Hailed as Europe’s ‘man on the moon moment’ by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the European Green Deal is a new integrated political reality. It is the EU’s growth strategy covering all sectors of economy and a broad set of policies ranging from climate and emissions, transport, agriculture, energy, chemicals and more. The Green Deal is now framed in the EU’s recovery strategy. While the majority of Green Deal legislation is yet to go through the Parliament, we can already see some interesting trends from secondary legislation and non-legislative items in the period of our analysis.
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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Members of the Greens/EFA dominate the upper rankings of the Index, largely due to their strong social influence scores – they occupy 13 of the top 20 spots for social influence. The Vice-Chair of the Greens/EFA group and the Parliament’s Environmental Committee (ENVI) Bas Eickhout is the most influential MEP on climate and environmental policy, due to his strong network, seniority and concrete legislative work. Manon Aubry of the GUE/NGL group has most influence to shape the Green Deal debate via social media channels given her skillful social media campaigning strategies.
Only three of the top five social influencers are currently members of the ENVI Committee, compared to five out of five of the political influencers. This shows how other MEP voices outside the legislative processes of the Committees are influencing policy development.
INFLUENCE BY COUNTRY
We can see a significant East-West influence gap, with MEPs from western and northern EU countries – in particular those from Finland, Ireland and France – holding most power over environmental policies in proportion to their size. This can be attributed to the importance these nations place on tackling climate change in domestic dialogue and policy-making. We note that MEPs from northern and western member states are also over-represented in the Parliament’s ENVI Committee.
Finnish MEPs are overwhelmingly influential in proportion to the size of their country when influencing Green Deal policy, despite representing only 1.1% of the EU population.
INFLUENCE BY POLITICAL GROUP
It is of no surprise that the Greens/EFA are most influential when shaping the debate on the European Green Deal on social media (their MEPS comprise three of the top five spots for social influence). It is, perhaps somewhat surprising to see that the Greens/EFA outperform the EPP for political influence, despite the latter’s significant numerical advantage.
We can see a clear pattern of MEPs from centrist and left-leaning groups giving more weight to Green Deal topics, such as climate action, than those from the right.