Note: the positions of the MEPs in the chart below on the horizontal axis is based on an assessment of their voting behavior on a wide range of paragraphs and amendments on this particular sector. 

Note: in the chart above, only the names of top MEPs are visible. If interested in more, contact us at [email protected].

The visual below shows our assessment of the most influential 10 MEPs in this sector (scroll to the right to see the full list). 

The list is also available as a table format here.

NB: at least 5 of these top 10 MEPs are likely to come back after the elections. Would you like to know which ones? Contact us at [email protected] for more information on our EP2024 elections info-pack (which includes likely MEPs, Commissioners, policy impact, and much more).

In addition to the top 10 most influential MEPs, we have found it interesting to identify the MEPs from each group that has had the most "personalised" views (i.e. different from those of their political group), on either side of the debate. In other words, who is the most to the right and to the left of their political group on this chart. This is based on the analysis of their voting behavior on a wide range of relevant paragraphs and amendments impacting on this sector. These findings are represented below. 

Trends by political groups

MEPs from Renew have been proportionally performing better on environmental topics in the current European Parliament. In fact, 4 from among the top 10 most influential MEPs belong to Renew, which is more than EPP and S&D combined. Given that S&D and EPP are often divided on this topic, Renew members could also leverage their central position to swing key votes.

Predominant coalitions pattern favour the centre-left groups, as also shown by the stronger proportional performance of Green members compared to EPP MEPs

Trends by national groups

MEPs from North-Western Europe tend to be rather active on this topic, and they are strongly represented in ENVI. MEPs from Finland are, on average, the most influential on environmental policy, followed by the Netherlands. They account for a total of 4 MEPs among the top 10 most influential MEPs. 

Swedish, Irish and Danish are also punching above their weight on this policy area.

If you are an institutional or socio-economic stakeholder and you are interested in a workshop about EU elections and/or the functioning of the EU institutions, contact us at [email protected]

Scroll back up to check our research in other sectors. 

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