MEP Influence Index 2023: Top MEPs shaping EU’s social policy

MEP Influence Index 2023: Top MEPs shaping EU’s social policy

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

MEP Influence Index overall (across all policy areas)

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 Health 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 social policy are: Dennis Radtke, Dragoș Pîslaru, Agnes Jongerius, Kira Marie Peter-Hansen and Laurence Farreng.

-Slovenian and Danish MEPs tend to punch above their weight when it comes to shaping social policy files. Spanish MEPs are also rather active on social policy, which will be a key feature of the upcoming Spanish Presidency.

-S&D members tend to be the top performers on social issues, while the effectiveness of the conservative groups is limited by their internal divisions.

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 social policy sector, but also the direction in which each of them is working to influence this policy area, e.g. whether they promote a more social-oriented or a more market-driven 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 moderate 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 social policy

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 Slovenes (especially Joveva, Tomc and Breglez) and the Danes (especially Peter-Hansen, Villumsen and Vind) stand out for their high level of influence (proportionally to their size) on social topics (as well as their significant over-representation in the EMPL committee). 

When it comes to the largest delegations, Spanish MEPs tend to punch above their weight on this topic. This is notable due to the strong focus of Spanish domestic debate on this topic, which is set to feature high on the agenda of the upcoming Spanish Presidency (as it was the case of the Portuguese Presidency which took place a couple of years ago).

Trends by political groups

Perhaps unsurprisingly, S&D members tend to be the top performers on social issues, which is probably due to the strong focus of the centre-left group on the EU social pillar. More broadly, centre-left MEPs tend to see social policy as a favourable turf for their progressive agenda, while the effectiveness of the conservative groups is limited by their internal divisions. 

Disagreements among conservative and nationalist MEPs are likely to remain a key hurdle in the next EP term (when their numbers are projected to be bigger compared to the current composition of the EP).

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

Related posts