MEP Influence Index 2023: Top MEPs shaping EU’s agri-food policy

MEP Influence Index 2023: Top MEPs shaping EU’s agri-food policy

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

MEP Influence Index overall (across all policy areas)

MEP Influence Index in Health policy

MEP Influence Index in Environmental policy

MEP Influence Index in Digital policy

MEP Influence Index in International trade

MEP Influence Index in Social policy

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 behaviour. To read the full 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: 

-The top 5 most influential MEPs shaping agri-food policy are: Norbert Lins, Clara Aguilera, Ulrike Müller, Bas Eickhout and Herbert Dorfmann.

 -Two Germans (from very different parties) are among the most influential MEPs on agri-food, also due to their key leadership roles. The delegation that tends to punch the most above its weight when it comes to proportional influence are the Finns, which are particularly active on drafting legislation on agri-food.

-The EPP is the most influential group on agri-food topics when taken as a whole, but the picture is more balanced when looking at the average performance of individual MEPs from different political groups. This indicates difficult battles ahead on agri-food legislation.

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 regulation on the agri-food sector, but also the direction in which each of them is working to influence this policy area, e.g. whether they promote a more restrictive or a more liberalised regulatory framework. Particular attention should be paid to the MEPs who are in the middle, i.e. they have both a fair level of influence and moderated views, because in the current fragmented political landscape, these MEPs (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: in the chart below, only the names of top MEPs are revealed. To uncover the full picture, contact us at [email protected].

Top MEPs on agri-food:

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 MEPs to make it are higher (but only slightly). 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.

Trends by national groups:

When looking at the trends by national groups, the Finns stand out for the high level of influence (proportionally to their size) on agri-food topics. MEPs such as Elsi Katainen, Petri Sarvamaa and Ville Niinistö are active on this topic, while Torvalds remains influential due to his role as the ENVI coordinator.

When it comes to the largest delegations, the Germans tend to have higher leadership scores, since many important leadership roles on agri-food are held by Germans such as Norbert Lins (Chair of AGRI), Ulrike Müller (Renew coordinator) and Martin Häusling (Greens/EFA coordinator - 6th position in our ranking). Yet, Germans are not as active with regards to getting important legislative files, which explains why (proportionally speaking) they are not punching above their weight to the same extent as other national groups.

Trends by political groups:

The EPP is the most influential group on agri-food topics in absolute terms, whereas the picture becomes more balanced when the size of the different political groups is taken into account. This makes the outcome of the upcoming agri-food files, or those under discussions such as the legislation on pesticides, even more uncertain compared to other policy areas where the balance of power tends to be more favourable towards specific political groups.

Would you like to find out who are the MEPs with moderate views that are most likely to make or break majorities in the European Parliament? Feel free to contact us at [email protected] for more information on our data-driven services.

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