Data-base of MEPs’ meetings with stakeholders - key findings

Data-base of MEPs’ meetings with stakeholders - key findings

Recent developments in the European Parliament notably rekindled the debate on MEPs’ relations with interest representatives. While the amount of public data about these relationships remains limited, over the last few years MEPs started to disclose more information about their meetings with interest representatives. 

Over the past few weeks, we processed information regarding over 34 000 meetings that have been disclosed by MEPs since the beginning of the current Parliamentary term. We then created a user-friendly database for our users. The following report provides our main takeaways from the analysis of MEPs’ meetings with stakeholders. For more information on how to access the analytical features of our platform, feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Overall, 62% of MEPs disclosed information concerning (at least) some of their meetings with interest representatives, which is a relatively high number compared to the past. The number of MEPs disclosing their meetings is increasing due to the mandatory requirements for rapporteurs, shadows and committee chairs to publish their relevant meetings with interest representatives. This information is not always comprehensive, as in most cases MEPs are not obliged to disclose their meetings with lobby groups.

However, following the recent corruption scandal in the European Parliament, we can expect a stronger push in the near future to increase the level of transparency concerning MEPs’ relations with stakeholders, leading to more comprehensive information being provided to the public.

The currently available information still provides us with important insights. For example, we observe stark geographical differences, as MEPs from specific countries tend to be more open to disclose their meetings with the stakeholders. Finnish MEPs have been the most transparent, as they have disclosed an average of almost 200 meetings per MEP since the beginning of the EP term. They are followed by MEPs from other Nordic or Germanic countries: Germans, Danish, Swedish, Estonians, and Dutch have declared, on average, more than 100 meetings per MEP. Similarly, over 80% of the MEPs from these countries have disclosed at least some of their meetings.

What about Italian or Greek MEPs? Their numbers tend to be lower: Italians have declared on average 24 meetings per MEP since the beginning of the term, while this figure is even lower for the Greeks (19 meetings on average). At the bottom of the ranking we find Cypriot, Latvian and Lithuanian MEPs. Generally, we see a big difference between North-Western Europeans on the one hand, and CEE and Southern MEPs on the other hand. Notably, only a minority of the MEPs from these latter countries disclosed some of their meetings (in the case of Greece and Cyprus, less than 20% of their MEPs published some meetings).

Take a look at the graphs below to see the full picture:

NB: Click on the black arrows in the top left corner in order to see all the charts.

It is important to remember that not all MEPs from the same country or group behave in the same way. The chart below shows who are the MEPs who disclosed the most meetings up to January 2023. While German Greens Reinhard Bütikofer and Niklas Nienass lead the ranking (with over 500 declared meetings), members of the largest political groups are also represented in the top 5: German Tiemo Wölken is the S&D member who disclosed the most meetings, while French Fabienne Keller tops the ranking within Renew. Jens Gieseke is the EPP member who provided the most information so far.

Importantly, the quantity of meetings is only a small part of the picture. It is also key to look at who the MEPs are meeting with. You can find this information structured in user-friendly tables on our analytical platform. By clicking on an MEP profile you can visualise all disclosed meetings between this person and stakeholder groups. You will be able to search by topic, name of organization, file and committee.

NB: You will need a premium subscription to access this type of information. If you are not a subscriber yet, feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Finally, it is important to remember that, regardless of who the MEPs are meeting with, the decisions they actually make when voting or negotiating pieces of legislation are what matters the most. On our analytical platform, you are able to track the voting and legislative behaviour of MEPs, national parties and political groups, as well as that of Governments’ representatives in the Council. For more information, feel free to contact us at [email protected].

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