New study shows Czech MEPs are generally not as active as their colleagues

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Czech members of the European Parliament have a below par performance overall, according to a new study released on Thursday by the Prague-based think-tank European Values. On average, Czech MEPs seem to attend fewer meetings and participate less actively than their colleagues.

European Parliament, photo: Pavel Novák
A few months ago, one European parliamentarian from the Czech Republic was caught red-handed by a foreign reporter as he was slipping out of the parliament building minutes after signing in. Although the story that made international headlines may have seemed like a one-off case, the new analysis carried out by the think-tank European Values shows that Czech MEPs in general are indeed just not as active in their jobs, when compared to colleagues from other countries.

The Prague-based organization looked at various statistics provided by the European Parliament from the past four years, which included the MEPs’ attendance at meetings, the reports they have drafted and the number of times they spoke at the plenary sessions. The head of European Values, Radko Hokovský, told me how the Czech MEPs measured up, based on the analysis of nine different types of parliamentary tasks.

“The average activity of the Czech MEPs is actually lower, even if we compare the activity of Czech MEPs in all these categories or types of activities to countries of similar size, which have the same number of MPs in the European Parliament – meaning 22 members – you can also see that the activity of the Czech MEPs is rather below average. “

Radko Hokovský, photo: archive of the Charles University
The study also compared the activity levels of MEPs from other Central and Eastern European member states, which joined the EU at same time as the Czech Republic or later. In the overall comparison, for example, to Hungary, which has the same number of deputies in the European Parliament, Czech MEPs still ranked a little lower. Though on average, they had slightly better results in attendance.

Radko Hokovský admits that the numbers provided by the study do not fully answer the question of how effective Czech MEPs are at their jobs.

“This doesn’t give us a complete picture, because we only look at the data available on the EU Parliament website. And there are other activities of the MEPs, including their membership in the presidency of the European Parliament, of different committees and delegations and also political groups. And we didn’t look at these.“

Of course, the analysis does take into account that not every single Czech MEP is less active than their colleagues. But it does show that in most of the categories assessed, especially when the deputies’ individual initiative is required, only three to four parliamentarians are making the grade. The leader in most activities, such as proposing resolutions or submitting parliamentary questions, is Zuzana Roithová, one of the candidates in the presidential election this past January.

Zuzana Roithová, photo: Šárka Ševčíková
Although the Europe Values Mr. Hokovský why, in his opinion, most Czech Euro MPs are not motivated to be more active in the affairs of the European Parliament.

“We believe that the Czech political parties are really not interested enough in European affairs and we believe that it also has an effect on the activity of the MEPs, because there is no demand from the Czech political parties on their members in the European Parliament to be more active.”