The European Parliament faces fresh challenges as it seeks to protect democracy and fundamental rights at home and around the world.

Concerns about press freedom, disinformation, election integrity and the rule of law take on new dimensions as the consequences of Covid-19 continue to unravel. Equally, as the European Parliament continues to work on shaping the ‘European way of life’, there is renewed pressure on the EU to protect its external and internal borders.

The analysis uses data and insights from the one-year period up to August 2020. There have since been some changes in European parliamentary seats and leadership positions.

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OVERALL INFLUENCE
POLITICAL INFLUENCE
SOCIAL INFLUENCE
All Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the top five for combined political and social influence sit on the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee, and have all served in previous parliamentary terms. However, newcomers elected in 2019 feature more prominently among the top social influencers.

INFLUENCE BY COUNTRY

The six Maltese MEPs have most political influence in proportion to the size of their representation. This is due to some extent on the country’s strong position on migration. The Maltese also come out top for combined political and social influence. As opposed to other policy indexes, French and Italian MEPs do not trail in the political ranking, showing a stronger interest in Democracy and Home Affairs.

A West-East divide is noticeable for both political and social influence. Politically, this could be due to the distribution of political groups, as the centre-to-the-left groups invest more political energy and capital in issues related to this pillar and are substantially more ‘present’ in Western Europe. Socially, this is due to the Index’s reliance on Twitter data, a platform less used by policymakers in the eastern states.

OVERALL

POLITICAL

SOCIAL

INFLUENCE BY POLITICAL GROUP

MEPs from the Greens/EFA have the highest average political influence on Democracy and Home Affairs, followed by Renew Europe and S&D members, with MEPs representing the EPP trailing behind. This distribution of influence can also be observed in the voting outcomes of the current legislature, with the centre-to-the-left coalition having a somewhat comfortable majority to forward its agenda. The Greens/EFA are also, on average, the most influential group when it comes to shaping the debate on democracy and home affairs on social media.

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