Written by 1:04 pm Highlighted side bottom, Politics

These European elections will have a huge impact, more than voters realise

Migration, climate, international trade, competition policy, agriculture, nature… It is Europe that…

Migration, climate, international trade, competition policy, agriculture, nature, … It is Europe that sets the framework within which most of the national legislation is shaped. This is not done by unelected technocrats, but by the parliamentarians and governments that the voter will send to Brussels on June 9.

If governments are forced to start restructuring public finances, this will not be out of self-discipline, but because Europe is imposing stricter budgetary discipline. That is not a decision by unelected technocrats, but an agreement approved by the European Parliament and all European governments. In other words, by the representatives whom the European voters have voted into parliament or national governments. If a government in Belgium or the Netherlands has to further reduce nitrogen emissions and over-fertilization from agriculture, this will not be out of love for nature. No, it will happen because nature is protected by European legislation. That too was not a decision of unelected technocrats, but of an elected European Parliament and elected national governments.

In other words, the ballot box that voters are least concerned with is the most important of all. It is Europe that sets the framework within which most national legislation takes shape. Migration, climate, international trade, competition policy, agriculture, nature, … The new composition of the European Parliament sets the course that the Member States will follow. The choice on June 9 will determine who will respond to the possible re-election of Donald Trump in the US. When asked whether, if necessary, Europe will only continue to support Ukraine against Russian aggression. When asked what relations we will maintain with China, especially if it comes to a full confrontation with the US. And especially the question of how to deal with the Trojan horses within Europe that aims to dismantle a number of liberal foundations of the EU.

The cards for those elections appear to have already been partly shuffled. The priorities for a next Commission will be defense, industrial policy and migration. It is also almost certain, according to the polls, that the liberal and green factions will lose significantly to the conservative and far-right factions. But in what form these factions will re-enter parliament is a matter of conjecture for the time being. Marine Le Pen expelled the German AfD from the far-right Identity and Democracy faction because of too much infatuation with Nazism. But Viktor Orban may find a new home there. Then ID will really be the home of Russian allies.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is well on her way to becoming the new leader of the Conservatives and Reformists. Meloni also gets along well with Ursula von der Leyen, from the Christian Democratic EPP. Does the ogling back and forth cause right-wing conservatives to move to the center, or Christian Democrats to move to the right? These are also questions that will be answered by the balance of power on June 9. Not only the potential electoral gains, but also the reallocation on the right will be the determining story that day.

Last modified: June 14, 2024