After The Elections: The Limits to Growth of Political Influence of Eurosceptics

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-7-5-15

M. Strezhneva (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation;
D. Moiseeva (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Abstract. Elections to the European Parliament to be held in May 2019 became a true political contest for the first time. Their results will influence further institutional reforms in the European Union, as well as have a decisive impact on prospects for democratization of the EU political system. Expert community does not doubt that with these elections we shall see the end of the long-term duopoly of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats in the EP, while the numbers of its Members (MEPs) representing populist radical parties of the right, will grow substantially. This article proposes constituencies, ballot type and distribution of seats. The authors scrutinize the effect of each variety and show which of them favour mainstream parties and which are more favourable to small (radical) parties. It is argued that these varieties may have some impact on the final allocation of seats in the EP. Furthermore, it is widely used by some national governments in order to withstand further radicalization of the European Parliament. Special attention is paid to the expectable transformations of the European party groups. To begin with, the schism of the most numerous European People’s Party (EPP) cannot be excluded, once it loses its own Eurosceptical wing. Second, the future of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy party group remains undecided, as it depends on participation within its ranks of the United Kingdom Independence Party. At the same time, representatives of populist and radical parties can unite, thus launching a serious challenge against the mainstream parties, standing for European integration. An onward analysis of the new political dynamics in the integrated Europe is built in the article around the outlook for the appointment at the end of 2019 or a bit later of the new president of the European Commission, the key institution in the European system of governance, to be determined by the decision of the European Council and the European Parliament. This analysis leads to a conclusion that in fact, the chances of Manfred Weber from the European People’s Party, generally regarded as a frontrunner of the present electoral race, are not as sound as it appears.

Keywords: European Parliament, Eurosceptics, Spitzenkandidat, European People’s Party, Brexit Party, deliberative democracy, European Commission, European party groups, D’Hondt method


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For citation:
Strezhneva M., Moiseeva D. After The Elections: The Limits to Growth of Political Influence of Eurosceptics. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 7, pp. 5-15.

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