The European elections are now behind us, but many questions have yet to be answered. The next few days should cast more light on who will be the next Commission president and which political groups will find common ground to shape the agenda of the new Parliament. Here is a brief look at what comes next.
New Commission president
The Conference of Presidents, which consists of the leaders of parliamentary groups and the EP president, meets early on Tuesday 27 May, to discuss what the results of the European elections mean for the political landscape in Europe and Parliament itself, as well as how they will influence the election of the president of the European Commission.
For the first time ever, European political parties presented official candidates for the top post of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body in charge of formulating and enforcing the EU policies that have to be approved by the Parliament and the national governments. On election night, most of these candidates said that the new Commission president should be one of them.
The official nomination should come over the coming weeks from the European Council, where the EU heads of state or government meet. The first step for them is the informal dinner they have in Brussels on Tuesday evening to discuss the issue. The Lisbon Treaty states that in their choice of candidate, they should take into account the results of the elections.
The nominated candidate will then try to rally support from political groups in Parliament, which is expected to vote on whether to approve or not the Council candidate during the 14-17 July plenary session. For the nominee to get the EP’s approval, over half of all MEPs, meaning at least 376, should vote in his or her favour.
New political groups
Another issue to watch for is whether new groups emerge in the Parliament following the elections. Under the EP’s rules of procedure, at least 25 MEPs from a quarter of all EU countries (i.e. seven) are needed to form a new group. The official political groups in EP should be established before the first plenary session starting on 1 July.
During the first plenary session in July, MEPs will choose a new president and the vice-presidents of the Parliament.
- The President of the European Parliament1 PresidentA renewable term of
two and a half years
- Election Procedure:The candidate who obtains an absolute majority of the votes cast in a secret ballot is elected president. If an absolute majority cannot be obtained after three ballots, the fourth ballot will be confined to the two members who obtained the highest number of votes in the third ballot.
- Duties :The President directs Parliament’s activities, chairs plenary sittings and declares the budget finally adopted. The President represents Parliament in the outside world and in its relations with the other EU institutions.Vice presidents14 Vice PresidentsThey are 14 and shall be elected on a single ballot paper.Duties :When the president is absent, they can replace him or her in the EP. The president can also delegate duties to them, such as representing the Parliament at specific ceremonies or acts.
- The political groups
The members of the European Parliament sit in political groups. These are organised by political affiliation and not by nationality.
Each group possesses a chair (or two co-chairs in the case of some groups), a bureau and a secretariat.A group needs:
- a minimum of 25 MEPs
- To represent at least one fourth of member states.
Non-attached Members: Members do not belong to any political group.The conference of presidentPresident of Parliament + the chairs of the political groupsIt sets the agenda of the EP. It’s the the authority responsible for the composition and competence of committees, committees of inquiry and joint parliamentary committees and the delegations.
- The Bureau
- 1 President
- 14 Vice Presidents
- elected on a singla ballot paper
- in an advisory capacity.DutiesThe bureau is responsible for taking financial, organisational and administrative decisions on matters concerning MEPs and the Parliament’s internal organisation.
- The Committees
- A committee consists of 24 to 76 MEPs.
- Each committee possesses a chair, a bureau and a secretariat.
- The political make-up of the committees reflects that of the plenary assembly.
They prepare the work of the plenary sessions in their respective areas of competence. They draw up, amend and adopt legislative proposals and own-initiative reports.
They consider Commission and Council proposals and, where necessary, draw up reports to be presented to the plenary assembly.The Conference of Committee Chairs
The chairs of all the committees.
- The Delegations
The delegations are formed by 12 to over 70 MEPs.
In the past legislature there were 41 delegationsDuties
They maintain relations and exchange information with parliaments in non-EU countries. They help to represent the EU externally and to promote its values: liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.
Provisional results published on Monday at 15.50 CET showed EPP winning 213 seats in the new Parliament, ahead of S&D (190 seats), ALDE (64 seats) and the Greens (53 seats). ECR is projected to win 46 seats, GUE/NGL 42 and EFD -38. The number of MEPs coming from parties/lists that were among those non-attached in the outgoing Parliament is 41, while another 64 seats were won by new parties/candidates still not aligned to any of the existing groups.
Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)
|Result: 213 MEPs
Result as percentage: 28.36 %
Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
|Result: 190 MEPs
Result as percentage: 25.30 %
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
|Result: 64 MEPs
Result as percentage: 8.52 %
The Greens/European Free Alliance
|Result: 52 MEPs
Result as percentage: 6.92 %
European Conservatives and Reformists
|Result: 46 MEPs
Result as percentage: 6.13 %
European United Left/Nordic Green Left
|Result: 42 MEPs
Result as percentage: 5.59 %
Non-attached Members – Members not belonging to any political group
|Result: 41 MEPs
Result as percentage: 5.46 %
Europe of freedom and democracy Group
|Result: 38 MEPs
Result as percentage: 5.06 %
Newly elected Members not allied to any of the political groups set up in the outgoing Parliament
|Result: 65 MEPs
Result as percentage: 8.66 %
Every political group must be made up of 25 MEPs from at least 7 Member States.
– Source European Parliament
- European Parliament make-up and the battle for Commission presidency (euronews.com)
The centre-right European People’s Party remains the dominant force in Brussels, while the Socialists have gained a few more seats, and the Liberals remain in third position.
EU heads of state are expected to select their favourite on Tuesday, after which the 751 newly elected MEPs will have their say in a plenary session mid-July.
- Romania opposition leader resigns after European Parliament election (sofiaglobe.com)
The leader of Romania’s largest opposition party in parliament, Crin Antonescu, resigned on May 26, one day after his National-Liberals fell short of its target in the European Parliament elections.
Antonescu was the party’s presumptive presidential nominee in the elections due at the end of 2014, but his sliding approval ratings made him unlikely to pose a stiff challenge to Ponta, who looks increasingly likely to stand as his party’s nominees – especially with the Social-Democrats winning 37.6 per cent on May 25 and taking 17 of Romania’s 32 MEP seats.
- Hungary’s ruling party scores majority in European Parliament vote as far-right eclipses divided left (politics.hu)
Hungary’s governing Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Alliance scored another crushing victory in today’s election for European Parliament. But tonight, the spotlight is on the ultranationalist Jobbik, which finished in second place despite bombshell allegations that one of its MEPs was a spy for Russia, and Hungary’s bruised and fractured left.With a turnout of around 29 percent – a record low – Fidesz and its tiny ally, the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) swept 51.5 percent of the vote, just slightly less than their result in the 2009 election for European Parliament. Jobbik, a party that critics label as anti-Roma and anti-Jewish, scored 14.7 percent, essentially the same as five years ago.
- Turnout in European Parliament Election Hits Record Low (nytimes.com)
After four days of voting in a sprawling election with nearly 400 million eligible voters spread across 28 countries, fringe political groups pugnaciously hostile to the European Union scored dramatic gains in voting for the European Parliament and delivered a blow to the bruised but still dominant mainstream parties.
After more than three decades of falling turnout, however, this year’s election managed, barely, to halt the downward spiral, with a parliamentary official saying preliminary results showed 43.1 percent of eligible voters had cast their ballots — compared with 43 percent in 2009.
“This is a bad day for the European Union when the party with such an openly racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic program gets 25 or 24 percent of the vote in France,” Martin Schulz, the current president of the European Parliament and the Socialist contender to run the E.U.’s main policy-making body, the European Commission, told a news conference early Monday morning. “The reasons behind such a vote for a party like this party in France is not that people are hard-core extremists,” he said. “They are disappointed. They have lost trust and hope,” he said.
- European elections 2014: Now for the aftermath (sofiaglobe.com)
With those who voted in the May 22 to 25 European Parliament elections having had their say, now it is turn of the EU’s politicians to negotiate the political future of the bloc for the next five years.Reactions included the customary varying interpretations about who had won, lost, not really lost and who had made gains – the latter the “political earthquake” of the rise of far-right and euroskeptic parties, in the words of the French prime minister.
Martin Schulz, the socialist candidate to be European Commission President, was unwilling to concede defeat while ALDE candidate Guy Verhofstadt said that his group would be necessary for a stable majority.
- What does the new EU Parliament mean for tech? (pcworld.com)
More than 400 candidates to the Parliament pledged to defend net neutrality and data privacy, signing a 10-point digital rights charter called WePromiseEU. Votes were still being counted Monday, but by late afternoon, 55 candidates for Pariament who had signed WePromiseEU were confirmed as elected.“It’s great to see that so many candidates and citizens consider their digital civil rights worth defending, and were ready to commit to the principles of the charter,” said Joe McNamee, director of digital rights group EDRi. “It is now up to us all to make sure that the elected members of European Parliament (MEPs) stand behind their promise and spread these values among their colleagues,” he continued.
- Euroskeptic Parties Celebrate European Parliament Election Results (huffingtonpost.com)
Trust in political leadership “is going down dramatically,” EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso acknowledged Monday in Sintra, Portugal.British Prime Minister David Cameron, faced with the rise of the Euroskeptic UK Independence Party at home, struck a similar note, saying nothing will be business-as-usual any more.
“People are deeply disillusioned with the European Union,” Cameron said Monday after Nigel Farage’s UKIP came out on top in Britain and was slated to win 24 EU seats, compared to 19 for Cameron’s Conservatives.
- Far-right, eurosceptics gain ground in EU elections (thehindu.com)
“The day where we have more referendums on EU membership and membership of the euro will have come much, much closer with these results tonight,” its leader, Nigel Farage, told journalists in Brussels via videolink.
The race for commission president was a novelty meant to boost voter interest. Conservative contender Jean-Claude Juncker, a former Luxembourg prime minister, said he felt “entitled” to the post since his party will be the largest in the new parliament.
But Juncker will now need to win over a majority in the new legislature and among EU governments.