MEP Influence Index 2024: Top MEPs shaping International Trade

MEP Influence Index 2024: Top MEPs shaping International Trade

This analysis measures the influence that Members of the European Parliament are exerting over EU legislation and documents that shape International Trade. 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 shaping International Trade policy are: Bernd Lange (Chair of INTA and a key legislator on the protection of the Union from economic coercion by third countries), Inma Rodríguez-Piñero (S&D INTA Coordinator), Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou (Vice-Chair of INTA), Samira Rafaela (Renew INTA Coordinator and influential legislator on prohibiting products made with forced labour) and Marie-Pierre Vedrenne (Vice-Chair of INTA and active legislator on the Union's rights for the application and enforcement of international trade rules). See the full top 10 below.

Differently from the past, MEPs from the S&D group tend to be punching above their weight when it comes to influencing this policy area, while delegations from Northern and Central & Eastern Europe top our ranking by country. 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 bigger political and societal forces / pressures that surround them and that they are networking with.

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 trade issues, but also the direction in which each of them is working to influence this policy area, e.g. whether they promote a stronger focus on the regulatory or market approach to the issue of due diligence that businesses apply to their supply chains. 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 3 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 group 

Similarly, to foreign affairs, international trade is another area where S&D members tend to perform better than in the past. While S&D has been traditionally divided in trade matters, in the current term, S&D have been the top performers when it comes to proportional influence on trade. EPP members also performed well. The group led by Weber managed to get 4 of their MEPs in our top 10. 

Trends by country

International Trade is an area of strong German influence, with key legislators from CDU and SPD leading on this topic. Other delegations from Northern or Central & Eastern Europe also tend to punch above their weight, such as Irish, Belgians, Luxembourgish, Finnish, Estonians, Polish and Romanians.

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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