Foreign Policy Research Institute

+38 (044) 287 52 58

Foreign Policy Research Institute

tel. +38 (044) 287 52 58

Victory of the pro-european forces in the elections to the European Parliament

On May 27, the European Parliament published preliminary results of the elections, which were held from May 23 to May 26 in 28 EU countries. The "European people's party (EPP)" receives the most seats — 179. In second place "Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats " — 150 seats. The movement of French President Emmanuel Macron together "Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe" in third place — 107 mandates. "European Green Party" receives 70 seats. Consequently, the center-right and center-left blocs in the European Parliament lost a joint majority due to the growth of support for liberals, greens and nationalists. However, pro-European parties will still have the majority of seats in the European Parliament. In addition, the European Parliament noted a record turnout in the last 20 years: it was about 51 percent in 27 EU countries without the UK and together with the UK, the overall figure will be from 49 to 52 percent.

In the UK, the party of Brexit supporters led by Nigel Farage has won, known for his skeptical attitude to the European Union. According to exit polls Catalan leader, Carlos Puchedemon received the necessary votes to get into the European Parliament. However, according to “Euronews”, Puigdemont can not take up the duties of a MEP, because he is in voluntary exile and lives in Belgium.The same applies to his colleagues Oriol Jankeras, who is under arrest in Spain. The elections to the European Parliament in France wins far-right party "National Rally" of Marine Le Pen, who is a fan of Russia and recognizes the annexation of Crimea. The ruling party "Law and Justice" is leading in Poland. In Germany, the CDU/CSU bloc of Chancellor Angela Merkel wins the elections to the European Parliament, but with a record low result. It should be noted that Germany has the largest representation in the European Parliament — 96 deputies will be elected from it.[1]

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin considers the results of the elections to the European Parliament favorable for Ukraine. He posted it in the microblog Twitter, reports Ukrainian News. "I take the phone and begin to congratulate many friends who were given a credibility yesterday by voters. Along the way, I give them the tasks to support Ukraine. Our friends certainly prevail in the new composition of the European Parliament. The key to our common success is friendship and European values," he wrote.

Former President Petro Poroshenko also positively assessed the results of the elections to the European Parliament in his post in the social network Facebook."I am optimistic about the results of the elections to the European Parliament. Pessimistic predictions about the success of populists, right-wing and eurosceptics have not been fulfilled. EU citizens have clearly confirmed their commitment and support for integration processes on the European continent," he wrote. Poroshenko congratulated the EPP on the first place in the elections and expressed the hope that the European Parliament, as well as the European Council and the European Commission, will actively support the European progress of Ukraine.[2]

Europe was able to positively surprise again. The elections ended more positively than expected, although not without alarming signals. In recent years, the European political party lived with fears that the new convocation of the Parliament may form a "dictate of eurosceptics." Many thought that Europe is falling apart after the migration crisis, the victory of supporters of Brexit, against the background of the Dutch referendum, the Catalan saga, etc. But life has proven that it is turbulent and emotions are fleeting.

Despite all fears the European Parliament will remain pro-European and pro-Ukrainian for the next five years. The centre-right EPP, with 178 mandates, remains the main and most numerous group. This is the party group, which includes Merkel and Tusk, friends of Ukraine, the main drivers of modern Europe and support of Ukraine. In second place center-left, Social Democrats, 148 mandates. Not the most pro-Ukrainian group, but certainly not "friends of Russia". And there is no doubt in their pro-European moods. The third place was taken by the liberals, to which the newcomer, the block of Macron plans to join. These four "euro-optimistic" faction, together receive more than 500 votes – more than enough for a stable majority. And these are the party groups that traditionally support Ukraine, each time confirm the European prospects of our state and without alternative condemn the aggression of the Russian Federation.

Does that mean that the European Parliament remained unchanged and the Europeans have nothing to worry about? No, there is a problem. For 40 years of the work of the European Parliament there has always been a stable majority, consisting of two party groups – the center-right of the EPP and the center-left of the group of Social Democrats. In the new convocation, they remain the two largest groups. Both received more than they predicted, but that's less than the 376 needed for most. Therefore, EPP and the Social Democrats for all critical votes have to agree with someone else. And we already know about what they will have to negotiate in the first place. In autumn, the European Parliament should appoint a new President of the European Commission, that is, the successor of Juncker, and actually approve its composition. So far, the votes of two leading groups have been enough. Now the "get-together for two" becomes impossible. The support from at least one other group is needed. The liberals is desirable because they have voices with a stock. But liberals have already said that they do not like this order and they have their candidates. Now a lot of European media provide quite sad forecasts and they expect that the formation of a new Commission may be delayed until next year.

But the "European truth" tends to be more optimistic. Thus, "apocalyptic delay" is possible, but most likely it will be possible to agree pretty quickly. After all, the European Parliament had already developed a culture of compromise – the majority never tried to "push" their draft decisions, but instead always looked for a compromise. No one needs the non-working semi-legitimate European Commission. Therefore, either the EPP candidate, the German Manfred Weber the green and part of the radicals will agree to support, or groups leaders will go to staffing concessions to the liberals. And given the fact that the liberals are mainly very supportive of Ukraine (even the French from the Macron party as a whole), this option for us is not the worst. And the current composition of the European Parliament, which is much better for hope, in any case will work for another five years.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the current elections was the high activity of Europeans. Eurooptimists are traditionally assigned to national popularity. People do not understand how it will affect their lives when they choose someone in Brussels. The consequence is a low turnout. But the 2019 elections broke that rule. The average turnout for all 28 countries this year exceeded 50% and set a record for 20 years. People believed that their voice in the EU is important. In a situation where the Union is at a crossroads, this is definitely true. Consequently, the current European Parliament will have greater public legitimacy for all the previous ones. And this is likely to be a window for serious EU reform.[3]

Thus, the elections to the European Parliament were quite successful, and the pro-European forces that are committed to Ukraine won. Now, it is expected that the renewed European Parliament will have new achievements in its policy and make efforts to overcome pressing problems.