EU's Von der Leyen seeks centrist allies after far-right electoral wins

EU's Von der Leyen seeks centrist allies after far-right electoral wins

BRUSSELS: European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen began trying to form a coalition on Monday after the far-right surged in European Parliament elections, prompting French President Emmanuel Macron to call an early national vote .

A shift to the right within the European Parliament may make it more difficult to pass new legislation to respond to security challenges, the impact of climate change or industrial competition from China and the United States.

Von der Leyen, the German president of the European Union’s powerful executive body, emerged stronger from the four-day elections in 27 countries that concluded on Sunday, with her center-right European People’s Party (EPP) winning seats.

But to secure a second five-year term, von der Leyen needs the support of a majority of EU national leaders and a functional majority in the European Parliament.

Provisional results on Monday gave the main parties that backed von der Leyen last time – the EPP, Socialists and Liberals – a total of 402 seats in the 720-member chamber.

But in Brussels that majority is widely considered too tight for comfort. So von der Leyen could also reach out to the Greens, who suffered heavy losses, and Italy’s nationalist prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, with whom he has worked closely.

Late Sunday night, von der Leyen said she would start by trying to rebuild the parliamentary base of her last term.

“I have been working to build a broad majority of pro-European forces. And that is why, starting tomorrow, we will approach the big political families with whom we have formed the platform,” he told reporters in Brussels.

Von der Leyen indicated she would speak to others after those initial consultations, keeping her options open.

KEEP OPTIONS OPEN

He said his goal is to work with those who are “pro-European, pro-Ukraine and pro-rule of law,” a description he has made clear he believes applies to Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, but not to other extreme parties. right. .

However, the Socialists, Liberals and Greens have stated that they will not work with the far right, making von der Leyen’s efforts to build a coalition extremely delicate.

Meloni also kept his options open on Monday, saying it was too early to decide on a second term for von der Leyen.

Nationalist, populist and EU-skeptic parties are on track to win around a quarter of the seats in the EU assembly.

Political analysts attribute the overall shift to the right to rising living costs, concerns about migration and the cost of the green transition, as well as the war in Ukraine, concerns that nationalist and populist parties have exploited.

However, the exact influence these parties will exert will depend on their ability to overcome differences. They are currently divided between two political families, and some parties and legislators are currently outside these groups.

Provisional results showed the EPP won 185 seats, the Socialists 137 and the Liberals 80.

MACRON, SCHOLZ MUTATED

The repercussions of the vote were felt far beyond Brussels.

In France, Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party won more than 31% of the vote, defeating Macron’s centrist Renaissance party – which won just 14.6% – and prompting it to call early national parliamentary elections.

In Germany, the far-right Alternative for Germany party came second with 15.9% of the vote, ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, who won 13.9% in their worst ever result.

Meloni, on the other hand, was boosted because her party came first in Italy with more than 28% of the vote.

In Poland, the centrist Civic Coalition of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, a member of the EPP, came in first place. Also in Spain, the center-right Popular Party, also part of the EPP, won, beating socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

The European Parliament co-decides with EU national governments on laws proposed by the European Commission to govern the bloc of 450 million people.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed. Reuters)

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