Saturday

8th May 2021

EU in the hands of the centre-right

The election of a conservative politician to be head of the European Parliament means that the three main institutions of the EU are now in the hands of the centre-right.

Parliament president Hans-Gert Poettering joins conservative European Commission president Jose-Manuel Barroso and fellow German Christian Democrat Chancellor Angela Merkel, in charge of the member states' council until the end of June.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

  • Mr Poettering, along with two other centre-right politicians, will head the EU for the coming months (Photo: EPP-ED)

This centre-right dominance was called a "historic coincidence" by Mr Poettering, on Monday with the six-month period likely to be strengthened further by the generally good relations between the trio of politicians.

Although the commission has riled Germany recently with its energy liberalisation drive as well as its tougher-than-expected pollution targets for member states, Mr Barroso and Ms Merkel are said to get on well on a personal level while Mr Poettering is also close to the German government.

The big issues where technically all three institutions could have a say is the government push to revive talks on the EU constitution and the 50th Anniversary declaration of the bloc.

Mr Barroso has pledged his institution will support Mrs Merkel in her attempts to get the constitution back on political track while Mr Poettering will be watched to see how hard he pushes for the assembly to have a proper say in the negotiations.

Meanwhile, the centre-right European People's Party, the biggest in the European Union, is set to make good use of its good fortune.

"With the election of president Poettering, the EPP has the privilege of leading the

three main European institutions in the first half of 2007," said EPP president Wilfried Martens, adding that he was looking forward to working with all three politicians during their political summits.

Asked about the situation, one centre-right official said "we're happy of course."

Others will be keeping a watchful eye on the developments.

Socialist leader Martin Schulz told EUobserver that while he was "not concerned" by the set-up, he added that "We're here to ensure that this will not change into a dangerous situation."

German axis

Another point of interest in the coming months will be the so-called "German axis" with the president of the parliament, the head of the socialists and the EU presidency, all being German.

Some MEPs have already expressed concern about the issue with co-leader of the Greens/EFA group Monica Frassoni regularly denouncing the extent of German influence in key legislative issues - such as recently agreed chemical regulation legislation.

Meanwhile, liberal group leader, the UK's Graham Watson, said last week, "I'm regularly accused by Martin Schulz of being anti-German. I'm not...but it's a fair point that parliament could perhaps be a little too vulnerable to the agenda being dominated by a single state."

MEPs to declare EU an LGBTI 'freedom zone'

The symbolic move is an attempt to buttress against right-wing governments' increased scapegoating of LGBTI people, particularly in Poland and Hungary.

Analysis

Relief in EPP group, as Orbán's party finally leaves

The debate over Fidesz had become an unbearable political burden on EPP - but it also represented a core dilemma for many centre-right, mainstream parties struggling to deal with their populist challengers.

EPP group moves forward to suspend Orban's Fidesz

MEPs are scheduled to vote on Wednesday to change the rules of procedure of the centre-right European People's Party parliamentary group to allow the suspension of a member party.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Czech minister plotted to bury evidence on Russian attack
  2. Putin promotes Russia's 'Kalashnikov-like' vaccine
  3. Coronavirus: Indian variant clusters found across England
  4. UN report encourages EU methane cuts
  5. EU court upholds ban on bee-harming pesticides
  6. Israeli tourists welcomed back by EU
  7. EU duped into funding terrorist group, Israel says
  8. Brussels prepares portfolio of potential Covid-19 treatments

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. MEPs win battle for bigger citizens' voice at Conference
  2. Hungary gags EU ministers on China
  3. Poland and Hungary push back on 'gender equality' pre-summit
  4. EU preparing to send soldiers to Mozambique
  5. EU now 'open' to vaccine waiver, after Biden U-turn
  6. EU mulls using new 'peace' fund to help Libyan coast guard
  7. Poland 'breaks EU law' over judges, EU court opinion says
  8. 11 EU states want to cut fossil-fuels from cross-border projects

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us