The Parliament's latest print issue is out

Our July edition unpacks the results of the EU elections, while looking ahead to key policy priorities for the upcoming mandate.

A far-right surge it was not – at least not in Brussels.  

Mainstream parties largely held the line when EU citizens cast their vote for the European Parliament in early June. The centre-right European People’s Party gained 13 new seats, giving it 189 MEPs out of 720, the most of any parliamentary group. The centre-left Socialists & Democrats held onto 136 seats, losing just three.  

“The traditional parliamentary majority that has been running the European Union in the past 30 years has a pretty safe base to build on in the new legislative cycle,” said Alberto Alemanno, founder of The Good Lobby advocacy group. “The power will stay in the hands of the usual political parties.”  

Still, right-wing parties made solid inroads, notably at the expense of the liberals and the Greens. Giorgia Meloni’s European Conservatives and Reformists ultimately emerged as the third-biggest group in the new Parliament – gaining 14 seats for a total of 83 – behind the EPP and S&D. But what kind of leverage will it actually give the Italian prime minister, particularly as centrist EU leaders appeared to coalesce around a package of top EU jobs for the next mandate?  

The European Council convened just as this magazine was going to print, with national leaders poised to reappoint European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for a second term – paving the way for a likely parliamentary confirmation in mid-July.  

Meloni was furious at being left out of the backroom haggling, reportedly calling the EU “an invasive bureaucratic giant” and warning that any deal reached without ECR would be “a mistake.”  

There is a risk, however, that business as usual in Brussels might put it out of step with national governments, after far-right parties notched major victories in Italy, France and Germany. And unlike the embattled German and French leaders – Emmanuel Macron’s snap elections for the National Assembly get under way on 30 June – Meloni was the only one of the three to be strengthened by the results, with her Brothers of Italy party garnering 28 per cent of the Italian vote.  

That means she still has “a once in a lifetime opportunity to leave a mark,” according to political analyst Matteo Albania.  

He added: “It will not happen again so easily that far right parties will score so well in the three major EU countries, and that Italy can have more room for tactical manoeuvring than France and Germany.” 

— Christopher Alessi, Editor-in-Chief