Tuesday

27th Feb 2024

Liberals and centre-right unite in EU parliament

  • EPP candidate Antonio Tajani is now backed by the liberals in hos bid for the EU parliament's presidency (Photo: EPP)

The European Parliament's centre-right and liberal groups reached a last-minute deal on Tuesday (17 January) to back centre-right EPP candidate Antonio Tajani as the assembly's next president.

Under the deal, which was reached minutes before the first round of the vote began, the liberal candidate Guy Verhofstadt withdrew his candidacy in exchange for top posts for his Alde group.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

According to sources, Alde will be given another vice-presidency post in addition to the two it already holds, as well as a more influence in the conference of committee chairs, the body that coordinates the work of the parliament's committees.

The EPP and Alde groups also formed a "pro-European coalition", to which they invited others to join.

"Europe is in crisis. Nationalists and populists of all boards try to destroy the union from within and from outside. A pro-European coalition is needed to withstand this attempt," the two groups said in a statement.

"The EPP and Alde - beyond their ideological differences - have decided to work closely together and to offer a common platform as a starting point for this pro-European cooperation."

They said they would propose an "inter-institutional reflection" on the future of the EU, including the possibility of launching a convention to prepare a new EU treaty, a long-time Verhofstadt demand.  

The EU parliament's president will be elected in a secret ballot, leaving MEPs leeway to vote against the group line. But in theory, Tajani could count on 217 votes from his centre-right EPP, as well as 68 liberal votes.

He needs 376 votes to secure the presidency, and could draw the rest from the conservative ECR group.

The EPP has been trying to rally support for its candidate to avoid another candidate winning with the votes of far-right and eurosceptic MEPs.

The article mistated the number of votes needed to secure the presidency. The absolute majority is 376, not 368.

Investigation

Far-right MEPs least disciplined in following party line

In a fractious parliamentary vote, the level of party discipline often decides the fate of legislation. Party discipline among nationalists and far-right MEPs is the weakest, something potentially significant after the June elections. Data by Novaya Gazeta Europe and EUobserver.

Latest News

  1. For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive
  2. All of Orbán's MPs back Sweden's Nato entry
  3. India makes first objection to EU carbon levy at WTO summit
  4. Angry farmers block Brussels again, urge fix to 'unfair' prices
  5. Luxembourg denies blind spot on Nato security vetting
  6. Record rate-profits sees EU banks give shareholders €120bn
  7. Why the EU silence on why Orban's €10bn was unblocked?
  8. Far-right MEPs least disciplined in following party line

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us