The preparation of the upcoming European elections are on full speed since the start of 2024. With less than six months to go, European political parties started making their arrangements.
The European People's Party (EPP), representing the center-right, aims to attract far-right voters by focusing on the need to cut EU bureaucracy. A leaked EPP draft manifesto focuses, among others, on migration management, giving priority to externalising asylum centres and strengthening borders. According to a poll by Europe Elects, the EPP is expected to remain the largest political force in the Parliament, securing 23.5% of votes and 179 seats. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is EPP’s likely lead candidate.
The Party of European Socialists (PES) chose this week EU Commissioner for Employment Nicolas Schmit as its lead candidate. The socialists are projected to secure 18.3% of the seats, remaining the second-largest group in the European Parliament while still losing 12 seats compared to 2019.
Liberal parties, including Macron's Renaissance, will run a joint campaign as Renew Europe. However, internal conflicts among liberals may impact the presidency of Renew. Decisions regarding who will take the lead is still pending but the names of the Dutch Malik Azmani, the French Valérie Hayer or Marie-Pierre Vedrenne have been mentioned. Regarding the weight of Renew within the European Parliament, projections suggest the liberals will face losses, securing the fifth position in popular votes at 10.3% and the fourth position in seats with 84.
On the other hand, the far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) party is projected to become the third-largest force with 12.5% of the popular vote and 93 seats, a significant increase from 2019 with 20 additional seats. However, their strategy remains unknown and they did not yet appoint a lead candidate.
The Eurosceptic Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) is expected to be the fourth force in popular votes with 10.9% and the fifth in seats with 81. ECR may soon hold an electoral congress, mostly marked by national narratives. ECR is still to appoint its lead candidate.
The Greens are projected to receive 6.8% of the popular vote and 49 seats, making them the sixth force in the European Parliament. However, they would thus lose 25 seats compared the 2019 elections. The European Green Party is conducting a transparent lead candidate race, with Terry Reintke as the frontrunner.
Finally, the Left is projected to receive 5.9% of votes and 36 seats – losing four seats compared to 2019. The party co-president, Martin Schirdewan is put forward as a possible option for being the lead candidate.
Source: Europe Elects
Renew is therefore expected to be the biggest loser in the rise of far-right parties, while S&D but especially EPP are not losing as many seats. European polls need to be looked with some reservations as they try to assess opinions in 27 members states.
Following the European elections, a new European Commission will also have to be appointed. This may lead to interesting developments since several national governments have recently shifted towards the far-right side spectrum (i.e. Italy, Netherlands) and more elections are scheduled for example in Austria, Belgium or Portugal. We might thus expect to see a higher number of Commissioners representing ECR and ID. Out of the 27 European Commissioners, 10 of them have a EPP background, among whom the President. 8 have an S&D background. 6 have a liberal background. The 2 remainings, Poland & Hungary, have an ECR and non-attached background.