European Elections 2019: What can we learn from the past?

Cillian Totterdell, Jacques Foul

As Europe looks towards the 2019 European elections, FleishmanHillard has analysed what we can learn from the past.

The upcoming European elections will be part of a broader year of change which will see a new Commissions President, a new Commission and a new Council President by the end of the year.

The European Parliament (EP) has evolved over the last two mandates. We notice an increasingly fractured centre and a shift towards more right wing populist parties. To better understand these dynamics, we produced an animated video that explains this evolution and what it means for businesses in Europe.

In this video, Cillian Totterdell mentions that “in the European Parliament of 10 year ago, you’ll find that the centre is strong. Between them the EPP and S&D hold together about 60% of the seats. Taking into account centrist ALDE and centre right ECR, that number grows to about 80%. This was probably the peak of the grand coalition in which centrist parties coordinated on positions.”

He then adds that while only 7% of seats migrated towards the far right in the 2014 European elections, this proved to be decisive in the far right’s ability to influence the EP’s agenda. More consequences include the centre’s instability, the collapse of the “grand coalition” and the rise of populists parties in the EP.

Yet, what can we expect for the future? Nothing is certain.

To this point, Totterdell explains that “a big caveat here is whether or not parties will stay aligned with same groups,” especially with the arrival of En Marche, which might join ALDE or form its own group in the EP.

Totterdell also mentions the possibility of seeing:

  • Legislation becoming more difficult to get through in the EP
  • A deeper fracture in the centre
  • A lack of shared common values on bigger questions such as the Future of Europe

With all this in mind, businesses will need to reach out to a wider number of stakeholders to get their voices heard. This situation certainly gives them a clear opportunity to prepare practical solutions on the Future of Europe.

If you’re interested in learning more about the complex party dynamics that are likely to have an impact on the upcoming elections, read Totterdell’s recent article published on The Parliament Magazine website.

Also, join the discussion with our #FHYearofChange hashtag on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also read more on our Year of Change video series which will bring you closer to the changes happening in 2019.