Francis Moritz

European elections from June 6 to 9, lift the veil

Recent polls show: For the most part, the far-right will make significant gains, though not a majority, but strong enough to give it opposition power depending on its ability to unite or split from time to time.

Current projections

This does not mean, at this stage, that the far right would hold a majority in the 720-strong assembly (1) . Germany has the largest number (proportional to population), with 96 deputies, followed by France 81 and Italy with 76.

In each country, the alliances are sometimes heterogeneous, and the grouping is not homogeneous. The majority would remain with the current traditional parties, but with a seriously reduced strength. And therefore unstable. Which is new.

The formation of a coalition will be all the more difficult as national interests will prevail over the formation of coalitions and their relative lack of homogeneity. The same applies to voters, who will vote according to their national issues: purchasing power, immigration, insecurity, agriculture, housing, education, in particular; there are various local and regional elections in this period.

The far right’s gains (2) are set to be confirmed in at least nine countries ( 3), while in nine others(4) it will take second or third place. In France, according to the most recent poll – the Extreme right party RN is credited with 30-31%, with a lead over Renaissance at 18%, the PS at 11.5%, the ecologists at 8.5%, Far left LFI and LR at 7%. The Europeanists would retain 63% of the seats.

The commission’s mandate ends after the elections. Ursula von der Leyen has already declared her candidacy for re-election. She has entered the campaign trail to try to anticipate the distribution of positions and roles in the composition of the commissions, including the far right, in view of her likely reduced, unstable and even weakened majority, if she is selected.

Together, the far right would represent 25% of the seats.

If certain parties were to change their alliance, a new alliance with far-right groups would reach 48 to 49% of seats, which with some independent members could reach or exceed 50%. This would be unprecedented.

The main players

Renew Europe, of which Renaissance France is a member, currently the third-largest force with 101 MPs, is set to fall to less than 100. Although reduced in size, this group can be considered the “king or queen maker”, given the disparities between the groups, bringing together the lowest common denominator, between convinced Europeanists, federalists and all the nuances in between; those who want the mixing of cultures and European sovereignty versus those who are sovereignists and want to exercise it without being the subject to all Brussel’s decisions.

The European People’s Party, right-wing forces in favor of European construction, of which Mrs. Von der Leyen is the candidate, which claims to be in favor of a tougher migration policy – which has not been the case of late – except by concluding agreements with some of the countries of departure (Turkey, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt) which they want to turn into entrenched camps to prevent migration to Europe, in return for funding.

Current prospects, the end of the glass ceiling

The EPP (European People’s Party) will probably remain the largest group, and Mrs von der Leyen could be re-elected.

The Italian Foreign Minister has already called for dialogue to continue after the election. These maneuvers confirm a clear shift to the right. The best example is the relationship between Italy’s Georgia Meloni and the President of the European Commission. The neo-fascist label attached to her by the majority in France has not been forgotten. Mrs von der Leyen is negotiating on all fronts, while laying down three red lines:

Collaboration only with pro-European forces, respect for the rule of law, support for Ukraine and joining the fight against Russia. It’s clear that certain countries are being targeted. Clearly, the famous glass ceiling and its corollary, the so called “cordon sanitaire” are shattering. In a democracy, you can’t keep ignoring a significant proportion of the electorate with empty slogans, especially when a far left that is far more dangerous is making a name for itself with its daily posturing, advocating nothing less than chaos and engaging in proven antisemitism for electoral purposes.

Antisemitism in Europe, an assessment

The Commission’s grand plan to combat antisemitism has failed utterly.

In 2019, the Commission unveiled what it called “the first-ever European strategy to combat antisemitism and support Jewish life”.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declared, “Today we commit ourselves to supporting Jewish life in Europe in all its diversity. We want to see Jewish life flourish once again at the heart of our communities… the strategy we are presenting represents a radical change in the way we respond. Europe can only prosper when its Jewish communities feel safe and thrive” . In her turn, Mrs Margarita SCHINAS, Vice-President in charge of promoting “our European way of life” , added: “ Anti-Semitism is incompatible with the values of the EU and with our European way of life. This strategy is our commitment to fight it… and to secure a future for Jewish life in Europe and beyond… We owe it to those who perished in the Holocaust…. To future generations”.

It was essentially a question of communication, but in the absence of adequate means and will, failure was inevitable.

Africa, Middle East -EU

Collectively, the Union was kicked out of the Sahel as USA is in the same process.. First France, then the few other Union troops. Mr J. Borell talks far less about this than about Gaza. In the Middle East, the EU was unable to prevent Lebanon from being reduced to an Iranian colony by its affiliate Hezbollah. Neither was the US able to do anything about it. The EU had been totally absent until then, and believes it can now play a role with its 27 foreign ministers and divergent positions. Finally, the commission concluded an agreement ” on the strategic and comprehensive partnership between …Egypt and the European Union”. In the text “The EU recognizes Egypt as a reliable partner…. “Pillar of security, moderation and peace in the region…” “Both parties recall their commitment to the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter”.

In the specific areas … and in the middle of the declaration, we discover the “field of migration and mobility” : Egypt and the EU adopt an approach to the governance of migration … In short, an investment of around 5 billion is planned. Despite the gift-wrapping, it is clear that the aim is to prevent migration to Europe through financial support.

European Union and Israel

Too many declarations. Here too, the differences between the 27 members are real. Mr. BORELL has produced a ten-point plan. As the date of October 7 recedes, his discourse becomes increasingly harsh, demanding and categorical. The word ceasefire became his leitmotif, much more so than the return of all hostages. His lexicon is adding genocide, ecocide, sanctions, arms embargo, more than support for Israel to defend itself, no war is perfect (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Mosul, Berlin, Normandy, Iraq, Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia, Syria).

Support for UNWRA: Following Israel’s investigation into the pogrom participants and Hamas members, aid had been suspended. It has now been resumed.

The June deadline will reshuffle the cards, and it’s all about positioning oneself for the next future, what has been stated two weeks earlier is now forgotten.

So goes the world, which walks on one leg and limps on the other.

Source: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

Ipsos March 2024

Current seats (705) *

(1) Estimated seats (720) Estimated change

The Left37 42 + 5

Greens/European Free Alliance72 55 – 17

About the Author
Former Senior Manager and Director of Companies in major French foreign groups. He has had several professional lives, since the age of 17, which has led him to travel extensively and know in depth many countries, with teh key to the practice of several languages, in contact with populations in Eastern Europe, Germany, Italy, Africa and Asia. He has learned valuable lessons from it, that gives him certain legitimacy and appropriate analysis background.