This year’s European elections seem to be all about transparency. In this very line of thought another study throwing light on MEPs’ commitment to attending Committee and Plenary sessions has been published by Open Europe with the aim of giving an ‘unbiased view’ on what is seen as MEPs’ performance at work in the Parliament.

Statistics can however be misleading when they are not explained and instead taken as hard facts. This is exactly where transparency initiatives lead to confusion. The ranking established by Open Europe positions several of the most important leaders of the European Parliament within the least active batch of MEPs. By focusing on figures only, the study misses out on a key part of those MEPs’ job which is to represent their institution, lead their political group, build up alliances, and connect with their constituencies (and act as dealmakers behind the scenes).

Transparency, and meeting attendance, is important but should not be the ultimate and only benchmarks used in order to assess MEPs’ performance. If however that is the case, “good” MEPs will just need to show up…

– Maxime

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