The results of the elections to the European Parliament will determine for years ahead the political balance on the continent: details of the elections, why Russia spends millions to support eurosceptics" />

New European Parliament has more EU supporters than opponents

The results of the elections to the European Parliament will determine for years ahead the political balance on the continent: details of the elections, why Russia spends millions to support eurosceptics

The first forecast of the results of the elections to the legislative body of the European Union, the European Parliament, has been published – the majority of seats have gone to MEPs who are for European integration.

The European People’s Party will likely take the most seats, with 173 MEPs.

In second place is the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats with 147 seats.

Third place goes to the movement of French President Emmanuel Macron in alliance with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (102 places).

The Green Party took 71 seats.

All of the above are parties that support the preservation of the European Union in its current form, and they received in total 493 of the 751 seats in the European Parliament.

Party members celebrate during the Liberal party (Liberalerna) election night watch party in Stockholm, Sweden on May 26, 2019. TT News Agency/Fredrik Sandberg/via REUTERS

Populist and ultra-right parties from France and Italy, opposing the European Union, will receive 57 seats – this is 20 more than at the elections in 2014, but absolutely not enough to take concrete measures.

In France, the right-wing National Unity party, Marine Le Pen, will receive one place more in the European Parliament than the La République – En March! of Emmanuel Macron: 24 against 23.

In Germany, the CDU / CSU alliance of Angela Merkel, which supports the European Union, won the election, although it had the worst results in its history.

Context

An intense confrontation between supporters and opponents of the European Union was expected in upcoming elections to the European Parliament, which was be held from May 23 to 26 in 28 countries of the European Union.

500 million people were eligible to vote. Many experts say that after these elections, polarisation in the European Union will become even stronger, though many also predicted that the majority of the seats in the parliament would be obtained by parties that support the idea of strengthening the European Union

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Politico predicted the following parliamentary layout.

465 seats for parties that support the EU

255 seats for parties that are against the EU

More on how important this election is below.

Brussels, 26 April 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

What will be decided on in these elections?

Among the supporters of the European Union, the two strongest European leaders are primarily German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Among the opponents of the European Union, one can name Italian Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen, the UK Brexit proponent Nigel Farage and the Alternative for Germany party.

At the center of the controversy are two issues that most concern European voters: illegal migration and the state of the economy.

What does Russia have to do with it?

Many media outlets in Europe and the UK predict that Russia will attempt to sow discord during the elections.

“Putin regards the elections to the European Parliament as an opportunity to restore the position of Russia in Europe,” writes the newspaper The Telegraph.

Euobserver writes that the main targets of propaganda and misinformation campaigns in social networks will be Germany, France and Italy. It is the residents of these three largest member states of the European Union who will elect one-third of the 751 members of the European Parliament.

Moscow has already stepped up support for euro-skeptic parties, writes Euobserver:

“Putin’s government spends £250 million a year on misinformation, most of which goes to the European Union. The Kremlin sees elections as a chance to sow political division throughout the continent before a possible invasion of Belarus or the Baltic states.”

In 2017, NATO and 10 European Union members, including France and Germany, created a counter-propaganda center to counter the ‘hybrid threat’ in Finland. Similar subdivisions of NATO are working in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the Times notes.

What is the European Parliament?

The European Parliament is one of the three bodies responsible for legislative activity in the European Union.

The other two are the Council of Europe and the European Commission.

The Council of Europe is composed of representatives from all member countries, and the European Commission is an executive body (like the government). Both have the right of legislative initiative.

In order for any law in the European Union to be adopted, the consent of both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe is necessary.

Also members of the European Parliament elect the chairman of the European Commission.

The European Parliament does not have executive functions, but this body is important in determining common political directions.

Of the most notable recent decisions of the European Parliament, it is worth highlighting the rejection of mobile roaming in the European Union and the ban on the use of disposable plastic.

In numbers

500 million voters from 28 countries will decide on 751 parliamentary seats.

In past elections, the average for the European Union voter turnout was 43 per cent.

The largest representation in the European Parliament is held by Germany, with 96 seats.

Malta has the smallest representation, with just six spots in the body.

Any EU citizen has the right to run for office in any of the countries belonging to this organization.


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