European Elections: Crucial Vote with Uncertain Outcome

elections

Around 400 million Europeans are set to vote in what could be one of the most crucial European Parliament elections in recent years. Voting begins tomorrow in the Netherlands, with most EU member states casting their ballots on Sunday, June 9.

The post-election landscape is already the subject of speculation and potential alliances, though the exact outcome remains unpredictable.

Opinion polls indicate the European People's Party (EPP) is poised to finish first, with the Socialists in second place. There is significant concern about the rising influence of the far right and the potential alliances they might form. According to a European source, the new European Parliament is expected to be "more diverse and more complex."

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is emerging as a key figure, with interest from French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Orbán left the EPP in 2021 and has yet to join another political group, while Meloni belongs to the Eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). Analysts suggest that Meloni’s electoral performance will be a crucial factor before any concrete scenarios can be proposed.

Once the election results are in, negotiations will begin in earnest for key positions within the European institutions. Newly elected MEPs are scheduled to be sworn in during the week of July 15-18 in Strasbourg. Roberta Metsola (EPP) is a likely candidate to resume her role as President of the European Parliament for the first half of the term. Metsola is also speculated to return to Malta for parliamentary elections, potentially setting her up for a higher position within the European Commission or Council in the future.

Current European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, also an EPP candidate, is favoured to retain her position, though her path is challenging. Fourteen of the 27 Council leaders currently support a second term for her, compared to just six in 2019. Should the European Council endorse von der Leyen, she would need the backing of 361 out of 720 MEPs to continue her tenure.

Von der Leyen’s potential collaboration with Meloni has raised concerns. She has emphasised the importance of working with leaders who are "pro-EU, pro-Ukraine, anti-Putin, and pro-rule of law." If von der Leyen fails to secure the position, the EPP, if leading the polls, is unlikely to cede the Commission presidency to another political group.

If the Socialists maintain their second-place standing, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa is a likely candidate for the Council presidency, though Denmark’s Mette Frederiksen is also in contention.

Discussions and decisions are expected to intensify during the G7 Summit (June 13-15) in Italy, the Ukraine Peace Summit (June 15-16) in Switzerland, and the informal Council of EU leaders on June 17 in Brussels. The official announcement of the Presidents of the Commission and Council is expected at the EU Summit on June 27-28. The Commission President-designate's hearing in the European Parliament is anticipated to take place in July, following the swearing-in of MEPs, to signal stability and continuity in the EU. Alternatively, it could occur in September, which is seen as less ideal.

Meanwhile, discussions on the strategic agenda and priorities for the next five years have already begun in Brussels and the capitals of EU member states.

(Source: Amna)

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