21st Mar 2018


Brits and French go to polls This WEEK

  • Actors portraying UK candidates Theresa May (Conservatives), Jeremy Corbyn (Labour), and Tim Farron (Liberal Democrats), at a theme park in Surrey (Photo: Casey Gutteridge / CPG Photography)

Citizens of the second-largest and third-largest EU members will go to the polls this week in elections that will have a significant effect on the rest of the bloc.

First, the United Kingdom will vote on Thursday (8 June), in elections for the House of Commons.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Emmanuel Macron became president of France last month. Now his 14-month-old party needs lawmakers in the National Assembly, so he can carry out his plans (Photo: Reuters)

When the vote was unexpectedly called by prime minister Theresa May seven weeks ago, her aim was to strengthen her Conservative party's presence in parliament, so that she can negotiate Britain's exit from the EU with a stronger mandate.

Most will have thought the election campaign would be about Brexit.

But after Saturday's terror attack in London, the second attack during the election campaign after the Manchester killings, a key theme on voters' minds will be security.

Seven people were killed and at least 48 were injured after attackers drove into people with a van on London Bridge, and stabbed them. The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Arguments could be made in favour or against this being to the Conservative party's advantage.

In favour: by virtue of being the incumbent prime minister, May could be seen as a safer choice. Against: May has been responsible for home affairs for six of the past seven years.

Her main opponent, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, suggested after the attacks that May should step down over cuts in the police force when she was home secretary.

His centre-left party has reason to dream of not being wiped away once again, instead inching closer and closer to their rivals – although polls in the UK have been notoriously wrong in the past years.


Meanwhile, polls in France suggest that freshly-elected president Emmanuel Macron could continue his surprise winning streak by securing a big win or even a majority of seats in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

France will elect the 577 members of the National Assembly in two rounds, the first of which will be on Sunday (11 June).

Macron's En Marche! party, founded just 14 months ago, is leading in the polls.

Macron could move forward with proposals to reform France's welfare state and labour market, as well as the eurozone.

Already two years ago, Macron suggested that the eurozone, which includes 19 of the EU's 28 member states, should have its own budget and parliamentarians.

The EU institutions meanwhile have a short week, which began on Tuesday because of Pentecost.

How to combat terrorism is on the agenda at a meeting of justice and home affairs ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday and Friday, a topic that was put on the agenda before Saturday's attack in London.

They will also discuss setting up a European Public Prosecutor's office, although not all member states will participate.

Ministers responsible for transport and telecommunications issues will also be in Luxembourg over those days.

The transport meeting will centre around updated EU rules for the training of bus and truck drivers, maritime safety and road safety, while the telecom debate will be about how to improve internet connectivity for EU citizens, privacy online, and cross-border parcel delivery.

The European Parliament will have a relatively quiet week, with little legislative work on the agenda.

Instead, the institution will receive several foreign leaders, including Norway's prime minister Erna Solberg, and Bolivia's president Evo Morales.

The European Commission is expected on Wednesday (7 June) to present several documents about how to deepen defence cooperation between EU states.

With the UK – a strong opponent to defence cooperation outside of the transatlantic Nato alliance – moving towards the exit door, other member states see an opportunity in Brexit.

The EU executive has scheduled to present a reflection paper “to open a public debate and discuss different visions for Europe's defence and security up to 2025”.

It will also present a legislative proposal to start a European Defence Fund.

Brexit and trade will top This WEEK

A crucial EU summit will decide whether to give a green light to the Brexit transition period, while the EU is also fighting to get exemptions from the new US steel and aluminium tariffs.

US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions

Washington would still like to block a planned gas pipeline between Russia and Germany but is not yet considering hitting companies involved in the project.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverHiring - Sales Associate With 2+ Years Experience - Apply Now!
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  2. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrest Malta bank chair
  3. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  4. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions
  5. EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints
  6. Five east European states prevent new CAP consensus
  7. EU to probe UK 'election-rigging' firm
  8. 'Denial' - is meat the new climate change?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections