Following up on the macro-view of how MEPs network in the European Parliament, (i.e. how they table amendments across political groups and nationalities), this VoteWatch report shows which individual MEPs are the most open to collaboration and the keenest on developing EP networks in the current legislative term. Being a "policy hub" is critical for gaining influence and getting things done in the EP.
We measured the "connectedness" of MEPs by checking who joins forces with whom when drafting amendments. We paid particular attention to actions that are highly likely to increase the chances of an amendment to be adopted, i.e. securing support for it across political families and across nationalities. If you only look at the number of co-signed amendments, you notice that most MEPs with high numbers are from either S&D or Renew. However, this alone does not show how strong the network of MEPs is. It goes without saying that securing the support of parliamentarians from the same political family is a natural first and necessary step. However, given that none of the political groups is anywhere close to holding a majority in the EP on its own (and there is no stable coalition when voting), this step is anything but sufficient.
Having a strong network across the political aisle and across nationalities is the key to negotiate and find compromises that suit most interests. Liaising with MEPs from other factions when tabling an amendment is critical, as the more co-signatories you get for your amendment from a variety of political corners, the higher the chances that your amendment will reach a majority and be adopted - this is because the co-signatories will have an incentive to vote for it themselves. Moreover, the co-signatories will also be incentivised to lobby other MEPs from their own party, group or country to vote for the tabled amendment, which means that securing a co-author for your amendments from another group and/or country adds up to increasing your leverage several times.
Moreover, by building a strong network you make yourself visible and available to the other MEPs, who will also come back to you when they will have their own amendments, thus giving you a chance to influence how their amendments will be phrased. Additionally, a strong network helps MEPs to gain positions of influence in the future.
Note: in this report, the term “connection” refers to two MEPs signing the same amendment. For example, if MEPs X, Y, Z signed the same amendment, then X has 2 new connections, i.e., 1 new connection with Y and 1 new connection with Z. At the same time, Y and Z also have 2 new connections. This report is based on the analysis of over 700.000 connections between MEPs.
Below you can see who are the bridge-builders in the European Parliament, namely the MEPs that are building strong cross-group and trans-national networks. As mentioned earlier, the number of connections alone does not show the strength of an MEP's network. For this reason, we developed an algorithm that takes into account both the quantity and the quality of these connections, i.e. this also factors in the average number of colleagues from other nationalities and other political groups each MEP has secured as co-signatories for his/her amendments.
The chart below shows the state of play after one year in the current EP term (top 250 MEPs): each dot is an MEP (roll over with your mouse for further information). The MEPs in the top right corner have both a strong cross-group network and a strong trans-national network. Note that you can filter the MEPs by their political group (click and unclick the names of the groups) and by committee (see the special filter - only for premium users).
NOTE: the full version of this chart that reveals the names of each MEP is further down in this report. You need a premium account to access this information. If you don't have a premium account with us yet, contact us to get a free trial.
Unsurprisingly, the top networkers belong to the 3 political groups at the center, EPP, S&D and Renew. This is because they are usually needed by both their group colleagues and the MEPs from the other groups to their left or right.
Most MEPs with strong cross-group networks are from the left to the center of the EP. This is the case as Greens/EFA, S&D, Renew, and to a lesser extent GUE-NGL, have increased their cooperation during the current term. This trend can also be seen in the leftward tilt of the current EP compared to the previous one, which is spearheaded by the new leadership in the Renew group and by the increased clout of the Greens/EFA group.
On the other hand, when it comes to cross-national networking, EPP parliamentarians tend to outperforms their competitors. Most MEPs that are connected with 22 or more nationalities are members of the EPP, followed by S&D and Renew members.
A special note regards two MEPs from the 5 Star Movement, Eleonora Evi and Fabio Massimo Castaldo. Despite their party not belonging to any formal EP groups and being considered somewhat isolated, these two MEPs are keen to prove otherwise and have been able to develop a strong network of connections: they have co-signed amendments with MEPs from all political groups (except ID).
Finally, you can see below who are the 20 MEPs that have the strongest cross-group and trans-national networks.
Below you can see the top 250 MEPs and you can filter to see the best-networked MEPs in each of the committees.
Note: you need to connect with a premium account to access this information below. If you don't have a premium account yet, contact us to get a free trial. For a more in-depth look into our data contact the VoteWatch team at [email protected]
P.S. We are looking for experts who can help us better understand the drivers of the positions of MEPs and governments in the EU decision-making on a variety of topics (click here for more information).___________________________________________________________________________