Political analysis: 5 things to remember about the 2024 European election results

Politico published an analysis of the most important results from Sunday’s European Parliament elections, in which 185 million citizens from 27 EU countries voted.

European ParliamentPhoto: SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP / Profimedia

The European People’s Party (EPP) can claim victory in Sunday’s European Parliament elections, despite extremist groups getting the better of them. A political analysis shows.

The centre-right EU Party is on track to win around 184 MEPs, practically a quarter of the European Parliament’s 720 members, according to provisional data.

The EPP was the only centrist party to improve its performance in this election, while the Socialists and Democrats, S&D, (centre-left) remained at the same level as in 2019 and the Renewed Europe group was wiped out.

The European People’s Party can thus shift the EU agenda to the right. “We are an industrial, pro-rural party, the party of farmers in Europe,” EPP group leader Manfred Weber recently told Politico.

From its current position, the EPP could once again negotiate a grand coalition with the Socialists and Liberals in the European Parliament.

The far right has actually won a lot

According to the latest opinion polls, far-right parties have won big. In France, the National Assembly is elected by one-third of the electorate.

In Italy the Brothers of Italy party led by Giorgia Meloni got 28.8 votes. The two far-right groups in the European Parliament, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the Identity and Democracy (ID) group, together have 131 members.

That’s not counting the 15 representatives of the Alternative for Germany, 10 from Fidesz in Hungary, six from the “Union” party in Poland and three from the pro-Kremlin party “Revival” in Bulgaria.

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In Italy, Meloni’s victory undermined the League formation of Matteo Salvini, who was at the same time head of the Committee of Identity and Democracy. The League lost two-thirds of its mandates in the European Parliament on Sunday. A similar thing happened in Spain, where the Vox party was undermined by a new far-right party led by internet influencer Alves Pérez.

The new committee will include three members of parliament in Brussels. These mandates could have gone to Vox, represented in the EP by 6 members.

If the far-right forms a group, it will become the second most important political force in the European Parliament after the EPP. However, this scenario is not possible because of the great rivalries and differences of opinion among extremist groups. But there will be pressure from them in the next Parliament.

The greens were lost

After five years of supporting the “Green Deal”, many voters have now turned against the Green Parties, the environmentalists. Heavy defeats occurred in France and Germany, which lost more than half of the EP’s members.

For the next mandate, the Greens will drop from 4th to 6th and have ten fewer MEPs. This is despite their marginal improvement in voting preferences in the Netherlands and Denmark.

Update Failed to update

Renew Europe, the third-placed centrist coalition that has dominated parliament for the past five years, suffered a heavy blow in Sunday’s election.

In France, Macron’s party has imploded in the face of the far right, while in Spain, Ciudadanos has completely disappeared. The party’s seven seats in the EP were absorbed by the center-right People’s Party. Low percentages were also recorded in parties in Romania, Denmark and Estonia, which were part of the renewal.

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After holding 14% of the seats in the EP for the past five years, which allowed it to remain among the big players, this time the renewal will have much less influence (it will be about 22 places lower).

Van der Leyen has a good chance of a new position

Sunday’s decisions give the president of the European Commission the right to hope for a new mandate. In 2019, Ursula von der Leyen was elected with the votes of the EPP, S&D and Renew Europe. The same coalition could theoretically give him another majority.

However, things are not so certain. Last time he asked for coalition support, he could theoretically count on the support of 440 MPs from the three centrist groups, but he got only 383 votes. This time, the three groups account for just over 400 of his 720 MEPs, but not all of them will surely vote for him. Some parties have also declared no support.

What are the implications of these election results for national leaders?

As has happened on other occasions, European citizens voted in the European Parliament to send a message to their national governments.

In France, a landslide victory for the National Assembly prompted Emmanuel Macron to dissolve parliament and hold early elections.

The negative results of the ruling parties were also felt as strong blows by the leaders of Germany and Hungary.

In Denmark, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s Social Democrats retained their seats in the EP in what was also interpreted as a referendum on the government’s handling of immigration.

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In Spain, an attempt by conservatives to use a European Parliament vote to topple the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez failed.

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