Dalli and Metsola are Malta’s most influential MEPs, new ranking confirms

Votewatch ranking of most influential members says Malta’s MEPs are punching above their weight

Roberta Metsola and Miriam Dalli at the Naxxar counting hall during the 2014 elections. Photo: Ray Attard
Roberta Metsola and Miriam Dalli at the Naxxar counting hall during the 2014 elections. Photo: Ray Attard

Labour MEP Miriam Dalli has ranked top of the list in Votewatch.eu’s most influential MEPs amongst Malta’s six members of the European Parliament.

Dalli, a former One TV journalist and editor, is today the political coordinator of her political group in the key Committee on Environment, Health and Food Safety. She was also appointed as the shadow rapporteur of S&D on several files concerning environmental policy, such as the binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions by Member States from 2021 to 2030, as well as the reduction of pollutant emissions from road vehicles.

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola came in a close second to Miriam Dalli’s 29.5 points, with 27.5 points.

But no Maltese MEP made Votewatch’s list of 70 most influential MEPs, which was as expected led by the European Parliament president Antonio Tajani.

Tajani (EPP) exerts the most influence because of his key role as the head of the institution. The second and third most influential MEPs are the leaders of the two largest political groups, the German Manfred Weber (EEP leader) and Italian Gianni Pittella (S&D leader). Weber and Pittella are also members of the largest national delegations within their groups and their parties are currently in government in Germany and Italy, respectively.

The fourth most influential MEP, the Belgian Guy Verhofstadt, is the chair of the Liberal group (ALDE) as well as the representative of the European Parliament for the Brexit negotiations. The Italian Roberto Gualtieri (S&D) is number five, thanks to his role as the chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs, as well as his contribution in shaping a high number of reports on economic policy.

There were big differences between the big Member States: Germany and Italy seem to exert the biggest level of influence in the European Parliament, more so than other big countries like France, the UK or Spain. This is explained mainly through the fact that Germany has the biggest national delegation in the biggest political group, EPP, while Italy in the S&D, which give them a competitive advantage for the allocation of key positions and even rapporteurship.

The influence of France and Spain was reduced after the 2014 elections due to the substantial fragmentation of big centrist parties at the gain of those at the fringes. The victory of the National Front in the French elections for the European Parliament led to a decrease in the size of the French delegations in the other groups, therefore diminishing their clout in the overall assembly. As the political group of the National Front is rather isolated in the EP, their MEPs struggle to be influential in shaping legislation

“On the other hand, Belgian and Finnish MEPs are the most influential when the average scores are considered. This means that the influence exerted by these national delegation is higher than the size of their national groups in the EP would suggest. German, Romanian and Maltese MEPs are also punching above their weight. On the other hand, Greek, Cypriot, Lithuanian and British MEPs punch way below their weight when influencing EU legislation,” Votewatch said.

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