The European elections to be held from June 6 to 9 will confirm the continent’s rightward movement. Barely a handful of progressive governments are holding out, including that of Spain and the German tripartite one in low times, while those on the right are growing, often supported by ultra-conservative forces. All the polls agree that the European People’s Party will have the most votes and the socialists will once again be the second force, but they show a notable increase in the extreme right, with the groups that make it up fighting with the liberals for third position. And with that in mind, the president of the European Commission and EPP candidate, Ursula von der Leyen, has confirmed that she will seek the support of some of those parties, including that of the Italian far-right Giorgia Meloni.

The German first opened the window, then the door and now she has made it clear that she is lifting the veto on the extreme right in the heart of the EU: the European Parliament. There she intends to seek the support of anyone in order to be re-elected and the only conditions she sets are that they be pro-European, anti-Putin forces and comply with the rule of law. “I have worked very well with Meloni in the European Council, as with other prime ministers, it is my task. [Meloni] She is pro-European, she has been very clear against Putin and pro-rule of law. I offer to work together,” Von der Leyen said in a debate with the rest of Spitzenkandidaten, who reproached her for her intention to reach agreements with the ultras. The CDU leader limited herself to saying that she has a “different approach” than Meloni on issues such as LGTBI rights. In addition to threatening NGOs, Meloni’s government is cracking down on women’s rights and has increased control over public media.

Von der Leyen, after all, follows in the wake that the EPP has marked at the national level in different countries in recent years in which the traditional right has seen how the ultra-conservative forces were stepping on its ground. Faced with this situation, the EPP was divided into two souls: those who considered that they had to win for the center – that is where Von der Leyen has placed herself in this legislature in which she has governed thanks to socialists, liberals and, on occasions, greens due to the leaks. in their own ranks – and those who defended collaboration with that type of forces, mostly populist and eurosceptic.

Beyond compliance with her conditions to agree with Meloni, Von der Leyen justified her approach to those forces in that she will need to build a majority in the European Parliament and recalled that the groups do not work unanimously so there may be leaks in support. In 2019, the German was elected in the European Parliament by the minimum. And now the formations that were part of the agreement along with the EPP (socialists and liberals) are in decline while the polls point to an increase in the extreme right.

The so-called Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), the far-right group of which Vox is a part, are now fighting for third position after the 68 seats they achieved five years ago, although some polls, such as Politico’s projection, amount to Identity and Democracy (ID), also from the extreme right, to that position with up to 85 MEPs compared to the 59 they obtained in 2019. The two groups, which have always been tempted to join together to have more strength although for national, personal and even To a certain extent, policies have never done so, they have parties within them with great electoral expectations for the elections in two weekends.

Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia are the great hope of ECR ​​as is the Polish Law and Justice (Pis), which is currently the main delegation, despite having lost the government to the popular Donald Tusk. At the moment they also have Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz, who was expelled from the EPP this term. In the case of ID, they have the great novelty of the Freedom Party (PVV) of the populist Geert Wilders, who won the victory in Holland, and they also aspire for Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National to win in France. Hence, ID has completed the expulsion of Alternative for Germany (AfD) with the excuse of some statements by its candidate about the SS and in the midst of scandals over collaboration with Russia and China.

The situation leads, however, to an empowerment of the right at the European level. “The new political balance within Parliament will allow the European People’s Party to have a strong negotiating position, since two non-self-exclusive scenarios may occur,” says a report by the consulting firm Llorente y Cuenca (LLYC), which points to the possibility to maintain the current majority (EPP, socialists and liberals) or a “right-wing coalition”.

The advance of the extreme right in the European Parliament

Evolution of the percentage of MEPs in European elections for each party grouped by ideologies. Click to see the detail

Extreme right, conservatives and christian democrats, social democrats and left, verdesy liberals

Source: ParlGov, own elaboration, official website

“If the EPP wins and the ECR and ID considerably increase their seats as expected, this could give rise to a new coalition, possibly between the EPP and the ECR, to which Von der Leyen herself has left the door open, as long as when the right-wing forces do not question the position towards Russia and pro-NATO. This change could affect the EU’s strategic agenda, shifting it to the right on key issues such as climate legislation, defense or migration. Furthermore, decision-making could be made more difficult due to the refusal of S&D, Renew, the Greens and The Left to form coalitions with ultra-conservative groups (in this case, ECR and ID). Therefore, due to this greater negotiating power of the EPP, it is foreseeable that on some issues (such as migration or competitiveness) there will be a turn to the right, while for other issues it will be supported by a more centrist majority,” he points out. the analysis.

Another of the big changes compared to the previous legislature is the foreseeable disaster of the Greens, which in some surveys appear up to fifth position compared to the 72 seats they achieved in 2019, when the environmentalist wave translated into a strong increase in their presence. in Strasbourg. The Politico poll predicts 41 MEPs for that group and 32 for The Left (five less than what it has now). Environmental fatigue is a reality in a continent crossed by farmers’ protests and in which the brakes are being pressed on the policies that have made up the green agenda. The right-wing of Europe has also led to a tightening of migration policy and threatens to do so further.

“Pro-European leaders have many reasons to be worried about the elections. Europeans are exhausted by the chain of crises and a considerable bloc of voters considers the EU’s response to each one that has shaken the continent in the last 15 years negative. Many of them currently express their support for anti-European parties,” point out political scientists Ivan Krastev and Mark Leonard in an analysis under the title A new political map: Getting the European Parliament election right published by the think tank European Council on International Relations, which points to a high mobilization of voters of anti-European parties in countries such as Germany, France or Austria.

The recipes they give to pro-European parties to defeat their rivals is that they do not turn the elections “into a debate about immigration or the successes of the last European Commission.” “And they must not choose between a strategy of polarization or fragmentation at European level. Instead, they should adopt a set of differentiated national strategies to mobilize their supporters without provoking far-right voters. “This should include presenting a new geopolitical argument for Europe, one that does not attempt to mobilize people out of solidarity with Ukraine, but rather out of concern for European sovereignty and security,” they conclude.


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