Saturday

7th Dec 2019

Agenda

EU election results to trigger top jobs scramble This WEEK

  • European elections widely predicted to show a rise in populist MEPs - and a slump for the centrist parties (Photo: Peter Teffer)

The European elections and their consequences will immediately dominate news and gossip in Brussels and around the national capitals next week.

The race for the new EU top positions will kick off the minute the final vote is cast on Sunday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

On Sunday (26 May) night results from all over Europe will trickle in after 11pm and the tussle between the parliament and national leaders will begin on who should nominate the president for the EU commission.

The parliament will want to make sure that EU leaders will stick to one of their lead candidates - Spitzenkandidaten - who came from one of the big European political alliances by managing to build a majority in the new parliament.

Early exit polls from the Netherlands, where voters last Thursday seemed to have favoured the Socialists - could give a boost to other left-wing candidates in EU countries, as the centre-right European People's Party, which have dominated EU politics for decades - struggles to hold onto the steering wheel.

So far EPP lead candidate Manfred Weber has seemed the "unavoidable" candidate for the EU Commission presidency. But with the UK participating in the EU elections and a possible boost at the ballot for socialists and liberals could upset the maths.

The story of the night is expected to be the surge in the number of populist and nationalist MEPs from across Europe who pledged to change from the EU from within, while a shrinking mainstream struggles to hold onto the centre.

Heads of government will also keep a keen eye on the results of the unexpected European election in the UK, where the new Brexit Party of MEP Nigel Farage is polling to come first, and Theresa May having already announced her resignation on Friday.

EU national leaders will insist that their hands are not tied by the Spitzenkandidate process, and can come up with anybody - as they also weigh in on who should lead other EU institutions, such as the European Council and the European Central Bank.

Both sides will want to control the selection process. The leaders of parliamentary groups will meet on Tuesday (28 May) after the elections to defend their process - which was only used for the first time in 2014 and is struggling for legitimacy.

EU leaders will get together in Brussels for an informal summit later the same day to discuss the results, and possibly try to void the whole process by renewing their belief that there is no "automaticity" between the election results in the Spitzenkandidaten process and their choice.

While negotiations on coalitions and possible new EU leaders will kick off after the election, next week is unlikely to bring tangible results.

Parliamentary groups have until 26 June to form in order to clinch committee and other positions in the parliament before its first sitting in Strasbourg on 2 July.

In the meantime, the EU day-to-day business will carry on. Foreign and trade ministers are meeting on Monday (27 May) to discuss EU-Us trade relations and reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Interview

Populists 'could be the opposition parliament needs'

Dutch historian and writer Luuk van Middelaar argues populists could be the new opposition in the next European Parliament and a better reflection of EU public opinion - thus actually reinforcing the body's status.

Magazine

The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted

It is a divisive 'Brussels bubble' debate: whether to give the European Parliament more of a say on who becomes the next European Commission president. But the issue goes right to the heart of European integration.

Timmermans calls for left-wing coalition at debate

The centre-right's Manfred Weber got most of the heat at the EU Commission presidential candidates' final debate before the European elections, while Frans Timmermans reached out to a possible coalition partners - piling more pressure on Weber's EPP.

Dutch socialists on top in first EP election exit poll

Dutch socialist Frans Timmermans looks like the big winner in the first exit poll from the 2019 European Parliament election. British voters also cast their ballots amid predictions their prime minister is about to fall.

Deja vu as EU top jobs dominate again This WEEK

Brussels will host yet another summit on Sunday (30 June) as leaders from across the 28 EU member states return, after Thursday's failed initial bid to nominate people to take on the presidencies of the major EU institutions.

UK election plus EU summit in focus This WEEK

EU leaders will try to agree on the 2050 emission-free target - but they will deeply disagree on EU spending over the next seven years. Meanwhile the UK will elect its new political leadership.

News in Brief

  1. Greece denies access to fair asylum process, report says
  2. Report: Self-regulation of social media 'not working'
  3. Turkey: Greek expulsion of Libyan envoy 'outrageous'
  4. Merkel coalition may survive, says new SPD co-leader
  5. Von der Leyen Ethiopia visit a 'political statement'
  6. Over 5,500 scientists ask EU to protect freshwater life
  7. Iran defies EU and UN on ballistic missiles
  8. Committee of the Regions: bigger budget for Green Deal

UK election plus EU summit in focus This WEEK

EU leaders will try to agree on the 2050 emission-free target - but they will deeply disagree on EU spending over the next seven years. Meanwhile the UK will elect its new political leadership.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Russia makes big promises to Arctic peoples on expansion
  2. UK election plus EU summit in focus This WEEK
  3. Migrants paying to get detained in Libyan centres
  4. Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy
  5. Will Michel lead on lobbying transparency at Council?
  6. Blood from stone: What did British PR firm do for Malta?
  7. EU Commission defends Eurobarometer methodology
  8. Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us