EPP, the Christian Democratic group of the European People’s Party won the European Parliament elections with 214 seats out of 751 (28.5% of the vote). The Social Democrats (S&D) gained 191 seats (25.43%), the Liberals (ALDE) 64, and the Greens 52. Since no group won a majority, several coalition scenarios are being considered; however, a grand coalition between EPP and S&D is likely, in which case centrists would control 54% of the seats.
European Parliament Election Results
Anti-establishment parties won resounding victories at the national level. UKIP gained 26.7% in the UK ahead of Labour with 24.7% and Tories with 23.3%. France’s Front National won 24.9%, ahead of Sarkozy’s center right UMP (20.8%) and Hollande’s Socialists (13.9%).
The size of a combined Eurosceptic group is presently unknown. Marine LePen (FN, 24 seats) started negotiations with Italy’s Northern League (five seats), Austria’s FPÖ (four seats), Belgium’s VB (one seat), and the Dutch PVV (four seats). So far, Nigel Farrage (UKIP, 24 seats) has refused to join her, working instead with Italy’s Five Star Movement (17 seats) on a separate alliance.
The minimum requirement for a political group in the EU Parliament is 25 MEPs from seven different member states.
Spitzenkandidaten (top candidates)
The drumrolls for the European Commission president are getting louder. The competing top candidates from the political groups in the EU Parliament campaigned for months and met in televised debates. According to the Lisbon Treaty, the European Council nominates the Commission president, while taking the election results “into account.” The nominee must then secure the Parliament confirmation with at least 376 votes. Negotiations between the Council and the Parliament for the Commission president are led by Council President Herman van Rompuy and can last until the end of June.
EPP’s candidate, Jean-Claude Juncker (Luxembourg), is an old school federalist in favor of tighter European integration. After the election results were announced, S&D president Hannes Swoboda said that his group will support Juncker’s candidacy.
Opposition to Juncker’s nomination comes from the British PM, David Cameron, Hungarian PM, Victor Orbán, and Swedish PM, Frederik Reinfeldt. For now, Cameron seems to have won support from German chancellor Angela Merkel who has said, “Although the EPP is the strongest political force and Jean-Claude Juncker is our top candidate, none of the parties has a majority of its own … So we do have to look at a somewhat broader tableau of suitable persons.”
Jean-Claude Juncker and Angela Merkel source: © EU 2014
Ironically, the EPP group represents Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU party with the largest number of MEPs (34). Swoboda, the leader of the Socialists, tweeted “absurd that @JunckerEU has our backing to start negotiations but is blocked … by his own @EPP family!”
EuroPoint: The European Parliament elections are over. All eyes are now on the new political coalitions and the top job in the EU.