The result of the European elections 2019 are finally out, and what we can say is that most of them were unexpected. #EuraffexSpotlight propose you a first debrief after these days of voting.
DAY AFTER THE ELECTIONS
It is the day after the elections, the glitter has gone, and the election posters will be taken down – but what really changed?
As expected the populist made gains in parts of Europe – but they also suffered setbacks. The main reason behind their swelling numbers is the success of Italy’s Lega party. New parties have also joined, and in some cases have entered the European Parliament for the first time.
While the populists have surged, their rise is not nearly as large as what some expected. What is highly likely is that they will not be able to turn their extra seats into much real influence in Parliament. They are internally divided and most of the other groups will not work with them, leaving them isolated and potentially pushing other political groups to cooperate more among themselves.
Perhaps, the most visible post-election change to the European Parliament will be the new Chairs and Vice-Chairs of Parliament’s committees: There will be more Liberals and Greens than ever before. At the same time the EPP and S&D will lose leadership over committees that they have long regarded as theirs.
What about Spitzenkandidat?
While Sunday saw some talks of whom will be the next Commission President, it was fairly limited. Focus was on the results in the individual countries and on what it might mean for the composition of the European Parliament.
On the attention awarded to the Spitzenkandidaten process and who will preside over the next Commission, a significant part was dedicated to why it will not be EPP’s Manfred Weber who will take over. Even for those whom rose to his defence, their performances were rather limited and weak. This could signal the end of the Spitzenkandidaten idea.
The grand coalition is dead – long live the grand coalition
Lastly, there is the question of what will happen with Parliament’s Grand Coalition. Until yesterday, Parliament was always dominated by the Conservatives (EPP) and Socialists (S&D). Holding anywhere between 54 percent and 66 percent of Parliamentary seats between them. Nothing moved without the two traditional groups.
This has changed. The Grand Coalition now holds less than 44 percent of seats. This means that one or two new political groups will need to be included to move things forward. The Liberals and Greens both have their eyes set on increasing their influence and on being king or queen makers.
The Grand Coalition could very much remain alive. This is because unless every other faction in Parliament unites, nothing will move if the Grand Coalition opposes it.
In addition to this, the Liberals, and to a large extent the Greens, have for years been an integral part of policymaking at committee level. They will now get a stronger say in negotiations, they will ask for a higher price for cooperation than they ever have before – but being part of the mix is nothing new.
So the Grand Coalition is dead – long live the Grand Coalition!