Brexit Delay Could Benefit Left in European Elections

European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans answers questions from members of the European Parliament in Brussels, April 26, 2017
European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans answers questions from members of the European Parliament in Brussels, April 26, 2017 (European Parliament)

The delay of Brexit could benefit the European left in elections in May.

A poll conducted by Hanbury Strategy for Open Europe found that the British Labour Party could win nearly 38 percent support and close to thirty seats in Strasbourg.

That would make theirs the largest delegation in the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), surpassing the German Social Democrats, and close the gap with the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), which stands to gain nothing from Brexit. Theresa May’s Conservatives group with the mildly Euroskeptic European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) instead.

Britain will need to hold European elections if it is still in the EU next month. Read more

European Far Right Fails to Unite

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy's Northern League, gives a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, March 15, 2017
Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s Northern League, gives a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, March 15, 2017 (European Parliament)

Only three other parties turned up in Milan on Monday, where Italy’s Matteo Salvini had announced the launch of a broad Euroskeptic campaign for the European elections in May.

The attendants were the nationalist parties of Denmark and Finland as well as the Alternative for Germany.

Their counterparts from Austria, France, Hungary, Poland and the Netherlands did not show up. Read more

The Euroskeptic Contradiction

A man walks in front of European country flags
A man walks in front of European country flags (European Parliament/Michael Moscholios)

Euroskeptics complain that the European Union is not democratic enough. But more democracy in the EU would mean taking power away from the member states, which is not what they want either.

It’s a contradiction at the heart of the Euroskeptic argument that allows them to damn the EU if it does and damn the EU if it doesn’t. Read more

What the European Election Polls Reveal

The European Parliament building in Strasbourg, France, March 8, 2016
The European Parliament building in Strasbourg, France, March 8, 2016 (European Parliament)

Expect to read this headline a lot between now and the European elections in May: “Euroskeptics to take fifth of European Parliament seats.”

It sounds scary, but it’s really not much of a change and what’s happening on the pro-European side is more interesting. Read more

Europe’s Primary Season

Leadership candidates Manfred Weber and Alexander Stubb enter the stage at a European People's Party conference in Helsinki, Finland, November 7
Leadership candidates Manfred Weber and Alexander Stubb enter the stage at a European People’s Party conference in Helsinki, Finland, November 7 (EPP)

I write about “Europe’s Primary Season” for the Atlantic Council’s New Atlanticist blog. Manfred Weber and Alexander Stubb are vying to become the leading candidate of the conservative European People’s Party (EPP) in next year’s European Parliament elections. The winner would be in a strong position to claim the presidency of the European Commission.

Weber, who has been endorsed by his country’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, is the favorite, but Stubb has mounted a spirited campaign. Read more