Brussels has seen many new faces arriving at its doors in the last month. New and re-elected Members of European Parliament (MEPs) have started streaming in to occupy their offices, select their assistants and get to know their fellow group members. COFACE Families Europe already met some of the new MEPs of the next European Parliament at the Right to Energy Forum where Cornelia Ernst (DE, GUE/NGL), Theresa Griffin (UK, S&D) and Saskia Bricmont (BE, Greens) were present and discussed what can be done against Energy Poverty in the next 5 years.
Who is new?
The 9th European Parliament sees many new and especially young faces. The youngest MEP is Denmark’s Kira Marie Peter-Hansen who is 21 years old. She is not only the youngest in this Parliament but the youngest politician to be elected in the European Parliament’s history. Other youngsters (under 30) in the European Parliament will be: Jordan Bardella (23, FR), Markéta Gregorová (26, HR), Niklas Nienaß (26, DE), and more.
Also women account for more than in previous years. The ratio of females went up from 36% to 39%. Although this has been better than ever before, men still account for up to 60%. Only six out of the 28 member states sent a group of MEPs which is gender-balanced: Sweden (55%), Finland (54%), France (50%), Slovenia (50%), Luxembourg (50%) and the UK (47%). Cyprus was the only country which did not elect any female MEP.
The new European Parliament seems to be a bit more diverse as well. With up to 30 members compared to just a handful previously, the EP better reflects the ethnic diversity of Europe. The EP now has the highest number of foreign-origin and Afro-European MEPs ever seen. They belong to different political groups and can be found from left to right. There is Maxette Grisoni-Pirbakas (FR, ID) from Guadalupe, Younous Omarjee (FR, GUE/NGL) from La Reunion, Monica Semedo (LU, RE) from Cape Verde, Assita Kanko (BE, ECR) who grew up in Burkina Faso, Malik Azmani (NL, RE), Alice Bah Kuhnke (SE,Greens) or first Swedish MEP of South Korean origin Jessica Polfjärd (SE, EPP) and others.
The rise of new faces also comes from the fact that many new parties have been elected into the Parliament, for example La République en Marche or the Brexit party, as well as the success of others, such as Spain’s socialist party or Italy’s Lega.
With so many new parties there is bound to be changes within European political groups as well. We can already see some of those changes.
- The liberal group ALDE, to which La République en Marche is affiliated, has renamed itself Renew Europe and has announced that former Romanian prime minister and ex-EU agriculture commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, will be the group’s leader.
- The right-wing group ENF, whose biggest party is Italy’s Lega, has renamed itself Identity and Democracy and has appointed Marco Zanni (IT) has their leader.
- The socialist group S&D has chosen the Spanish MEP Iratxe Garcia as their new group leader after Germany’s Udo Bullmann withdrew.
- The conservative group ECR has appointed its new co-chairs Ryszard Legutko (PL) and Raffaele Fitto (IT) and has nominated Jan Zahradil (CZ) as their candidate for the President of the European Parliament.
- Manfred Weber (DE) was re-elected as the leader of the EPP group. He is also the group’s Spitzenkandidat and claims the position of European Commission President.
- The Greens/EFA group has re-elected its co-chair Ska Keller (DE) and Philippe Lamberts (BE).
The term officially commences on 2-3 July with the first plenary in Strasbourg.
For a more detailed look at the result, visit the website of the European Parliament: https://election-results.eu/
To watch the first plenary of the new Parliament, watch the stream on 2 July: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/ebs/both/20190702
For more information, contact Isabell Wutz: firstname.lastname@example.org