ECR, United Kingdom
Julie Girling has been praised for her longstanding support for the promotion of better animal welfare. Girling has worked on several key dossiers since becoming an MEP in 2009. She successfully managed the parliament’s position on National Emissions Ceilings, helping to deliver tough new targets aimed at reducing air pollution and cutting premature deaths from poor air quality. An active member of the intergroup on the welfare and conservation of animals, she recently co-sponsored a resolution on the introduction of compatible systems for the registration of pets across member states. A keen rider, she also chairs the MEP horse group and is rapporteur on an own-initiative report on guidelines to improve the welfare of the EU’s seven million horses and donkeys.
S&D, Czech Republic
Olga Sehnalová was elected to the European Parliament in 2009. Since 2010, she has organised the European Days, in Kroměříž in the Czech Republic. The week-long festival takes place every six months, to coincide with rotating EU Council presidency. It is dedicated to introducing the culture of the country taking on the mandate. The European Days typically kick off with a debate between a Czech national living in the country taking on the presidency, and a national of that country living in the Czech Republic, so that they can compare differences between the culture and daily life of EU member states. The festival also features performances, activities for children and film screenings.
One of Parliament’s younger members, Elly Schlein was elected in 2014. She worked on both of Barack Obama’s presidential election campaigns, which fuelled her passion for grassroots activism. She is very active on issues relating to immigration and tax avoidance and is rapporteur on tax avoidance and tax evasion as challenges for governance, social protection and development in developing countries. Schlein has also worked extensively on helping find solutions to tackle the refugee crisis, and has personally assessed the situation on the ground in Lampedusa and Trapani. The Italian deputy is Parliament’s development committee shadow opinion rapporteur on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration.
Carlos Zorrinho is a passionate advocate of using digital innovation to enhance public services and education. He has consistently pushed for the establishment of a more balanced and inclusive digital market, and believes that online public digital services can help drive innovation, kick-start economic development and benefit the lives of EU citizens. He was rapporteur on the proposal to establish a programme on interoperability solutions for European public administrations, businesses and citizens as a means for modernising the public sector and on the proposal for a regulation on ensuring cross-border portability of online content services. Zorrinho is Vice-Chair of the Delegation for relations with Brazil and a member of the committee on Industry, Research and Energy.
Sven Giegold has been speaking up for consumer interests in financial services for a number of years. A landmark project of his has been the strengthening of financial supervision, and Giegold has been a prominent supporter of giving more powers and resources to the European Supervisory Authorities. He also wants to simplify EU financial services legislation in order to remove loopholes. In recent months Giegold has been instrumental in organising debates about how the financial industry can better serve citizens, and he has worked with civil society organisations over the years to find practical solutions. His key objective, he says, is to ensure that a strong single market in financial services can develop in which all providers are equally well supervised.
Emilian Pavel is committed to ensuring that Europe remains focused on addressing the needs of future generations. He has actively campaigned for the rights of young people, their right to decent work and to have opportunities in the labour market both at the European and local level. For example, Pavel recently arranged a stakeholder debate in his own constituency of Oradea on Youth Entrepreneurship and Opportunities, the first time that such an event had taken place in the region. This helped to raise the profile of European policy and enabled young people to have their voices heard. Pavel has also been vocal in his support for establishing a Skills Guarantee and was rapporteur on the recent opinion on the Erasmus + implementation report.
S&D, United Kingdom
Theresa Griffin is a vocal advocate for consumer rights and protection in energy markets, and has been particularly active on highlighting the social dimension of the energy union. She has been praised for giving special attention to the concerns of vulnerable consumers who have difficulties paying their energy bills and how to help them deal with the energy transition. Griffin has also worked to find solutions enabling consumers to engage in electricity production from renewables and becoming more energy efficient. A committed trade union activist, she is a member of several parliamentary intergroups, focusing on disability rights, children’s rights and urban policy, among other topics. Griffin was born in Coventry and before joining the European Parliament, she was regional organiser for the public services union, UNISON.
Giovanni LA VIA
Giovanni La Via has been at the forefront of environment-related files in the first half of the legislature. Chair of the committee on environment, public health and food safety, he headed up the parliament’s delegation to the COP 21 conference in Paris, showing a strong commitment for the climate agreement itself and, as the institution’s rapporteur on ratification, made a big push for its swift implementation. The deputy, a former university professor, has also championed the fight against climate change and, in the National Emissions Ceilings negotiations, on air quality. Waste management and the circular economy package have also featured in his daily parliamentary work, with his overarching goal being a more resource-efficient, sustainable and competitive Europe.
Vautmans has spent much of the last year highlighting the plight of unaccompanied minor refugees. More than 100,000 of these entered the EU in 2016 with about 10,000 subsequently going missing. Elected in January 2015, she has organised seminars, both inside and outside parliament, to raise awareness of the issue and also visited the notorious refugee camp in Calais, dubbed the “Jungle”, where 1,022 unaccompanied children were found. The deputy, a former aide to ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt during his time as prime minister of Belgium, has also tabled numerous amendments and reports highlighting the migrants’ situation and, as an Alderwoman in her home town in Flanders, assisted at her local refugee centre. Her aim is to stem the tide of unaccompanied minors fleeing to Europe.
Róża Gräfin von THUN UND HOHENSTEIN
Róża Thun has done an outstanding job as a member of the IMCO committee, advocating the removing obstacles for the establishment of the single market and empowering consumers. She has particularly focused on the digital single market, including looking at issues concerning roaming, net neutrality, e-commerce rules and deployment of e-call in vehicle systems. She has also called for reform of the EU postal and parcel delivery market, which has not been adapted to the expanding e-commerce market. She is also noted for her work on trying to reduce pollutant emissions from road vehicles, well before the VW 'diesel-gate' scandal came out, and for stand her stand against manufactures who mislead consumers based on inaccurate data.
S&D, United Kingdom
Jude Kirton-Darling is a relatively new MEP, but has a long-standing reputation for workers’ rights advocacy having previously been elected Confederal Secretary at the European Trade Union Confederation. Kirton-Darling is currently leading Labour efforts in the European Parliament to make trade deals such as CETA and TTIP as fair and as transparent as possible. She is also fighting to ensure that the deal excludes public services such as the UK’s NHS, and that worker rights and environmental standards are strengthened rather than reduced. Kirton-Darling grew up in Middlesbrough and is passionate about England’s North East, its social and industrial heritage and future. This is reflected in her work to create a strong and sustainable industrial policy fit for the 21st century.
Gérard Deprez is known to be strongly committed to understanding and addressing the rising threat of radicalisation and terrorism. As a MEP he has worked closely with civil society and stakeholders in dealing with fighting against terrorism and understanding the importance of prevention of radicalisation and the need to support and empower individuals and groups actively engaged in these efforts. He has highlighted to the Commission the growing problem of terrorists' camps in the Balkans, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. He called on the Commission to engage with applicant countries such as Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, to combat Islamic fundamentalism in their countries.
Eva MAYDELL (PAUNOVA)
Eva Maydell became an MEP in 2014, and in 2015 she won the MEP award for best newcomer. A member of the internal market and consumer protection committee, Maydell is strongly committed to supporting SMEs, start-ups and digital innovation across Europe. The Bulgarian deputy is particularly active on eSkills and is very involved in EU code week, a yearly event held across Europe to teach children and young people about coding. When she is not participating in debates on the digital single market, Maydell is a frequent speaker at events on digital literacy, innovation and the importance of education. She is Parliament’s internal market committee opinion rapporteur on the European cloud initiative. Maydell is Vice-President of the European Movement International (EMI) and chairs its political committee on jobs, competitiveness and sustainable growth.
Miriam Dalli has been an active figure on EU healthcare issues since her election to parliament in 2014, calling for and promoting the need for enhanced EU efforts in tackling breast cancer and in promoting innovative treatments aimed at targeting childhood cancer. Dalli - both at EU level and back in her home country Malta - has also played a major role in highlighting autism, focusing on the need to ensure access to education for children with the condition both. She has also championed issues surrounding mental health and social wellbeing, in particular on the impact of bullying and cyber bullying on adolescents. She chairs the Parliament's Mental Health Coalition and is an ambassador for Maltese mental health group, the Richmond Foundation.
Iskra Mihaylova has made a noticeable impact on EU regional politics since becoming an MEP in 2014. A former Bulgarian deputy minister for regional development and public works, Mihaylova currently chairs parliament’s regional development committee. A strong advocate of developing the urban dimension of cohesion policy she also promotes the simplification of EU cohesion policy. She has championed the benefits and potential of European territorial cooperation and championed the importance of Europe’s outermost regions. She was rapporteur and shadow rapporteur on a number of key reports and opinions, including an own initiative report on best practice and future shaping of the EU’s Interreg programmes and regularly contributes to other reports, opinions by posting amendments.
Vice-chair of the EPP Group, Marian-Jean Marinescu is a leading Parliamentary advocate of targeted investment in research and has worked continuously to ensure that Europe remains at the cutting edge of global innovation. Marinescu has sought to make access to financing easier through simplified rules with regards to 'Horizon 2020', and recently supported the adoption of a new research programme for the Research Fund for Coal and Steel. Marinescu is a graduate of aerospace engineering from the Bucharest Polytechnic Institute and has years of professional experience in this field. He is a Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Romania, and is married with three children.
Istvan Ujhelyi has built a strong and well-deserved reputation for promoting tourism and transport at the European level, and is one of Parliament’s most vocal supporters for further integrating tourism into EU transport policies. Vice chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, Ujhelyi has consistently been a strong advocate of the Tourism Manifesto for Growth and Jobs, a unique initiative that brings together the most important stakeholders in the industry. A key factor in Ujhelyi’s success has been his ability to position himself as a bridge between the tourism industry, transport infrastructure providers and the European institutions. Ujhelyi was MP in the National Assembly of Hungary between 2002 and 2014.
Barbara Matera has been an MEP since 2009 and is currently the Vice-Chair of Parliament’s women’s rights and gender equality committee. A former television presenter and actress, Matera had to fight off negative perceptions about her political career, saying she hoped to challenge the “prejudicial dichotomy about women of intellect versus beauty.” She was Parliament’s rapporteur on external factors that represent hurdles to European female entrepreneurship and now mainly works on ensuring the safety and wellbeing of women and children refugees entering Europe. She is Parliament’s EPP group shadow rapporteur on the issue. Matera has signed her name to a number of written declarations on women’s rights, including the prevention of commercial sexism against women, promoting inclusive education systems and establishing a European year of combatting violence against women.