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BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), one of the world’s largest full-service global communications agencies, is in the business of moving people on behalf of clients. 

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An analysis into how influential an MEP is in winning votes, gaining leadership positions, building a strong network and overall participation in legislative processes. 

An analysis into how influential an MEP is in reaching a public audience, engaging them in a policy conversation, building a community of support and shaping in debates with other policy makers.

Political influence

Social influence

Who has influence in the European Parliament? What makes them influential? How does this impact European policy? 

This collaborative analysis by BCW and VoteWatch decodes influence through data and political insight. 

Influence
Index

How do we measure influence?

ANALYSIS

Health influence

Although not initially on the European Commission's policy priorities, the COVID-19 pandemic catapulted healthcare to the top of EU's policy agenda. 

Suddenly everyone was talking about healthcare systems, infection control and vaccines. 

On the political dimension, the top influencers are who you would expect (doctors or ex-Health Ministers, mostly in the ENVI committee). On the social dimension, however, we found a wider range of MEPs engaging with health as a topic, with many MEPs who had never previously been involved in health policy starting to comment and build support for their ideas. 

Read a more detailed analysis here.


The Influence Index is based on two independent dimensions: 

VoteWatch

VoteWatch Europe is a leading Brussels-based independent organisation specialised in combining large data sets of EU political data with cutting-edge expertise in order to provide the best insights into EU politics.

Independent studies ranked VoteWatch Europe as the top influencer in the category of think tanks communicating on EU affairs. 


ABOUT

For more detail on how we calculate influence, see our methodology document here and a more detailed document here. 

ANALYSIS

Green Deal influence

Described as Europe’s ‘man on the moon moment’, the European Green Deal is a broad set of policies that range from climate and emissions, transport, agriculture, energy, chemicals and more. The Green Deal strives to make Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent. 

The analysis shows a geographic influence gap: that, on average, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from Western and Northern EU countries – particularly Finland, Ireland and France – have more influence over Green Deal policies than MEPs from Eastern EU countries.

The MEPs with most political and social influence over Green Deal policy include the Chairs of the European Parliament’s Environment and Fisheries Committees (ENVI and PECH), the Vice-Chair of the ENVI Committee, and two political coordinators of the ENVI and ITRE Committees.

Read a more detailed analysis here.


Policy influence analysis

Each week, we will present the most influential MEPs for each key policy area with an analysis of what this means for political groupings and member states.

Click below to navigate through policies:

Digital

ANALYSIS

Smaller European member states, particularly Malta and Estonia, are punching above their weight when shaping Europe’s digital policy. 

Our analysis shows Maltese, Estonian and Latvian MEPs wield most political influence on Europe’s digital policyon average, with counterparts from Portugal, the Netherlands and Finland also featuring prominently in the top ten. 

The Index also suggests female MEPs are among the most influential in shaping Europe’s digital policy.

Eight of the top ten MEPs for political and social influence are women. This is an encouraging indication of women’s pivotal role in shaping a Europe fit for the digital age.

Read a more detailed analysis here.

Economy

ANALYSIS

As the European Parliament prepares to debate the biggest economic recovery fund in the EU’s history, the Influence Index shows MEPs from Portugal hold most political power over the European Parliament’s economic policies, on average. 

Having reined in the ambition of the economic recovery package, MEPs representing the so-called ‘frugal four’ wield less political influence on economic policies, on average, with Sweden ranking last.

Although an Italian MEP tops the Index for political and social influence on EU economic policy, Italian MEPs rank low for average political influence.

Read a more detailed analysis here.

ANALYSIS

Foreign Affairs

With the von der Leyen Commission’s positioning itself as ‘geopolitical’, Europe is looking to increase its weight and relevance in foreign affairs vis-a-vis Member States in the coming years. 

The Influence Index on foreign affairs shows that centre-right and centrist groups in the European Parliament wield significantly more political influence than their left-leaning counterparts when shaping the EU’s foreign policy. The picture changes considerably when looking at social influence, where smaller, left-leaning groups excel. MEPs belonging to GUE/NGL and the Green/EFA may be seeking to compensate for their compromised political clout by being more active on social media.

Average political influence per group

Average social influence per group

Our analysis also shows MEPs from the Baltic states and Poland punching above their weight with regards to political influence on EU external relations. These national groups share similar geopolitical leanings, therefore boosting each other’s influence.

Read a more detailed analysis here.

ANALYSIS

Democracy and Home Affairs

Average political influence per group

Average social influence per group

The Greens-European Free Alliance are the group with most political and social clout when shaping policies on Democracy and Home Affairs in the European Parliament, according to the Democracy & Home Affairs Influence Index.

The analysis shows that MEPs belonging to the Greens/EFA are proportionally most influential, not only when impacting legislation and shaping the political agenda, but also when building a community of support for their ideas on social platforms. An in-depth analysis of the political ranking is available on the VoteWatch website.

The exceptional measures taken by governments to protect public health during the Covid-19 pandemic present fresh challenges as the European Parliament seeks to protect democracy and fundamental rights at home and around the world. Concerns about press freedom, surveillance, disinformation, election integrity and rule of law also persist and take on new dimensions in the current climate. So do the challenges facing the European Union in relation to Home Affairs, with renewed pressure on the EU to protect its external and internal borders and coordinate member states in times of emergency. 

The Index also suggests an influence gap between the East and West, with MEPs representing Western member states scoring higher, on average, for both political and social influence. Maltese MEPs wield most political influence, proportionally, followed by Spain, Luxembourg and Germany. Irish MEPs come out top for average social influence, followed by Spain, France and Belgium.