European Union Elections Draw Closer


In just over a week, from the 6th to the 9th of June, voters in all 27 European Union (EU) member states will head to the polls to elect their representatives (MEPs) in the European Parliament, the world’s “only directly elected transnational assembly.” With roughly 400 million individuals eligible to vote across the bloc, the EU holds the second-largest democratic elections in the world, behind only India, who boast an electorate of nearly 1 billion. The elections are held every 5 years, meaning that this year’s edition will be the first since the Covid-19 pandemic, and the first since the United Kingdom’s exit from the union was made official following the ‘Brexit’ referendum. It will also be the first election since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, an issue likely to be at the forefront of many voters’ minds.

The European Parliament, located in Strasbourg, is the EU’s “only democratically elected institution,” and is the bloc’s law-making body. The Parliament’s role is that of a co-legislator, with “the power to adopt and amend legislative proposals and to decide on the EU budget,” a duty shared with the European Council. It also acts as a supervisor of the European Commission along with other EU bodies, working alongside the national parliaments of member states to receive input from all sides. The Parliament is currently comprised of 705 MEPs, a figure that will rise to 720 following next month’s election – each country elects a predetermined number of representatives, based on ‘degressive proportionality,’ meaning that “each MEP from a larger country represents more people than an MEP from a smaller country.” Germany will elect the most MEPs, 96, with France (81), Italy (76), and Spain (61) trailing just behind. Elections are contested in the respective member states by domestic parties, whose elected MEPs go on to join transnational parties within the Parliament itself. 

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A Rough Projection of the Incoming Cohort of the European Parliament

The European People’s Party (EPP) currently possesses the most seats, with 176 under their control, closely followed by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D), with 139 MEPs to their name, and Renew trailing behind with 102. The 2019 elections saw considerable losses for both the EPP and S&D, who relinquished 34 and 31 seats respectively, which were chiefly to the benefit of Renew, the Greens, and Identity & Democracy (ID), who gained 39, 22, and 40 seats respectively.

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Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission, is also the Leader of the European People’s Party, Who Are Expected to Retain Their Parliamentary Plurality.

Current opinion polling suggests that June’s elections will see more swings, although perhaps not as major for many parties as they have been in the past: Politico EU’s ‘Poll of Polls’ has the EPP winning 174 seats (-2 seat change), the S&D securing 144 seats (+5), Renew claiming only 85 seats (-17), ID surging to 84 seats (+10), the ECR attaining 70 seats (+8), the Greens falling to 43 seats (-31), and ‘The Left’ dropping to 32 (-9), with a projected 41 Non Inscrits (-11). Similarly, EuropeElects’ projection has the ECR and ID making notable gains (+24 and +11, respectively), with Renew and the Greens losing out (-22 and -26, respectively). The issues chief on the minds of voters this time around are likely to be the lasting effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the current conflict between the ongoing threat of inflation that has wreaked havoc on European economies since the coronavirus, the ever-present threats of climate change and migration, as well as the matter of artificial intelligence, which has come to the forefront in recent years.

While the EU’s electorate is one of the largest in the world, the elections tend to be notable for their turnout, or lack thereof – only once since 1999 has turnout been above 50%, at 50.66% in 2019. According to Philipp Schulmeister, director for European Parliament campaigns, “The 2019 election was a turning point,”, describing it as “the beginning of a change that (he) expect(s) to continue in 2024.” A higher voter turnout strengthens the democratic nature of the EU. As such, The Stork urges all EU citizens at IE to vote this coming June. For more information on how & where to vote, visit the EU Elections website for a country-by-country breakdown.

Cover Image: ‘Use Your Vote’ Has Been the Main Slogan for the Upcoming Elections, Seen Here at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France

Toby Tilley
Toby Tilley
Hi! I'm Toby, a 2nd-Year International Relations student, currently in Segovia. My family is mostly from the United Kingdom, but I was born and raised in the United States, just outside of New York City.

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