Last Sunday, the European elections initiated the renewal of the EU institutions. With new Members of the European Parliament now elected by citizens, the process which will lead up to the composition of the new European Commission has been initiated.
The primary and most-welcome outcome of this election is the increased participation, reaching 50,5%, the highest in the last 20 years. Building up on the campaign This Time I’m Voting, which CEEP supported the emergence of issues articulated at European level such as the climate and the migration crises and the Spitzenkandidaten approach, the 2019 EU election achieved to capture the interest of voters who got involved in the process. It will now be up to the elected MEPs to deliver: increased participation will call for increased expectations.
Taking stock of the results, the European Parliament’s group leaders have already engaged in discussions to build a coalition and propose a single candidate for the post of President of the European Commission. The European Council, gathering heads of state and of the government of the 28 Member States, has started a similar process on its side. As the President of the European Commission needs to be approved by both institutions (European Parliament and European Council), an agreement will be needed.
These elections were an important test for the European project and delivered some important changes to the EU political landscape. Building up on the social movement for climate action, the group of the Greens-European Free Alliance emerged as the biggest winners, with 69 seats won (+17 compared with 2014). In coalition with the French Renaissance (La République en Marche), the Alliance of Democrats and Liberals for Europe (ALDE) has also achieved strong results across Europe, increasing their delegation by 41 seats (including the 23 French MEPs joining the group). Those two groups will play a central role in the negotiations with both the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), which remain the two biggest groups. The center-right EPP has won 180 seats, while the center-left S&D won 146 seats.
The European Council met informally on Tuesday to take stock of the results and hold a first exchange on both the priorities for the next 5 years – to be translated into the EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 – and the future of the European Commission. A lengthy negotiation process lies ahead, with some officials calling for “democratic patience in the coming weeks”.
Going beyond this special newsletter, and continuing the work started months ago with our members, CEEP will raise its profile to ensure that the voice of providers of public services and SGIs is heard and our messages integrated in EU legislation.