Understanding the Impact of European Elections: A Comprehensive Guide

A few days ago, we unveiled a tool providing a comprehensive overview of polls for upcoming European elections. This tool (above) allows you to grasp the European-level ramifications of cumulative national results, a crucial factor in establishing a pan-European majority. We will learn below how to use it and to understand why more than ever every vote, every citizen, will matter in 2024 more than ever. Let’s dive into European politics!

Historical Shift in European Elections

Since the first European elections in 1979, for four decades, a grand coalition between the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialist Group (S&D) dominated European politics. Analyzing opinion polls during this period often yielded predictable results, as the same majority consistently emerged.

However, since 2019, a paradigm shift has occurred. The EPP and S&D alone are no longer sufficient to form a majority. They now need the support from other political groups. Initially, a (limited) majority rallied behind President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission. The Greens opted for issue-by-issue negotiations rather than joining a majority coalition. Ultimately, a majority coalesced around the EPP, the Socialists, and the Renew Europe group, representing centrists.

Changing Dynamics

As we delve deeper into the functioning of this majority throughout the mandate, which could be a subject for separate analysis, it’s clear from upcoming polls that a further weakening of the big political groups, especially the current majority players might take place, even if it is far too early to predict any results : we do not have a crystal ball !

At this stage, what is useful is to have the keys to understand the trends and the importance of those elections based of the understanding of European politics. This evolving landscape emphasizes that the European Union is becoming increasingly political and democratic. Each individual vote in 2024 will carry even greater weight, as the dominant main groups face heightened challenges in imposing their views.

Understanding the Complexity

The objective here is to gain a comprehensive understanding to utilize our interactive infographic above, and acquaint yourself with the political intricacies of each member state. This is crucial given the diverse and robust political national or regional forces represented in the European Parliament, numbering over 200, aggregated in a few political groups.

Analyzing Alternative Majorities

On the left, there is evidently no alternative majority. Even if we combine Renew Europe, Socialists, Greens, and far-left groups, we fall short of the 352-vote needed. This remains even if we add to this calculation the 15 votes from the unaffiliated Italian Five Stars, who engage in negotiations with the Greens and the center.

More complexities on the Right

The situation on the right is more intricate. While a potential alternative majority could emerge if Renew Europe were to shift rightward and form an alliance with the EPP, ECR, and ID groups. But this scenario is more than science-fiction. Renew Europe and parts of the EPP would not accept such a move.

However, it’s important to note that for some vote, it is not excluded that part of Renew goes right — this already happened during the current mandate — and, above all, when considering non-attached members, a substantial number lean towards the right or far-right, accounting for approximately two-thirds of this independant group. If we incorporate the non-attached, excluding the Italian 5 Stars, a majority does indeed materialize, including with the Hungarian Fidesz of Victor Orban. Nevertheless, it’s more of a “blocking majority” due to the weight of non-attached members, rather than a fully functional majority.

So it’s clear that on paper, we’re a long way from an alternative majority. But as is often the case in Brussels, things are more complex, and it’s not obvious nine months beforehand what the room for manoeuvre and negotiations will be for each of the political groups. In any case, this leads to a simple and obvious conclusion: in 2024, every vote counts!

Please comment, like if you like this content, and tell us what you think about the European elections. If you have requests or questions related to European elections, leave us a comment and we will take this into account for future articles.

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