Gender Equality Consultation Open Until End Of May(1)

European Elections update: How the results translate into power dynamics in the new Parliament

The European Elections are over and the results have everyone talking.

While some countries are still counting officially, major conclusions can already be drawn from the provisional results. A huge surge for the Greens was the headline across Europe. They were expected to perform well, but jumping from the 6th to the 4th place in the Parliament was still unexpected. They saw the biggest support in Germany from where 21 MEPs will join the 9th European Parliament legislative period. But also in other countries the Greens did surprisingly well (e.g. France, UK, Ireland, Finland Luxembourg) which shows the European citizen’s choice for a sustainable and social Europe. The Green Wave was mainly seen in North and West Europe and could not gain a single seat in South and East Europe.

Instead, Eurosceptic parties took the lead in most of the countries in the East and South, with Hungary electing 13 out of the countries’ 21 spots from Victor Orban’s right-wing Fidesz party. The majority of seats also went to right-wing and Eurosceptic parties in Italy (Lega Nord 34%), France (RN 23%), Belgium (N-VA 13% & Vl.Belang 11%), Poland (PiS 45%) and the United Kingdom (Brexit Party 31%). We regret to see an increase of illiberal parties as all types of families need an environment without discrimination and division. However, in the larger perspective inside the European Parliament, those parties are still a minority and pro-European political sentiments and groups still prevail with a majority of up to 540 seats out of 751.

How those 751 seats will be divided into political groups is now the crucial question. Will there be new European political groups formed? Who will realign their affiliation? New power dynamics will certainly appear as the conservative EPP and socialist S&D groups have lost their joint majority for the first time ever in the Parliament, searching now for support amongst other groups. Elected candidates are already travelling to Brussels to start the talks. The last legislative period counted eight political groups plus non-attached members. A political group needs members of at least seven different countries and minimum 25 MEPS. Political groups enjoy certain advantages such as more influence, speaking time and certain financial subsidies. Therefore, who aligns with whom and the size of a party is very important when you want to talk about power dynamics.

Especially the liberal parties entering the Parliament are worth keeping an eye on. Before the elections, Emmanuel Macron’s party La Republique En marche! (which won 21 seats) has not yet officially declared its support to the already established liberal group ALDE but instead prefers its own. Will the liberal parties at the end find common ground? How many S&D members will leave their group and join the Liberals? There is also still a big question mark when it comes to the right spectrum of the Parliament. Leading up to the elections, Eurosceptic parties from all over Europe met to campaign together and present a strong collective message. Will they overcome their current fragmentation? The upcoming weeks will tell how the new dynamics will look like.

These developments are a crucial factor for electing the next Commission President, arguably the most powerful position in the EU. There are four names referred to right now – Manfred Weber (EPP), Frans Timmermanns (S&D), Margrethe Vestager (ALDE) and Michel Barnier (EPP). Based on the election results, the lead candidates will now try to form a majority in Parliament to support their bid. Meanwhile EU heads of state and government have met for a summit in Brussels on Tuesday 28 May to discuss the elections results and start the nomination process for Commission president, as well as the heads of other EU institutions. The Council aims to nominate the new leaders by June.

Will the European Parliament see a major changes? Will there be the first ever female European Commission President? The game as already begun and the next weeks will tell who played their cards right and who failed. One thing is clear, the European citizens are, after two decades, again interested in European politics with an unprecedented increase in turnout in the elections and we congratulate voters on their choice of pluralism, non-discrimination and solidarity.

We also want to thank our members for the joint mobilisation for these elections. It was an exciting first time experience. But this is not the end, we will continue to campaign for a Europe for ALL families and keep on holding the representatives accountable for their work. You can do the same by checking their work and asking them to properly represent you! #AllFamiliesSpeakOut