September 17, 2018
Guest post by Dan Luca, Senior Director at EURACTIV
I really like Mr. Juncker… Like a wise man in the Tibetan villages, he tried in the so-called State of the Union a few days ago to show us what we already knew. A small recap before the exam (European elections), a good PowerPoint, where the entire European Commission has made it politically correct… What’s next now? He is preparing to close the European executive soon, for the inventory, to leave room to true European leaders, European elections and other crises that he is certainly not responsible for…
On this ground we build Europe on a struggle between the national powers and the community structure. A fight began in the 1950s with prerogatives and subsidiarity… The crisis over the past 10 years has shown us an essential paradox. Citizens, Europeans, have called on the “European institutions” to resolve the economic and financial crisis, but the answer was “the economic segment is of national competence”. And it is right… But ordinary people now say “why should we vote in the European elections?”, “Why should we trust European leaders with no competences?” And again I give them justice. The dilemma of the current European construction is that we have reached the middle of the road and the unfinished work is causing problems.
Brexit helps us to understand that we cannot be in two places at the same time… We either build a solid European Union with a common foreign policy, with common defense capability, with common industrial policies, or we should stay only with the idea of a common market and we are no longer deluding. Whoever did a little bit of politics knows that the answer is not yes, but neither no… And that will happen next year. The matrix of representation in the future European Parliament will return, political doctrines will only play a guiding role, and we will have four parliamentary groups totally different from what we now have.
Let me sketch the future of the European Parliament:
- The Radical Federalists Group, led by Guy Verhofstadt, the current ALDE leader. With a score of about 10%.
- The Pro-European Group, in which we will have the Merkel’s party (German Christian Democrats) and the many other parties from the current EPP. In addition, however, we will also have Macron’s Movement here. Together, we will have many MEPs, about 40% of the room.
- Followed by the Moderate Intergovernmental Group, with parties such as Orban’s one, maybe the Polish from PiS, focused on parties in power in the Visegrad Group. I think they’ll get around 20% here.
- And the most vocal, anti-European group will continue to exist within a cluster formed by the current ECR foundation, but weakened by the departure of the Brits. We will have around 15% in this formation.
- Normally, there will be small groups not related to the four most current ones, but in total no more than 15%.
This revolution of the European representation will bring us several fundamental questions:
- What is the impact on European political parties? What is their correspondence with such political groups in the European Parliament?
- What is happening at the level of the political parties in the member countries? Do they risk having MEPs and then “losing” them to different groups at European level? It does not work that way…
- What is the mechanism for electing/appointing the new President of the European Commission?
- How will the future European Commission function if we have European commissioners coming from “intergovernmental parties”? Actually, we have such a situation in the current Commission, but he hid chameleonic in the system… I let you find it yourself…
- And to be even deeper, what is the impact on national parliaments of such a segmentation of the European legislature?
However, I do not think that a concept of European supra-nationality, of European patriotism, will catch. Please ask a supporter of Mr. Macron’s party if he wants the European Union to be world champion in football or “Les Bleus“? Reality checks…
Dan LUCA has been active in Brussels since 1997. In 2001 he began working for EURACTIV. He now teaches at several European universities in Brussels and Romania.Guest contributor