American political journalism organization Politico recently ranked the 40 most influential MEPs out of the 751 currently making up the European Parliament, among whom Estonian MEP Kaja Kallas, named a "rising star," was ranked 30th.
As the European Parliament was the sole EU institution with a direct mandate from the people of Europe, the news organization found it surprising that a ranking of its top MEPs had never been compiled before.
According to the Politico article, one possible explanation for this was the "state of political limbo in which the 751 elected MEPs exist" thanks to the fact that while the Parliament has repeatedly threatened to block various deals and trade agreements, the EU’s true decision-making power laid not in Parliament but in the European Commission.
Nonetheless, found the article, a number of MEPs were still able to "wield tangible political influence in Europe."
The ranking listed Parliament president Martin Schulz (Germany) as the European Parliament’s number one most influential MEP. According to Politico, Schulz is trying "to make his post of Parliament president more visible and powerful than in the past" while also getting the Parliament more involved in the work of other EU institutions.
Second place was awarded to Marine Le Pen (France), chairman of the euroskeptic French National Front and head of the Parliament’s political group Europe of Nations and Freedom, and in third place was Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium), the head of the Parliament’s Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.
The sole Estonian MEP to make the top 40 list was Kaja Kallas, who ranked 30th overall. Politico referred to Kallas as a "rising star."
"Kallas is author of the Parliament’s opinion on the digital single market," read her ranking. "There have been three such plans from the Commission since 2005, with many components of them falling victim to vested interests. That’s why Kallas matters: She understands the tech, the politics, and — as a competition lawyer — the antitrust aspects of this fast-moving world. If there’s to be a digital single market, Kallas will help shape it."
MEP Kallas is a member of the European Parliament’s Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe as well as the Parliament's Digital Single Market rapporteur. She has previously worked as an attorney-at-law, specialized in European and Estonian competition law as well as served as a member of the Riigikogu.
Editor: Aili Sarapik