Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

EUobserved

After the EP vote – working the camembert

  • The EP in glossy mode (Photo: EUobserver)

And we're off. Voting has started. The European Parliament has a twitchy, nervous feel to it.

It is heaving with TV equipment, temporary stages, earnest-looking news analysis corners, and reams and reams of wifi-ensuring masking tape. On the popular Luxembourg square nearby, a stage has been erected. Large portrait posters line the space leading to it. There's Aliki the student, Magdalena the factory worker and Ricardo, who has retired.

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.

  • Portraits of EU citizens (Photo: EUobserver)

"Act. React. Impact" urges a slogan. "This time is different" is another more plaintive-sounding one.

There are four days of voting. Technically no results are meant to come out before 11pm on Sunday evening. In a heroic assumption about the state of European political space, the commission reasons that citizens in later-voting states will be swayed by votes that have gone before.

Nevertheless the Dutch plan to flout the EU's omerta rule and Italy's Nota Politica website will be taking an extreme interest horse-racing.

And there will be some turnout stats which usually provide a diverting horror show.

Into the void come statistics. Some 400 million people are entitled to vote. Around 40 million of them are first-time voters. Some 16,000 people are running for the 751 seats. Of these around 3,000 are in France. Forty-nine percent of Slovenia's candidates are women, in Cyprus just 23 percent.

There are several octogenarians trying to make it to Brussels. The very oldest MEP-wanna-be is a 92-year-old Greek left-winger. A sprinkling of 18-year-olds and several twenty-somethings are also trying their luck.

Pie charts – or the more pungently named camemberts – predicting possible group formations are being earnestly pored over.

Everyone wants to know where the non-inscrits or non-attached are going. Non-inscrits is the polite term for politically homeless MEPs. Around half of the outgoing batch come from hard right groups such as Lega Nord or Vlaams Belang.

There are expected to be many more after the EU vote. Whether they can collectively and harmoniously turn themselves into 'inscrits' is one of the burning questions of this election.

But the evening will be all about timing. And being able to add up. Because the commission presidency, in theory, is supposed to go to the party with the most votes. Or, failing that, to the candidate that can get the most support in the new EP.

The nitty gritty will start at 10pm when the first projections for the groups and seats come in. The first preliminary EU results come an hour later.

The major political groups and their commission-president hopefuls will also be lurking with intent in the parliament.

Centre-right candidate Jean-Claude Juncker and his centre-left rival Martin Schulz are slated to hold press conferences. They will be carefully choreographed affairs, particularly if, as predicted, Juncker's EPP is in the lead by a mere whisker.

That's where preferential voting – in 20 member states – and election thresholds – in 14 member states – could come into play. If majorities are slim, every seat will count. Only it will take some days before the results of preferential voting and of who has made the threshold – several parties will hang just above or just below – are finalised.

Righteous declarations, posturing, a measured amount of fence-sitting and a hefty dose of speculation is to be expected.

The EP will make its first overt tactical move on Tuesday morning when it sends a message to EU leaders on how it assesses the results.

EU leaders, meeting Tuesday evening, have pre-emptively already sent their own (cagey) message to MEPs informing them – in a thoroughly non-committal manner – that they will see what they can learn from the results.

The ensuing bunfight should be enough to conceal any weakness, equivocacy or disunity on Ukraine – the other 'topic' to be discussed at dinner.

EUobserved

The European Parliament's institutional coup

Member state leaders have been backed into a corner. They have, as it were, been overtaken by the campaign bus; or outspoken at the TV debate. Yes, the European Parliament is in the process of staging a rather successful coup.

EUobserved

Dress rehearsal for 2019?

It's time to pack up the debating bags. Take off the make-up. Turn down the lights. The EU's wobbly leap into live pan-European politics is over. For now.

EUobserved

On being 'Obama-ed'

Well, he finally made it to the EU capital. There was much anticipation. And quite considerable upheaval.

EUobserved

Beloved Ashton

It looked like it would be another humdrum year for Catherine Ashton. Then Iran happened.

Agenda

Post-election wrangling kicks off this WEEK

EU leaders will meet in Brussels Tuesday to discuss the outcome of the EU and Ukrainian elections, kicking off the nomination process of the next European Commission chief.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. No UK 'capital of culture' city post-Brexit
  2. EU sets up natural disaster rescue team
  3. Spain sends migrant arrivals to unfinished prison
  4. Iceland prepares for biggest volcano to blow
  5. Greek parliament postpones debate on Saudi arms deal
  6. Family of murdered Malta journalist to sue police
  7. UK to sell RBS bank stake, boosting government coffers
  8. December euro summit still on, Tusk confirms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  2. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  3. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  4. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  5. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  6. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  7. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'
  8. Commission warns Italy over high debt level