VoteWatch Analytical Tool: EU Health policy, mapping MEPs’ views and influence


This report is part of the new VoteWatch series showing you how to build your strategy using our new analytical tool (which is explained in-depth here) and which allows you to quickly identify kingmakers and swing-voters among MEPs. This tool is already been used by key stakeholders active in EU policy-making.

By combining (objective) data science with expert insight, we filter out the noise and show the actual positions of each MEP on key parts of the EU health policy agenda. Our visualisations, which are based on the processing of public information (activities undertaken and votes cast by the MEPs), highlight which MEPs are convinced (on either side) and which have more nuanced views and will be decisive in securing majorities. Always remember that MEPs are not acting as isolated individuals, but they are part of political networks and their positions are usually aligned with those of their governments (in the case of MEPs belonging to parties in government). For this reason, understanding the nuances in the positions of MEPs helps not only to forecast the decisions made in the EP, but also to anticipate what the EU governments are likely to do.

Check out similar analyses on other policy areas (e.g. climate, taxation, etc.) here.

Use this analytical tool to spot:

a) how influential MEPs are in a given policy area (vertical axis).

b) in which direction each MEP is pulling EU legislation (horizontal axis).

Full list of matrices covered in this report:




1. Public vs. Market approach

The matrices below provide a detailed picture of the general trends in voting behaviour amongst MEPs when it comes to health policies. The level of influence of each MEP is displayed on the vertical axis: the higher an MEP is placed on that axis, the greater the influence this MEP exerts over the EU health policy agenda. For this first section, members who are placed on the left of the chart support a public approach to health policy and tend to push for increased regulation (a conclusion we reached after looking at their recent legislative behaviour in the EP). On the other hand, MEPs placed on the right of the chart believe in a more market-based approach to health policy.

Our analytical tool highlights which MEPs are the kingmakers and the swing-voters when decisions are made: the swing-voters are in the area surrounding the majority line (the yellow area) while the kingmakers are in the area where influence (the blue area) overlaps with the swing-voters area. The MEPs that have more moderate views on EU health policies will generally be more receptive to new information, as they decide their position on a case-by-case basis. Conversely, MEPs that hold strongly crystallised views on health (i.e. have either a strong public approach or strong market approach) will arguably be less receptive to alternative views, as they have made up their mind long ago.

How does this information look like in our new analytical tool?

These two first charts show the general position of MEPs on health policies (regardless of their committee membership first, and within the ENVI Committee). Pay particular attention to the interactive dots that are positioned in the proximity of the majority line, because those are the MEPs who will decide to support or reject a proposal at the last moment (and in doing so, they hold the key to the fate of a proposal). You can filter the MEPs by country (use the drop-down menu on the left side) or by political group (click on the name of a political group). Roll your mouse over each dot to learn more information. Note: you will need to log in with your premium account in order to see the names of the MEPs (if you do not have one, contact us at [email protected])


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The following series of charts represent the position of MEPs on different votes related to EU health policies. While the positioning of MEPs on the matrix remains the same, note that the dots are now coloured in green (MEP voted in favour), red (MEP voted against) and yellow (MEP abstained) as they now refer to the voting behaviour of MEPs on one specific vote.

Importantly, VoteWatch is now proposing new visuals which compare the positioning of MEPs over time on a given issue. Below is an example of this new tool applied in the context of COVID-19 vaccines. Click on the black arrows to scroll through the three matrices. Note that for the first two graphs, the colour of each dot represents the positioning of that given MEP on the vote at hand (red when the MEP voted against, green when in favour and yellow when they abstained). The third visual highlights any change in voting behaviour between the two selected votes. In light of this, MEPs who have maintained the same position are now coloured in grey while those who changed their position to support the proposal at hand are now coloured in green, those who changed to oppose it are in red, and those who abstained are in yellow.


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1.6. Relocation of health supplies manufacturing


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2. EU vs. National

The matrices below provide a detailed picture of the general trends in voting behaviour amongst MEPs on a different dimension of health policy. The x-axis now represents the debate between a national approach to health policy and a stronger ‘Europeanisation’. In light of this, members who are placed on the left of the chart support a stronger harmonisation of health policies at the EU level (a conclusion we reached after looking at their recent legislative behaviour in the EP). On the other hand, MEPs placed on the right of the chart believe in a more national approach to health policy. Note that the influence of MEPs in the matrices below remains the same as above (y-axis).


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The following series of charts represent the position of MEPs on different votes related to EU health policies. While the positioning of MEPs on the matrix remains the same, note that the dots are now coloured in green (MEP voted in favour), red (MEP voted against) and yellow (MEP abstained) as they now refer to the voting behaviour of MEPs on one specific vote.


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3. Cross matrix: Public vs. Market / EU vs. National

This last chart provides an overview of the interplay between (a) the debate on EU harmonisation of health policies and (b) the choice between a public or a market-based approach. Note that the graph no longer displays the influence of MEPs. Instead, the y-axis displays the level of support for EU harmonisation of health policy. Members who are placed higher in the chart support a stronger harmonisation while MEPs placed lower in the chart believe in a more national approach to health policy. The x-axis portrays the views of MEPs on a market-based approach to health policy. Members who are placed on the left of the chart support a public approach to health policy, and tend to push for increased regulation, while MEPs placed on the right of the chart believe in a market approach.


For any questions and requests regarding further analysis, contact us at [email protected]