Writes: Aleksandar Krzhallovski
Last week was marked by the European Parliament elections in all 28 EU member states, including Great Britain, which is “on the way out” of the Union, but not out yet. The “broom operation” started with us in some way, with the removal of all (78) presidents of the municipal committees of SDSM, and continued with the dismissal of the Secretary General and all (6) vice-presidents of the party. In that sense, this is more like a “fire” for me now than a “broom”, because there is no clear criterion why someone is dismissed and it is still not clear how it will reflect in the echelons of power, and whether the dismissed ones will get new functions elsewhere. Let’s see how the entire operation will end, and then we will deal with it, and now let’s go back to the EU elections, which were more interesting.
The results are already known and fairly finite, and can be summarized as follows, according to the existing and possibly new groups in the European Parliament (conditionally referred to as far left (FL), center-left (CL), centrist groups (C), center-right (CD), right (D), far right (FR), ending with non-inscrits and others (NI):
|FL||NGL||Nordic Green Left (e.g. Syriza)||52||39||-13|
|CL||S&D||Socialists and Democrats (Laborists/Corbyn)||191||146||-45|
|C||LD||Liberal Democrats (ALDE & R/Macron)||67||109||+42|
|CR||EPP||European People’s Party (CDU/Merkel)||221||180||-41|
|R||ECR||Conservatives and Reformists (Tory/T. May)||70||59||-11|
|FR||FDD||Freedom and Direct Democracy (Farage)||48||54||+6|
|FR||ENF||Nationalists (NL/Salvini, NR/Le Pen)||37**||58||+21**|
* According to the previous elections in 2014 (there are small crossings over the years)
** They have not had a parliamentary group yet, or the composition has changed
At first glance, there are dramatic differences between the current parliamentary composition and what is shown by the election results, especially in view of the fact that the previous two leading groups experienced a drastic fall (the central right, i.e. the European People’s Party – EPP have 41 seats less, and the central left – Socialists and Democrats, even 45 MPs less). But they continue to be leading groups and of course (will participate in the formation of the parliamentary majority and the election of the European Commission).
However, after 40 years of duopoly, that is, participation in the management of the European Union as a coalition partner (although conditionally said they are on the different side of the political spectrum, i.e. right and left, or repainted on our case, it is like VMRO -DPMNE and SDSM as the two largest parties, also one right, the other left, to rule together since the independence of Macedonia), a third or a fourth bloc in the power-sharing will now have to be included. It is very likely that this would be the centrist blocks of the Liberal Democrats and/or the Greens, and perhaps both, to reach the two-thirds majority for major reforms, although theoretically, the simple majority can be reached with involvement of the right-wingers C&R), which include British conservatives (the Tories of former Prime Minister Theresa May).
This seems to be the most logical way to reach a compromise on power-sharing in the new composition of the Parliament, especially since all these want to avoid nationalists and populists, who, although they have received quite a number of deputies now, have not yet reached the figures they themselves expected (and a lot of polls predicted it). However, the two right-front groups (FDD and ENF) together already have over 100 MPs (more precisely 112) and if they succeed in joining, they will represent a third political force in Europe. In addition, there are announcements for possible joining of the Hungarian party Fidesz of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and it is not impossible another right-wing party to join (for example, those from Poland led by Kaczynski, now in the group of Conservatives and Reformists, weakened with the bad result of the British partner, so it is possible to blend into the EPP or FDD), as the young Northern League leader in Italy is ambitious, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini (aiming at a group of about 150 MPs, thus it would be the second biggest, and if at that “reduce” in the composition of the EPP, as in the case of Orban, it is not impossible to become the largest group). On the other hand, one of their features is xenophobia, which is reflected in the campaign by “scaring” voters with migrants, but is basically resistance to everything outside their nation, including their European neighbors. Or in other words, they hate everyone else, so they hate similar to themselves from other European countries. By using a phrase from our elections – they have a small coalition capacity, so it is not very likely that they will be able to form a larger group in the European Parliament.
So, all in all, although the political map of the European Union seems to have changed a lot, it is basically pretty much the same, or as the English would say – the more of the same. And it is to be expected that the EPP candidate for President of the European Commission Manfred Weber will be the frontrunner for that post. But, of course, it will not be that easy, because he himself stated/acknowledged that the support for the right “has narrowed down”, on the other hand, the candidate of the left, that is, Social Democrats, Frans Timmermans, has won an unexpected victory in the Netherlands, and in this sense has increased legitimacy over Webber. Liberal Democrats are here, too, strengthened by French President Macron, who, although finished second on his territory, behind the nationalist Marine Le Pen, has already announced the ambitions of the lead commissioner to be precisely the leading candidate Margrethe Vestager.
In any case, there will be interesting political groupings and coalition negotiations over the next month, until the new European Parliament is constituted.
In the meantime, and based on the election results, by the end of June, or at the latest in July we will see if we will finally get the decision to start the negotiations for membership in the Union. Personally, I do not believe, however, the statements so far have been discouraging, and the forces have not changed so much (and they have not changed much “to good”, although it is better than expected), so that such a decision is difficult to reach – especially the EU’s priority will be the creation of the new Parliament and then the Commission. But let’s hope I am wrong!
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