Bad mapping of the Parliament: a recipe for disaster

©European Union

More often than not, influencers are taken by surprise when the European Parliament goes against their positions and those of the Commission or the Council. As the Parliament becomes more influential, this occurrence becomes ever more frequent. In this analysis we look at one key reason why this happens: most MEPs do not belong to (leading) governing parties, hence they have extra incentive to go against their governments’ position.  Continue Reading

Impact of EPP-Fidesz divorce to be bigger than expected

TUBS, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

It is hard to overestimate the impact of Fidesz’s choice to leave the EPP group in the European Parliament. In addition to the obvious changes in the balance of power in the EU institutions and the related policy implications, the broader geopolitical dynamics should not be neglected. Concretely, while the departure of Orban’s MEPs facilitates closer cooperation between EPP, Macron’s group and the Social-Democrats, it also deepens the geographical divides between the North-Western EU and (part of) “new Europe”, providing fertile ground for the increasing influence of non-EU players in the EU’s backyard. Continue Reading

Influence Index 2020: Most influential MEPs by policy area

In the last few weeks, we have published the first part of our Influence Index 2020: a new data-driven ranking of MEPs by VoteWatch Europe and BCW Brussels.

More precisely, we ranked the influence of individual MEPs on different policy areas. The topics covered refer to the political priorities of von der Leyen’s geopolitical Commission, including highly salient topics such as the EU Green Deal, the EU’s digital transition and the EU economic recovery. Continue Reading

Influence Index 2020: Most Influential MEPs on the “European Way of Life”

This analysis is part of the Influence Index: a new data-driven ranking of MEPs by VoteWatch Europe and BCW Brussels. It is the first MEP ranking to measure influence through two crucial dimensions, namely:

– Political influence: the ability to change legislation, win votes, and shape debates;

– Social influence: the ability to reach people, shift the public conversation, and build a community of support. Continue Reading

How COVID-19 reshapes the EU budget battleground

As Chancellor Merkel and others put it, this is the most challenging moment for Europe (and probably the rest of the world) since WWII. As during WWII and its aftermath, this will also be a time when the patterns of international influence will be redefined by those that will cope the best with the challenges ahead of us, ie. the health crisis and its economic consequences.

Severe disruptions in the commercial routes in general and those of medical equipment and agri-food in particular, combined with the repatriation of expat workers already reveal both the strengths and the vulnerabilities of the social and economic basis of each of the Member States (as well as any country worldwide). Continue Reading

EU budget battleground: here are the coalitions

The stakes can hardly be higher, as EU leaders are meeting today to kick off a negotiating marathon to decide on the next Multiannual Financial Framework of the EU. Finding an agreement will be more difficult than ever, as the increasing political fragmentation and polarization of political systems across the EU decrease the room for maneuver of the different national leaders.  Continue Reading

Rejection of two EC nominees: political takeaways on the new balance of power

© European Union 2019 – Source : EP

The confirmation process of the new College of Commissioners got off to a rocky start, after the Committee on Legal Affairs refused to green-light two Commissioners-designate (Rovana Plumb from Romania – S&D – and László Trócsányi from Hungary – EPP) for alleged conflicts of interest.

This is highly relevant for stakeholders as it showcases how the political battles ahead will look like: 

1) Protection by traditional political families is now less effective

The content of the arguments used for the rejection is, of course, relevant, but since the subject is brought to the interpretation of fellow politicians (as opposed to independent judges), it is difficult to overlook the political considerations of parties. Continue Reading

Movers and shakers of EU politics – June 2018

While the summer break is just behind the corner, the hectic political debate in Brussels shows no sign of abating. In fact, the upcoming year will bring about a series of brand new changes: a new balance of power in the EP following the elections in May 2019, a new leadership of the EU institutions, and the (tentative) finalization of the Brexit negotiations. At the same time, EU decision-makers are expected to make progress on the proposed reforms of the Eurozone governance, the EU asylum system and the ambitious proposals for the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework, among many other hot issues. Continue Reading

Winners and losers of EU politics – May 2018 (MFF, CAP, etc)

Who gets what from the EU money, the regulation of the labour market, mandatory labelling, subsidies for farming (CAP) and a new investment fund for the Eurozone were the chief topics on which continental political forces fought during the latest plenary session of the European Parliament.

In the key showdown, MEPs  took a stand on the Commission’s proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework. Continue Reading