The European elections will be held across all member states from 6 – 9 June 2024. Held once every five years, the elections will not only determine the new Members of the European Parliament, but also indirectly affect the make-up of the European Commission. The number of seats will be increased from 705 to 720 seats.
The elections, which are open to EU citizens, will elect representatives from local political parties who align themselves with one of the political groups in the European Parliament (or stand as non-aligned candidates).
The European Parliament (EP) is the legislative arm of the EU which, along with the Council of the European Union (Council of Ministers) , is responsible for shaping EU legislations, based on drafts proposed by the European Commission.
Politicians intending to run for the EP elections will have to pay close attention to the top topics of concern by EU citizens. According to the most recent Eurobarometer survey these were inflation and the current economic situation, followed closely by the environment in third place. Amidst rising inflation and the war in Ukraine, it will be interesting to observe how Europe’s political parties aim to achieve their climate goals while addressing the struggles of EU citizens.
Recent polls from Politico Europe and Europe Elects have shown that shake ups are expected – coalitions on the right and left are anticipated to perform well in next year’s EP election while the Greens are expected to lose up to a third of their seats, which may result in a watering down of the European Green Deal, which had received recent backlash due to its high price tag of 1 trillion . With the war in Ukraine no closer to any resolution, it will also be interesting to observe how EU politicians aim to balance between financing the Green Deal and managing the socio-economic fallout of the war.
The make-up of the European Parliament will also determine the bloc’s openness (or conversely, closedness) to international trade and investment, and indirectly decide how the European economy should grow. In general, the EPP Group and Renew Europe (currently the biggest and third largest groups in the European Parliament) are seen to be pro-business, while the S&D, Greens, and extreme left and right groups tend to have more reservations on opening up the European economy to foreign trade and investment. The EP’s International Trade Committee (INTA), in particular, has been influential in the EU’s ability to negotiate trade deals, and has been chaired by longtime S&D MEP Bernd Lange (Germany), who is likely to run again. Other influential MEPs for ASEAN like Daniel Caspary (EPP, Germany), chair of the Delegation to ASEAN and Southeast Asia, and Heidi Hautala (Greens/EFA, Finland), standing rapporteur for the EP’s relations with ASEAN, are also likely to run for elections again.