en.png | FR | IT

CORPORATE & PUBLIC AFFAIRS

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

Voltaire

News

European elections 2014

Published on 05/26/2014 at 15h14

Overview of the results of the European elections and outlook

26 May 2014

 

 

  1. Analysis of the results in France

Although expected to be lower than in 2009 (40.6%), the voter turnout was ultimately slightly higher, reaching a level of 42.5%. The score was nonetheless rather poor, due, in particular, to a lack of interest and deferred action by political parties (focusing on municipal elections), as well as to a renewed lack of involvement by the media who have put European issues aside.

 

The main result is down to the very strong breakthrough by the National Front (FN), anticipated from opinion polls and our various sources for the past few months but further intensified in the ballot. With 25% of votes (24 MEPs), the party topped the polls nationwide for the first time. It has also confirmed its hold throughout the country gaining the lead in 71 départements (counties) and 16 regions.

These results also mark a relative failure for the UMP, with a score slightly below expectations (20.8% compared with 28% in 2009, i.e. 20 MEPs) and significant widening of the gap with the FN. Above all, it is a bitter defeat for the PS (Socialist Party).  With a declining score already in 2009 (16.5%), it has now fallen even lower gaining only 13.9% of votes this time round (13 MEPs). In addition, the Verts (Green Party) and Européens (Europeans -Modem + UDI), which most openly campaigned in favour of Europe, also took a tumble, with 8.8 and 9.7% of votes (6 and 7 MEPs).

 

This result has also dealt a hefty blow to French influence in the European Parliament, which will be significantly reduced. With only 48 “eurocompatible” MEPs (UMP, PS, Modem/UDI, Verts), France will undoubtedly hold fewer positions of responsibility (committee presidents, political group coordinators, rapporteurs).

Despite this disturbing observation, France’s integration into the European Union is still a guarantee of its own economic and political security and stability. Moreover, while France has come out of the elections in a weaker political position, it nonetheless still has an important role to play, retaining its full weight in the Council of Ministers.

  1. Analysis of results on a European level

On a European level, the voter turnout ultimately stabilised at 43.1%, compared with 43% in 2009. However, the main message emanating from this election is one of mistrust and protestation. As a result, left and right-wing Eurosceptic / Europhobic parties saw a strong surge in popularity, with particularly appreciable increases in a number of European countries (France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain and Greece). These parties thus obtained 215 MEPs (out of 751). On the other hand, the weight of the 4 pro-European parties (PPE, S&D, ALDE and the Greens) is in sharp decline, down from 612 to 536 seats.

 

Although it lost more than 50 MEPs (211 seats), the right-wing EPP has emerged as the winner by default from this election. In point of fact, the left-wing S&D did not manage to make any progress and exceed the 200-MEP mark (193 MEPs). The ALDE (Centre) also lost 10 MEPs (74 seats) while the Greens remained at the same level (58 MEPs). From a country standpoint, Germany was the all-out winner of this election standing firm as the linchpin of stability of the European Parliament.

 

This new political landscape confirms the trend to renew the major coalition between the EPP, S&D and, probably, the ALDE. In this context, the candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission is not expected to be known for several weeks, probably at the end of June. If Jean-Claude Juncker (PPE) were not to take on Presidency of the European Commission, it might go to Martin Schulz (S&D). In all likelihood, Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE) would get then the European Parliament Presidency and Jean-Claude Juncker could aim for the European Council position.

 

  1. Political, institutional and legislative outlook

The next European Commission will be established by 1 November 2014 at the latest. Over and above new specific priorities to be set out by the future President of the Commission, several ongoing and long-term political and legislative dossiers will have to be taken on board.

On a political level:

  • At the instigation of the upcoming Italian Presidency of the Council, the Commission could be asked to give thought to a new European Treaty that could integrate and provide solutions to the limits of previous documents: more flexible and liberal in terms of growth policies.

 

  • Find a compromise for the new growth policy tools and models to be implemented in Europe in order to resolve the adverse effects of the crisis and restart growth. This involves identifying and supporting alternative models to austerity policies, capable of restarting economic growth and, at the same time, enabling control to be maintained over public finances.

 

  • Redefine and relaunch the capacity of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in order to reassert the unity of the Union on an international level.

 

  • Initiate the social Europe project: in June 2014, the European Commission is to issue its very first recommendations for a social policy in the context of reinforcement of the 2014 “European Semester” for economic policy coordination, in a document entitled the “Social Monitoring Report”. The Commission will propose measures to make progress in 5 areas, identified as priorities: poverty, inequality, household income, unemployment rates and youth unemployment.

 

  • Reinforce European policy to fight tax fraud and evasion with increased control over the banking sector.

 

The principal ongoing regulations projects:

  • Trade: the next Commission will be responsible for successfully negotiating the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) free trade agreements, the deadline of which is set for 2016, in a political context strongly affected by the “NSA” spying scandals.

 

  • Climate: in the perspective of the Paris Climate Change 2015 Conference (COP21) taking place in December 2015 to determine the responses to be set in motion on an international scale to combat global warming. In less than a year, the next Commission will have to find a compromise within the EU to reinforce its positioning by this date.

 

  • Energy: the recent upsurge of tension between Russia and the EU in the context of the uprisings in the Ukraine has led the Commission to initiate a review of energy security strategy, to take place on 28 May. This strategy will be based on the need to assess the stress resistance of our energy market, the need to reinforce its interdependency and the importance of supporting all available types of energy resources. Moreover, the next Commission will have to take over the 2030 Energy-Climate dossier.

  • Telecoms: the Commission will have to conclude the work on the Directive for a European Single Market for Telecoms with the Parliament and Council.

>>> Download here