Metsola punches above her weight is second in most influential MEP ranking on home affairs

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola ranked second most influential MEP on democracy and home affairs inside European Parliament

MEP Roberta Metsola
MEP Roberta Metsola

Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola has been named one of the top five most influential MEPs across Europe in the field of democracy and home affairs.

Unlike the previous headline of this article, which idiom mistakenly suggested Metsola’s top ranking might have been ‘surprising’ , the long-time MEP’s top placing comes as no surprise in her powerful role as LIBE coordinator for the EPP and author of major legislation on migration.

The Nationalist MEP ranked second and joined European heavyweights like the socialist Juan Fernardo Lopez Aguilar and liberal Sophie In’t Veldt in the VoteWatch index, a data-driven ranking that measures MEPs’ ability to change laws and shape debates, and define public conversation.

Metsola’s ranking formed part of a vast portfolio of issues that comprises civil liberties, rule of law and migration, as well as gender policies.

Metsola is the coordinator of the LIBE on behalf of the Euorpean Peopel’s Party, and co-chair of the Anti-Corruption intergroup and a member of the intergroups on anti-Racism, LGBTI, diversity and children’s rights. She is also the rapporteur on dossiers aimed at cooperation on combating cross-border crime and terrorism and has drafted dossiers on FADO (False and Authentic Documents Online), Frontex and the European Border and Coast Guard. “Her role on these topics is rather important, considering the delicate position of Malta is one of the main entry points for asylum seekers coming from North-Africa. Previously, Metsola was one of the vice-chairs of the PETI committee, which also deals with the transparency of EU institutions,” VoteWatch said.

Maltese MEPs, just six in a parliament of 736, do punch above their weight in general, wielding most political influence, proportionally, followed by Spain, Luxembourg and Germany. Irish MEPs come out top for average social influence, followed by Spain, France and Belgium. 

Metsola greeted the news with delight in a Facebook comment. “It is always nice to have your work recognised, but this is about the ability of our country to shape the conversation on a European level and ensure we get the best possible outcomes on every decision for everyone in Malta and Gozo – and it is about showing young people here that our geographic realities cannot hold you back. The work continues.”

The index also suggests an influence gap between the East and West, with MEPs representing Western member states scoring higher, on average, for both political and social influence.

Topping the ‘democracy and home affairs’ ranking was Spanish Juan Fernando López Aguilar, who currently the most potential of political influence regarding the Commission’s “European Way of life” pillar. López Aguilar is serving his third term with the S&D group and is a key member of the PSOE party, which is currently governing Spain alongside Podemos. His main sources of influence are his leadership of the LIBE committee and his legislative work. For example, he drafted reports on automated data exchange, human trafficking and sea and rescue operation in the Mediterranean. 

Third-ranked was German Birgit Sippel, an experienced member of one of the largest parties within S&D, German SPD (currently in government in Germany), having been assigned the task to coordinate the position of her group within the LIBE committee.

Dutch Sophia in ‘t Veld is the fourth most politically influential MEP regarding “European way of life” matters. She is currently serving her fourth term in the EP, and is the coordinator of Renew within LIBE. Since 2018, she has chaired the Rule of Law monitoring group within LIBE. Currently, she co-chairs the European Parliament Platform for Secularism in Politics, co-chairs “MEPs for Sexual and Reproductive Rights” and is the vice-chair of the LBGTI intergroup. The Dutch MEP has also worked on legislation to improve the gender balance in the Commission, protect passenger privacy and data exchange, establish an EU mechanism for the rule of law and strengthen counter-terrorism efforts. 

French Pascal Durand is currently the fifth most politically influential MEP and is the coordinator of Renew Europe within AFCO (Constitutional Affairs). Before joining the centrist group, he was vice-chair of Greens/EFA.