Polish approach weakens V4’s leverage to influence the future of Europe

Right when the European unity is more vocally proclaimed around its 60th celebration, it was challenged once more during the latest European Council in Brussels, when Donald Tusk was re-elected as Council’s President. Polish Prime Minister, Beata Szydlo, voted against his compatriot’s appointment and was outvoted 27-1 by the other Member States.

The Polish government has been increasingly drifting away from the core of the EU during the past couple of years and this event will likely accelerate this trend. Continue Reading

Dutch elections 2017: Conservative turn with rejection of radical parties

Round-up of the elections: Liberal-Conservative turn for the Netherlands

Despite losing some seats, the current PM and leader of the People’s Party for Progress and Freedom (VVD), Mark Rutte, comes out as the clear winner of the consultation. While this is mostly good news for Europe and the liberal order, a closer look at the results and how we’ve got here is needed to understand the likely policy of the next Dutch government. Continue Reading

The politics behind EU’s economic policy: which way forward during the 2017 electoral year?

The electoral cycle starting with the Dutch elections this week will be key in defining the future economic policy of the Eurozone. Although Brexit and Trump caught most of the media’s attention over the past year, the problems inherent to the current Eurozone’s system of governance are returning to the spotlight as the White Paper on the Future of the EU has been open for debate.  Continue Reading

French EU Republicans back Fillon’s harder stance on Ukraine

The representatives of the French Republicans in the EU institutions seem to have adjusted their position on Ukraine to be in line with the campaign rhetoric of Francois Fillon, their candidate running in the race for the Presidency of France which will hold its first round of elections on 23 April.

In an unusual move, the EU Parliamentarians of “Les Republicans” (LR) abstained in a vote in the European Parliament that approved visa exemptions for Ukrainian citizens. Continue Reading

What future for the Netherlands: do Dutch brace for more political instability?

Next week, Dutch citizens will cast their vote to elect the new members of the House of Representatives. This is the first round of a long series of elections that will take place in less than a year (Bulgaria, France, Germany, Czechia and Italy), whose combined outcome will determine the future direction of the European project.

What can the EU expect from the next Dutch government? Continue Reading

Future of the EU: which scenarios are the most likely to unfold?

After the publication of the White Paper on the Future of Europe by the European Commission, several heads of governments explicitly came out in supporting one of the 5 directions outlined by the document. French President, Francois Hollande, warned that without a multi-speed Europe, the European Union would explode. On the other hand, the Visegrad group argued against the multi-speed Europe and a Bulgarian MEP recently compared such a perspective to the apartheid. Continue Reading

Two-speed Europe: EU politicians split over the strengthening of the Eurozone

The proponents and opponents of strengthening the Eurozone measured their forces during a series of votes that took place this week in the European Parliament on documents that set out the future of the European Union. This report maps the positions of the political forces across the continent, showing who backs and who opposes a two-speed Europe and the pooling together of financial resources. Continue Reading

Who are the winners and losers of the European Parliament’s reshuffle?

The mid-term reshuffle of the key positions in the European Parliament was more than just switching individual MEPs from one position to another: it also resulted in significant gains and losses of influence among some national delegations.

The reshuffle entailed the elections of the new members of the EP bureau, the chairs and vice-chairs of the committees and the political coordinators of the groups (in each of the parliamentary committees). Continue Reading

Profile: Valean, the new ENVI chair, what does she stand for?

The change of leadership at the helm of the Environment and Public Health Committee (ENVI) of the European Parliament is by far the move with the greatest direct impact on policy that took place during the reshuffle. As EP insiders know, ENVI is one of the committees that deals with the biggest number of legislative / binding decisions. Moreover, the environment-related subjects are also the most disputed files in the EP: a measurement by VoteWatch Europe indicates that it is on environment where the EPP and the S&D vote against each other the most (about half of the time, compared to only 24% overall). Continue Reading

How will the political volatility in 2017 impact EU’s trade agenda?

Doru Frantescu is CEO and cofounder of VoteWatch Europe, the think tank most followed by the European Parliamentarians.

Many thought that 2016 was not the best year for the established liberal order and for the global trade. However, 2017 may not be much different, if some of the many political developments on the horizon go in the “wrong” direction. The political realignment in the European Parliament and the plethora of elections and possible referenda in key EU Member States will require continuous monitoring throughout the year. Continue Reading