MEPs from liberal-leaning political groups within the European Parliament hold disproportionate sway when it comes to migration issues, research has found. (EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET)

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EU Liberals hold ‘disproportionate influence on migration’, study finds


MEPs from liberal-leaning political groups within the European Parliament hold “disproportionate sway” when it comes to migration issues, new research revealed.

A study published by data firm EU Matrix on February 27 has found that representatives of the centrist RENEW group and centre-left Socialists & Democrats (S&D) group have a greater influence on immigration, while those on the right have a lesser impact.

Of the top 10 MEPs deemed by the research group to be the “most influential”, three belong to RENEW, while a further four are members of the S&D group.

By contrast, just one of the top 10 most influential figures belongs to the European People’s Party (EPP) despite that group being the largest in the Parliament.

The more right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and Identity and Democracy (ID) groups hold only one of the top 10 spots between them – that belonging to Poland’s Patryk Jaki of ECR.

Explaining the apparent discrepancy, EU Matrix postulated that the disproportionate influence of the centre was likely down to how “divisive” immigration issues can be.

“Migration and home affairs tends to be a polarising topic, which explains why the forces in the middle, such as the MEPs belonging to the RENEW group tend to exert a higher proportional influence, as they can swing the outcome of key decisions,” EU Matrix stated.

“MEPs from Renew and S&D account for most of the positions in our top 10 list of influencers.”

The study goes on to suggest that MEPs from the Netherlands are also believed to hold a disproportionate influence over the Parliament’s dealings with immigration compared to their number of seats.

Hungary is seen to hold the least amount of influence compared to any other Member State.

Also detailed in the study are those who are most and least positive about “open” migration policies.

On that topic, the group said Charlie Weimers and Jean-Paul Garraud were the strongest supporters of restrctive migration policies within their respective groups. Both men have built large social media followings off the back of the topic.

Ireland dominates the list in terms of MEPs who are the most open to immigration in their respective groups.

According to the data, Fianna Fáil MEP Barry Andrews is the foremost pro-immigration MEP in the RENEW group, while Fine Gael’s Maria Walsh has been deemed the most pro-migration representative within the EPP.

EU Matrix added that it expected the “average view” on migration to shift substantially to the Right following the European Parliament elections in June.