Survey results: who will lead the EU after 2019?

How will the EU institutions look like after the 2019 reshuffle? This is the question on everyone’s mind in Brussels, but the answers differ based on the information that one has (one’s personal mini-bubble). In order to get an overview of the expectations of the EU affairs community as a whole,  VoteWatch Europe has surveyed more than 1.000 members of the broader ‘EU bubble’ (which also includes national civil servants, whose views are more reflective of the different national perspectives) for their views regarding the reallocation of top EU positions in 2019 (Presidencies of European Commission, European Parliament, European Council and European Central Bank). Continue Reading

Scenario: who could take over EU’s top posts in 2019?

2019 is surely going to bring a large shake-up to the EU system. Next year we will see the first EU elections without the British and an increasingly fragmented European Parliament, as new political movements like Macron’s En Marche and the Italian 5 Star Movement are set to pose a serious challenge to the traditional parties. As a result, the allocation of top EU posts will be a more complex operation than ever before. Continue Reading

Exclusive interview with MEP Fajon: what challenges for the EU accession of Western Balkans?

The European Commission has recently taken a bold new initiative to bring the Western Balkans closer to EU accession, demonstrating a desire for Serbia and Montenegro to become full members of the Union by 2025. This renewed momentum supporting the EU accession of Western Balkan countries comes amidst the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU, highlighting the different attitudes towards Brussels across the European continent.

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What takeaways from the latest Italian political earthquake?

Another major European election, another big earthquake for the (traditional) political establishment. In a historical Italian election, the mainstream parties that have dominated the Italian political life over the last 20 years (i.e. Renzi’s Democratic Party and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia) have been crushed by the 5 Star Movement (an internet-based party founded by a comedian), and the far-right League, whose campaign took inspiration from Donald Trump’s style. Continue Reading

Study: who will replace Pittella as the leader of the S&D group?

The departure of Pittella provides the S&D group with a great opportunity to kick start the preparations for the 2019 European elections. The question is, who will succeed him? This report looks into where the likely candidates to S&D leadership stand at this time and how their policy preferences match those of their fellow Social Democrats from the other delegations within the group.  Continue Reading

Winners and losers of the EP Plenary February 2018

This plenary session was clearly dominated by the debate on how to share the spoils after the British MEPs vacate their seats in 2019. The key event was the failed initiative to establish a joint constituency with transnational lists for the upcoming EP elections. On the other hand, most EU Parliamentarians renewed their support for the Spitzenkandidaten process and threatened to reject any other potential candidate to the Presidency of the European Commission. Continue Reading

Bad news for Macron, as majority of policymakers opposed transnational lists for EP elections

This was a bad plenary session for the French President, Emmanuel Macron. One of his key proposals, namely using some of the remaining British seats in order to establish to a pan-European electoral constituency for future EP elections, was rejected by a small majority of MEPs (54%). In particular, the proposal was blocked by the staunch opposition of the European People’s Party that labelled it as a “centralist and elitist artificial construct”. Continue Reading

Exclusive interview with MEP Ludvigsson: what role for Sweden in tomorrow’s EU?

The decision by the UK to leave the European Union has put Sweden, one of its main partners, in an awkward position. As highlighted by our previous report on Nordic countries, Swedish policymakers are not particularly enthusiastic about the Franco-German acceleration towards a multi-speed Europe, in particular when it comes to the Defence Union and the deepening of the Monetary Union. Continue Reading

Could Macron join ALDE?

‘‘European Liberals seek champion for upcoming elections’’ would not be out of place among the latest job openings on the website of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). For the European centrist family, it is indeed crucial to lead a decisive campaign in 2019 to gain weight on the European stage and to finally emerge as a leading force rather than remaining stuck between the right-leaning EPP and the left leaning S&D. Continue Reading

Unprecedented: S&D moves closer to an opposition role by rejecting the EU budget for 2018

In an unprecedented move, the Socialists and Democrats refused to back the EU budget for 2018. This gesture is a further step towards the realization of Gianni Pittella’s plan to gradually rebrand the group as an alternative to the policies by the centre-right wing EPP, which is the strongest political family in both the European Parliament and the European Council. Continue Reading