Wednesday

22nd Jan 2020

Boost for Right in post-Brexit EU parliament

The composition of the European Parliament will tilt towards the right as the centre-right European People's Party and the far-right Identity and Democracy will gain seats in the post-Brexit assembly.

Meanwhile, the Socialists & Democrats (S&D), the liberal Renew Europe, and the Greens will lose a total of 24 seats.

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As UK MEPs leave at the end of January, 73 seats will be up for grabs: 27 of those seats will be re-distributed among 14 member states.

The new assembly will have an overall total of 705 MEPs (with one Catalan MEP not having yet taken his seat).

The remaining 46 seats will be available for potential EU enlargements and for any possible future creation of a transnational lists.

Based on a decision back in 2018 on how to redistribute the seats, taking into account member states' populations, France and Spain gain five seats, Italy and the Netherlands get three, Ireland will have two more MEPs, and Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, Croatia, Estonia, Poland and Romania will have one extra each from 1 February.

In 10 countries, new MEPs have already been formally elected, but not yet designated. In Spain, the Netherlands, Austria and Denmark only the lists from which the additional members will come have been officially announced, and their EP party-affiliation confirmed.

According to figures published by the European parliament's think tank on Tuesday (14 January), and based on information gathered from parliamentary groups, the ID will overtake the Greens as the fourth-largest group in the European parliament.

And the European People's Party (EPP) will gain five seats, with MEPs from Estonia, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Slovakia.

The centre-right group is already the largest in the parliament, and will now surge to a total of 187 seats.

The S&D will in total lose six MEPs as key British Labour party deputies leave, but will be joined by four new MEPs from Spain, France, Romania and Croatia. They will have a new total of 148 seats.

The liberal Renew Europe group will haemorrhage 17 seats as UK's Liberal Democrats leave - but will gain six MEPs from Denmark, Ireland, Spain, France and the Netherlands.

The far-right ID will become the fourth-largest group. They did not have any UK MEPs, but will receive three more seats from France, Italy and the Netherlands, increasing their overall number to 76.

The Greens, in sinking to the fifth-largest group in the parliament with 68 seats (with one MEP being unable to take up his seat), lose 11 MEPs but gain four from France, Finland, Austria and Sweden.

The European Conservatives and Reformists, which has been the home for the UK Conservatives and recently some Brexit Party MEPs, will lose seven seats and gain three, according to the parliament's unofficial projection.

New MEPs will come from Spain, Italy and Poland.

According to a parliament source, it remains to be seen if the new Dutch MEP from the Forum von Democratie will join the ECR, which the right-wing populist party has been aligned with in the EU since it first entered the European parliament last year.

The radical left of European United Left/Nordic Green Left will lose one seat with the departure of a Sinn Fein MEP from Northern Ireland.

The non-attached members will lose 27 colleagues from the short-lived Brexit Party of Nigel Farage.

But this slight tilt toward the right does not mean a significant increase for eurosceptic forces.

The EPP and S&D and Renew total decreases from 444 to 432 seats.

The eurosceptic-populist bloc of ID, ECR, and non-attached members (mostly from eurosceptic parties, such as Italy's Five Star Movement, Greece's Golden Dawn, Hungary's Jobbik) will decrease from 191 to 165 MEPs.

MEPs to keep 27 UK seats after Brexit

The number of French MEPs will grow from 74 to 79, while Spanish MEPs will increase in number from 54 to 59. Italy, the Netherlands, and Ireland will also get more MEPs, but Germany is already at the maximum allowed.

EU gears up for post-Brexit renovation

Both EU member states and the parliament want to be ready in January with an agreement on how to involve citizens in a serious attempt to rethink the future of the EU. But institutional issues would come first.

Opinion

Brexit - Europe's 'Versailles moment'?

The spectre of another peace agreement looms: that of the doomed Versailles treaty, which, by sowing resentment and perpetuating misunderstanding of each other's true ambitions and principles, created more tensions than it dissolved.

Brussels warns UK of 'difficult' Brexit trade talks

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, warned the UK that future negotiations would be tough and that the relationship between the EU and the UK will never be the same after Brexit.

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