Who sits in the European Parliament? Educational background


Who sits in the European Parliament? Educational background

With 751 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) from 28 countries, the European Parliament hosts a diverse group of lawmakers. But how diverse is this group exactly? How are they divided by age, gender and their educational and occupational background?

During the On Our Watch hackathon (October 2017), we looked at precisely this question. We collected data from the CV’s of MEPs and on the basis of this, we visualise the composition of the European Parliament. You will find the results for educational background, highest degree and study subjects below!

But, there is one important ‘disclaimer’: many of the MEPs have not shared their CV online at all! Search for your MEP here to see his or her full CV (or lack thereof). And for a visual overview of their studies, highest degree and more, scroll down!

Read more about their occupational background and the age and gender division.

 

What is the highest degree of MEPs?

Looking at these graph, the first conclusion concerns the availability of CVs of Members of European Parliament on the Parliament website. Almost half of MEPs have not made their CV available since the change of the format. For some countries, this number is particularly high: United Kingdom, Sweden, Greece, Latvia, Slovenia and Ireland. Luxembourg and Malta (both with a small number of MEPs) as well as Germany have most MEPs that published information on their educational background at the Parliament website.

Of the MEPs that have submitted their educational CVs, the majority concluded post-secondary education, a substantial part concluded a PhD, and a smaller group of MEPs have completed secondary education as their highest degree. There are some variations per national delegation and per political group, but these are difficult to interpret due to the lack of CVs.

Study subjects of MEPs – per country

The CVs of MEPs on the website show a great variety of study subjects. During the On Our Watch hackathon, a team of participants has manually categorised these different subjects under larger categories: agriculture, economics, education, engineering, humanities, law, natural sciences, politics, social sciences and ‘other’. Some MEPs have multiple study subjects and are thus counted twice. The two graphs show the division including and excluding those that did not report their CVs.

There are interesting divisions per country. To highlight just a few:

– A large share of Hungarian and Maltese MEPs have a background in law
– Almost half of Estonian MEPs have a background in humanities
– The bigger national delegations (i.e. France, Germany, Italy, Poland) include most of the different study subjects and thus bring a diverse group of MEPs in terms of educational background

Study subjects of MEPs – per committee

The two graphs show the division including and excluding those that did not report their CVs. Based on the overlap between committee topic and educational background, it is not surprising (but perhaps reassuring) that:

– The agriculture and rural development committee has the largest share of MEPs with an educational background in agriculture
– The legal affairs committee has the by far biggest share of MEPs trained in law
– The economic and monetary affairs committee has the largest share of MEPs that studied economics
– Most of the engineers can be found in the industry, research and energy committee

Study subjects of MEPs – per political group

The two graphs show the division including and excluding those that did not report their CVs. Perhaps remarkable is that in the data that we have:

– The EFDD (Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy) group has most MEPs with a background in agriculture
– The ENF (Europe of Nations and Freedom) group does not have any MEPs with a background in humanities (or engineering)
– The Greens/EFA group includes most MEPs with a background in education – whereas the eurosceptic ENF, EFDD and group of non-inscrit MEPs have none