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.

This dilemma is also dogging Pittella's S&D group in the European Parliament, which has been trying to distance itself from the EPP by announcing the end of the grand-coalition, although the group is still supporting Juncker's Commission. Given the uncertainty over the path that the centre-left wing group will take, as well as the key importance of S&D in shaping legislation at the EU level, we have conducted an ‘X-ray’ of the group that shows the differences between its national delegations and provides insights into the future of this group in the run up to (and after) the next EU elections.

Is the British Labour Party often voting alongside the majority of its group?  Is the German Social Democratic Party close to the positions of the Greens? How often does the Romanian Social Democratic Party disagree with the positions of its group? Is the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party closer to the liberals or to the left? What is the role of Costa's Portuguese Socialist Party in the group? Is Pittella likely to succeed in his bid to replace the grand-coalition with the EPP with an alternative progressive coalition? What would happen if Renzi's Democratic Party decided to leave the group?

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This analysis is part of a series of reports that map the positions adopted by specific Members of the European Parliament (see our previous report on MEP Pietikäinen and MEP Rolin), national parties, and political groups (we already conducted an X-ray of the ALDE group). VoteWatch will provide extensive research into the positions and work of EU Parliamentarians at an increasing frequency between now and the 2019 European elections.

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