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

The uncertain path of S&D: grand coalition or progressive alliance?

Despite its repeatedly announced opposition to join another government led by Angela Merkel’s CDU, German SPD recently softened its position on the matter and agreed to participate in the negotiations for another grand coalition. This also highlights the difficult situation the Social Democratic family is facing in Europe. On one hand, S&D parties are trying to shift to the left in order to recover the lost popular consensus, while on the other hand, the increasing political instability and rise of Euroscepticism often lead them to join grand-coalitions with center-right parties, as a way of breaking domestic political deadlocks. Continue Reading

What can the EU expect from the German federal election?

The future of many EU policies largely depends on the outcome of German election in September. Indeed, the potential end of the grand coalition, made up of the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democrats, could alter the position of Berlin on issues such as the EU defence policy and the future of the Eurozone.

According to its supporters, the grand coalition brought harmony and balance to German politics. Continue Reading

Why Schulz’s return to Germany is good for the European Union

A President of the European Parliament goes back to national politics. Martin Schulz has spent 22 years in EU politics, being contemporary with events that have torn apart Europe. He experienced the adoption of euro, the failure of the Constitutional Treaty, as well as the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, the Greek debt crises, the migration crisis, Brexit and rise of nationalism in Europe. Continue Reading

[Update] Who will replace Schulz?

Note: this analysis, originally published in October, was updated to take into account the latest developments up to 24 November 2016.

Who will replace Schulz ?

The decision by Martin Schulz not to seek a third mandate as the President of the European Parliament cast uncertainty on the future direction of the institution. The top European People’s Party and Socialists leaders might have felt comfortable keeping Schulz as EP President, while Tusk is reelected Council President next year, in order to avoid rocking the European boat during these difficult times. Continue Reading

MEPs’ deck of cards: who are the most influential ones?

A couple of weeks ago, VoteWatch Europe published an assessment of the most influential MEPs, which was based on a set of criteria weighted by more than 200 experts in EU Affairs. Drawing on that research, we designed a set of cards in order to highlight which are the most influential MEPs by activity. In fact, MEPs are influential in different ways and sometimes it might be very tricky to draw a comparison between their activities. Continue Reading