Eurosceptics will likely sweep away the grand coalition between the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialist and Democrats (S&D). The coalition is set to end after 40 years as it has been the leading force in Parliament ever since the first European elections back in 1979. This year’s EP elections might take on a historical dimension.
According to the current predictions of Europe Elects, the ECR, the EFDD, and the ENF, under the leadership and influence of Salvini´s League, Kaczynski’s Law and Justice and Orbán´s Fidesz, it should be strengthened by 15 deputies.
If Salvini succeeded to unify the right, the newly created Eurosceptic faction, according to the prediction of Tobias Gerhard Schminke of Europe Elects, would have 132 seats and would become the second strongest force in the European Parliament.
The European Liberals of the ALDE, supported especially by Macron´s LaREM and the Spanish Ciudadanos, should gain 31 more seats. On the contrary, the Socialists of the S&D seem to await a steady fall, losing 62 seats. The EPP might lose another 44 seats. It would be the first time the grand coalition of the EPP and the S&D would not receive the majority in the European Parliament.
Such development might bring along a major shift in the functioning of the European Parliament, and the question is what coalition will take it over. In principle, there are two possibilities. The first and more likely option is that cooperation between the EPP and the S&D will continue, although extended of the ALDE. From such a majority, we could expect further pressure to deepen European integration and actual support centrist economic policy.
Or the EPP will try to meet the voters’ wishes, tossing the S&D or the ALDE over the deck and inviting Eurosceptics to work together. Such a scenario could lead at least to a relief of the pressure to deepen integration.
Either way, this year, we can expect the most interesting elections to the European Parliament. And perhaps even more interesting changes after them.