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This analysis by EUmatrix.eu measures the influence that Members of the European Parliament have exerted over EU legislation since the beginning of the current Parliamentary term.
This study has been coordinated by Doru Peter Frantescu, CEO of EUmatrix.eu (former CEO of VoteWatch Europe), who has 15 years of experience in measuring the political dimension of EU policy making.
The study is meant to help both the public affairs 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 research 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.
NB: we will soon publish an assessment of the Commissioners’ performance and their chances of being re-elected. If you wish to contribute to this assessment, feel free to take our quick survey.
Key findings / trends
-The top 10 most influential MEPs since 2019 are: Manfred Weber, Roberta Metsola, Iratxe García Pérez, Heidi Hautala, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Dita Charanzová, Johan van Overtveldt, Othmar Karas, Bernd Lange and Bas Eickhout.
-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 Maltese, Luxembourgers and Finns punch above their weight the most, while Cypriots, Italians and Hungarians are the most underperforming national groups.
-The EPP remains the most influential group when taken as a whole, although Renew members tend to punch above their weight the most, especially with regards to leadership positions, legislative activities and voting performance. 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).
-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 health or digital policy. When it comes to political groups, the EPP remains the most influential when taken as a whole, but S&D and Renew perform better when it comes to proportional influence on trade, health and social affairs (in the case of S&D), or environment, agri-food and digital (in the case of Renew).
Note to the reader:
You are currently reading the overall MEP Influence Index, which measures the political influence overall in the EP. However, if you are interested in a particular policy sector, you should check out the sectoral indices, as indicated below:
MEP Influence Index in Health policy
MEP Influence Index in Environmental policy
MEP Influence Index in Agri-food policy
MEP Influence Index in Digital policy
MEP Influence Index in International trade
MEP Influence Index in Social policy
Importantly, these reports are not normative assessments, i.e. they are not meant to suggest which MEPs are “better” than others, but rather which MEPs have found themselves (due to a combination of personal and circumstantial factors) in positions from which they have been able to influence EU policy.
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 is on your side of the debate or 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
NB: We expect a significant turnover in the composition of the European Parliament after the 2024 elections. According to our latest calculations, only 42% of the current cohort of MEPs will be re-elected next year, although the chances of the top 100 MEPs to make it are higher (but only slightly). In fact, some of these MEPs will retire or move to other institutions, while others belong to parties that are facing a steep electoral decline (such as Spanish Ciudadanos, Dutch PvdA, etc.).
Contact us at [email protected] to get timely predictions and updates on the future composition of the European Parliament, including the likely new MEPs and their backgrounds.
Which national groups are exerting the most influence?
When taken as a whole, delegations from large countries such 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. Two Maltese MEPs are in the top 100 most influential MEPs, namely EP President Roberta Metsola and S&D Vice-Chair Alex Agius Saliba.
Luxembourgish MEPs also 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. Hansen, Goerens - as coordinators), but also when it comes to getting legislative files. Other high performing delegations are the Finns (who perform well both with regards to legislative activities and leadership positions) and the Portuguese (who are the top performers when it comes to legislative activities).
On the flip side, Cypriot MEPs are the biggest underperformers in the European Parliament, as none of the Cypriots are represented in the top 100. Italian and Hungarian MEPs are also among the underperformers, which is due to the fact that a significant part of their MEPs belong to the unaffiliated camp (Fidesz and Movimento 5 Stelle), which means that they are unable to get reports or access leadership positions. Similarly, many Italian MEPs belong to the ID group, which is rather isolated in the European Parliament (excluded from the allocation of leadership positions).
The Poles tend to perform 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.
The 2024 elections will be key for the right-wing governments of Italy, Poland and Hungary, which are currently looking to strengthen their leverage in the European Parliament. Even though our latest projections point to a growing weight of right-wing factions in the next European Parliament, there are still doubts about whether the different forces of the growing nationalist camp will be able to cooperate with each other and/or establish a positive working relationship with the bigger EPP group.
Among the large delegations, Spaniards and Germans perform particularly well, 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 position in the key EPP and Greens/EFA groups also in the next term, while their influence in S&D is likely to increase as Spanish PSOE risks losing ground in the upcoming elections.
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). While they might lose their leadership position within S&D in the future, their influence within the EPP might increase, especially if Partido Popular wins the national elections later this year.
The performance of French MEPs tends to be more average. Despite being very influential in some of the groups (especially Renew), the French performance 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 Melechon’s parties, it seems likely that the French influence in the next EP could further deteriorate. If the French end up with a weaker presentation in the largest groups (EPP, S&D and Renew), this will limit their access to key files and leadership positions.
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 remains the most influential group when taken as a whole, although Renew members tend to punch above their weight the most. 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 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 groups will gain the most seats next year, to the detriment of the more moderate forces. Will these electoral gains allow their MEPs to exert a bigger influence in the next EP? This will also depend on how their relationship with the main groups will evolve (for instance, will EPP and ECR be able to reconcile after years of difficult relations?).
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.).
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