Saturday, June 22, 2024

5 things to know about the EU election results

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From its position of power, the EPP is best placed to set EU policy, tilting the agenda to the right. “We are the party of industry, we are the party of rural areas, we are the farmers’ party of Europe,” Manfred Weber, the leader of the EPP Group in the Parliament, recently told POLITICO.

While the EPP could once again join a grand coalition with the socialists and liberals, it could also negotiate a working relationship on some issues with parties further to the right — if it can do so without alienating its centrist allies.

Far-right wins big

As polls predicted, far-right forces made major gains across the bloc. In France, the National Rally raked in nearly a third of the votes, consolidating itself as the leading ultra nationalist group in the next Parliament. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy similarly soared, with more than a quarter of voters backing the group.

The two groups in the European Parliament on the furthest right of the spectrum, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the Identity and Democracy (ID) group, will control 131 seats in the chamber. That’s not counting the Alternative for Germany’s 15 lawmakers, the 10 representatives of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party, the six belonging to Poland’s Confederation party, or the three members of Bulgaria’s pro-Kremlin Revival party.

Meloni’s advance in Italy undercut the League; once the leading party within the Identity and Democracy group, it lost two-thirds of its seats on Sunday. In Spain, the Vox party was similarly undermined by The Party is Over, a new party led by far-right internet personality Alvise Pérez. That new group secured three seats that could have gone to Vox, which doubled its representation and will have six lawmakers in Brussels during the next term.

If the far right were to form a single group it would be the second largest force in Parliament, behind the traditionally dominant European People’s Party. The rivalries and disagreements within its ranks make that scenario unlikely, but its sheer size will nonetheless put rightward pressure on EU policy.

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