They could even play one anti-European party against another — using tactics similar to those that have divided the mainstream. The former does not conceal his admiration for Putin, while the latter views Russia as posing the greatest threat to his country. Unsurprisingly, they also disagree on NATO. Some anti-Europeans are reluctant to address climate change, while others are not. And while anti-immigrant parties in central and southern Europe including those in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, and Spain are deeply conservative about social issues — such as LBGT rights — this is not always the case for comparable parties in western and northern Europe.
The mainstream should emphasise these differences, with the goal of destroying the image of a monolithic anti-European alliance that Bannon, Salvini, Le Pen, and others are trying to create to promote confidence in the viability of the alternative they believe they offer. Anti-European parties have accurately observed that, so far, European countries have been disunited on migration. This is why, during the campaign, pro-European parties should put forward practical policies that enable the EU to cope with the political challenge of migration without putting European values at risk.
At the same time, pro-Europeans should not let themselves become entangled in an all-encompassing debate on migration. Instead, they should try to extend the discussion to areas such as foreign policy, climate change, security and defence, growth, and jobs, issues on which nationalists are either much more divided or much less appealing, or simply have little to say. They should make clear that a vote for nationalist parties — as novel and exciting as this may seem — has significant effects in the real world. Most anti-Europeans heavily criticise the EU for allegedly being an elitist project, undermining national sovereignty, and imposing heavy costs on individual countries.
For the left, liberals are to blame for promoting free trade, globalisation, and austerity policy. For the right, liberals damage traditional values and ignore the dangers posed by migrants, secularism, and changes in gender roles. They are particularly suspicious of multilateralism, as expressed in the Paris climate agreement and the Marrakesh migration pact. And — despite the cautionary tale of Brexit — many of them continue to lure citizens with a promise that their countries can exit the EU without incurring major costs.
Support for anti-European and anti-establishment messages has been growing beyond the core electorate of the far right and the far left, for at least three reasons. Before the Brexit referendum, many political commentators believed that voters would gravitate towards the status quo in a pivotal election out of fear of the unknown. But the political landscape has changed: recent national elections in France, Germany, Sweden, and Italy have shown that Europeans are increasingly willing to gamble with a vote against the establishment.
Anti-European forces have been successful in constructing an image of EU institutions as distant, ineffective apologists for a ruthless process of globalisation, and as responsible for much of the hardship that voters have endured in the past decade due to austerity, increased migration, and growing insecurity. Moreover, national elections may underrepresent the level of risk that voters could be willing to take in May , given that Europeans generally see EP elections as being of secondary importance.
The effect of this is twofold, increasing the potential for cooperation between the centre-right and the far right, and making the leap from mainstream parties to their populist rivals appear smaller. But this is a perfect example of a technocratic solution to a political problem. National and EU institutions will need to play a role in halting the progress of nationalists across Europe. Political parties on the national and European levels must do most of the work. Arguably, one of the main reasons behind the rise of the far left and the far right in almost all parts of Europe is that mainstream parties have often become too indistinguishable from one another.
Attempts to unite the left and the right in a kind of pragmatic alliance have been, at best, disappointing and, at worst, dangerously disruptive for established channels of political activism as is currently seen in countries such as the Czech Republic, Italy, and France. The success of pro-European parties will also depend on whether they can mobilise the silent pro-European majority through the issues that they care about enough to vote on them. To do this, they need a far deeper understanding of what Europeans are currently feeling as well as thinking, and what this means for how pro-European parties should communicate with them.
There are many lessons they should learn from the populists themselves. Rather than simply fight defensively on the issues that anti-Europeans favour, pro-European forces should be creative in constructing an image of a reinvigorated, hopeful European project.
And they should frame the election debate in each national setting according to the issues that voters want the EU to deal with there. Our research across the EU27 suggests that there are at least five different approaches that could mobilise pro-Europeans:. All in all, political parties should not shy away from looking for novel approaches that reflect their political orientation while enabling them to move the debate onto a wide spectrum of issues.
In the three countries in which anti-Europeans lead the government rather than just pose a distant political threat — Poland, Hungary, and Italy — there are strong reasons for the pro-European forces to emphasise their unity. The Polish opposition must emphasise this if it is to stand a chance of defeating PiS in the EP election, and to establish a lead ahead of a national parliamentary election in autumn this year.
In Hungary, the opposition is much weaker than its Polish counterpart. The situation in Italy is much less clear-cut than that in either Poland or Hungary: there are sharp divisions within the government separate to those between it and the pro-European parties of the centre-left and the centre-right opposition. The battle of ideas in which Europeans are engaged will doubtlessly continue after the EP election. But the result of the May contest will largely set the boundaries of this battle for years to come.
The key battles in May will take place in Germany, France, Italy, Poland, and Spain, which collectively account for more than 50 percent of EP seats. Nonetheless, preserving a pro-European majority in the EU in the medium and long term will require hampering the rise of nationalists elsewhere, from Sweden and the Netherlands to Estonia and Croatia.
In this sense, pro-Europeans from all EU member states have no time to lose. EU heads of state and government plan to adopt a new document on the future of Europe at an informal summit in Sibiu, Romania, in May But these efforts are insufficient given the task at hand. Pro-European parties and groupings should realise that the fight is now under way. If they allow Eurosceptics to seize the initiative and frame the discussion, and gain further political momentum at home, this will be a strategic error they cannot recover from.
Susi Dennison is a senior policy fellow at ECFR and director of the European Power programme, which focuses on the strategy, politics, and governance of European foreign policy at this challenging moment for the international liberal order. Pawel holds a PhD in economics and an MA in international relations.
The authors would like to thank the Open Society Foundation, without whose financial support this research would not have been possible. This report relies more than anything on the tireless work of our 27 researchers across the EU, to whom the authors are deeply indebted. Go back to the list of member states. Turnout at the last two EP elections in Austria stood at percent. It is unlikely to go beyond that level in — despite the higher than usual stakes of the vote.
There are usually no surprises in Austrian EP elections given that they normally see experienced politicians running for the main parties. At the same time, the ruling coalition may refrain from putting too much emphasis on the poll as Austrian voters have often used EP elections as an occasion to protest against government policy — to the benefit of opposition parties. Austria is a small political market and, therefore, it will hold a centralised political debate ahead of the EP election. Migration and security concerns will be the main topics.
In turn, the main opposition parties — liberals and social democrats — may intend to refocus the debate on socio-economic challenges and are likely to appeal for stronger European cooperation. It is likely to win seven MEP seats in Mostly in favour of migration, the rule of law, and closer European integration, it tends to be divided on the issue of trade liberalisation. Belgium and Luxembourg usually have higher turnouts in EP elections than any other country regularly more than 90 percent. Judging by the low profile of European issues in the Belgian political debate, EP elections are of little interest to voters.
That may especially be the case in due to recent fallout over the Marrakesh Pact, and given that the EP election will coincide with federal and regional elections, which most citizens consider to be much more important. This is quite paradoxical, since some of the most topical issues in the coming national ballot such as security and the refugee crisis are, to a large extent, dealt with at the EU level. Belgium along with Italy, Poland, and Ireland is one of a handful EU members that will be divided into several constituencies at the EP election.
As Flanders is a right-leaning region, migration and security should feature prominently there, especially since these will be the first federal, regional, and EP elections in Belgium since the March Brussels bombings. Wallonia is a left-leaning region where socio-economic issues will be at the heart of the debate, although migration will feature as well. Altogether, 12 different parties are projected to win one or more seats, half of them just one MEP. One dynamic that is playing out on the right of the political spectrum is crucial in Flanders.
At a federal level, this growing polarisation will likely complicate the formation of the next Belgian government: the main Flemish party, the NVA, refuses to govern with the main Walloon one, the Socialists. Bulgarians have not had an opportunity to express their support for political parties since the snap general election in March Some experts say that the outcome of EP election will decide whether another snap national election is needed in Bulgaria. This raises the stakes of the vote and may boost turnout — which was higher in at 36 percent than in most other central and eastern European EU member states.
The campaign for the EP election will focus on a mixture of national and European issues. In turn, the Bulgarian Socialist Party BSP , as the main opposition party, and right-wing United Patriots, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, may focus more on migration and border protection, exploiting a rise in anti-refugee sentiment in the country. There is a consensus among Bulgarian parties that the prospect of a multi-speed Europe should be avoided, but that they should debate the ways in which it could come about.
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms a member of the EP grouping of Liberals is often referred to as the Turkish minority party and polls third with 8 percent of the vote, which would earn it one MEP seat. All other parties are projected to compete for the one remaining Bulgarian seat in the EP.netnickhiralo.cf/map2.php
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These aside, there are strongly Eurosceptic politicians in Bulgaria — particularly within the United Patriots, which is a loose coalition of three nationalist parties the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian National Movement, and Ataka , and which serves as a junior partner in the current national government. With 9 percent support in the polls, it hopes to win one MEP seat in The three United Patriots parties are, to varying degrees, pro-Russian and Eurosceptic — but they are also mired in internal infighting. Turnout in the EP election was just 25 percent in Croatia.
That may enable his party to govern alone, without the need to enter a coalition with smaller partners. If such an election took place at the same time as the EP vote, turnout would be even higher. But it currently appears unlikely that there will be a snap election. It has, however, lost a considerable number of supporters in recent years due to internal infighting. It is projected to obtain around percent of the vote and three MEP seats. Its members do not conceal their close links to Moscow nor contact with former US presidential campaign adviser Steve Bannon and the Movement. Despite compulsory voting, turnout at EP elections has been in rapid decline in Cyprus: from 72 percent in to 44 percent in Local problems dominate the public debate, notably reunification and the current crisis with Turkey over hydrocarbon exploration.
Still, Brexit and the refugee crisis which have major implications for neighbouring Greece and Turkey have led many Cypriots to realise how dependent on EU membership their country has become. This may herald a similar or slightly higher turnout than in the last vote. This should prompt other parties to urge their supporters to vote.
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Turkey-EU relations will dominate the campaigns of each major political party in the EP election. Other topics that should also feature include economic growth and employment, security and defence, and human rights. Immigration will be discussed, but it is not a central issue given that Cyprus an island outside the Schengen Area hosts few refugees in comparison to other European countries. Currently, the party polls in fourth place, with the support of six percent of voters. More worryingly, however, it also promotes Greek nationalism and exhibits neo-fascist leanings. In , the party organised a march against Turkish Cypriots and migrants.
This year, it is widely expected to be little more than 20 percent, and only slightly higher than in Migration issues might have a mobilising effect on the electorate. But, at the same time, voters may already be tired of going to the polls: in , they have had to vote in presidential, senatorial, and local elections. Low turnout usually favours pro-European parties, whose supporters are relatively interested in European issues.
It may also enable smaller parties such as the pro-European centre-right TOP 09 party, which is currently polling below the threshold to enter parliament to vie for a seat if they invest in the campaign. A strong Eurosceptic element will feature in the EP election in the Czech Republic due to the presence of the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy party in the Czech parliament, and an overall rise in anti-refugee sentiment across the country. Migration will become the most controversial issue in the campaign, perhaps leading politicians to link it to security and the fight against terrorism.
The pro-European mainstream in the Czech Republic is currently dominated by ANO a member of the EP Liberal group , which may win twice as many votes in as any other party and obtain nine MEP seats as a result. Various degrees of Euroscepticism are evident on the Czech political scene. Supported by percent of voters, it is projected to gain one or two MEP seats. Interestingly, similar messages and an analogous pro-Russian orientation will feature in the campaign of the far-left Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, which may win one MEP seats.
Currently polling second, it should win four MEP seats. This trend is set to continue this year, with turnout higher than last time and possibly even more than 60 percent. An unusually large number of influential national politicians have announced their intention to stand. It remains to be seen whether fringe parties will again prove more popular in EP elections than in national ones, as is often the case in Denmark. Mainstream parties, including the Social Democrats, have also started competing on immigration-related issues.
Most left-wing parties will likely draw attention to climate issues. However, as a national parliamentary election is scheduled to take place in Denmark by June , this could shift the political debate to national rather than European topics particularly, if both elections occur in a short space of time. Their positions on the EU differ but, overall, they are rather reticent on whether Denmark should integrate more closely with the EU. In normal circumstances, the Social Democrats — the biggest left-wing party in Denmark, and the leader in the polls since — would be widely viewed as a moderate party.
However, after the migrant crisis and under the new leadership, it has veered towards anti-immigrant positions. It is an ally of the Sweden Democrats in the EP, Eurosceptic, and critical of institutionalised international cooperation more broadly. The far-right Red-Green Alliance which may secure a single seat is also Eurosceptic, but mostly for reasons of democratic legitimacy rather than on anti-refugee grounds.
Estonians will choose just seven MEPs in , comprising one of the four smallest delegations in the EP. Estonians consider EP elections to be a second order concern, as demonstrated by the much lower turnout in these votes Yet recent debates about Brexit and migration have boosted public interest in EU issues, which — together with the introduction of e-voting — could push turnout to more than 45 percent.
However, the EP contest could also be overshadowed by a national parliamentary election planned for March Hotly debated national issues such as tax reform may also feature. Both are members of the ALDE liberal group in the European Parliament, and they currently jointly lead in the polls with the support of around percent of voters each. In they look set to win two MEP seats each. The Centre Party has led the ruling coalition since , while the Reform Party is the main opposition force.
It is widely expected that Andrus Ansip, current European commissioner for the digital single market and vice-president of the European Commission, may head the Reform Party list. All three parties are pro-European: in favour of ever closer union, trade liberalisation, the rule of law, and migration. Its popularity has skyrocketed in the last four years. From less than 5 percent in the polls before , it now stands at almost 20 percent today. If it maintains this level of support, this anti-European not just Eurosceptic party will claim one or two MEP seats — and may also enter the next national government.
It claims to defend the sovereignty of states and national cultures. EP contests tend to generate political debate and media interest only in the weeks leading up to the election. Finns will be going to the polls in two major elections in less than six weeks. However, whether and how this will affect the electoral dynamics and turnout remains to be seen. According to Eurobarometer, the topics that Finns see as crucial European issues are counter-terrorism, climate policy and environmental protection, and security and defence policy.
However, the national parliamentary election could also have a significant impact on campaign topics. With the exception of the far-right Finns Party and the splinter party Blue Reform, Finns have a moderate attitude towards migration. All major parties would be ready to consider improving the prospects for legal migration into the EU for economic and humanitarian reasons.
Two centre-right parties — the National Coalition Party and the Centre Party — and Blue Reform together form the current ruling coalition. Blue Reform includes moderate former members of the Finns Party but it is currently polling at just percent of the vote and has no chance of winning any MEP seats. On the other side of the political spectrum, the Social Democratic Party a member of the Socialists and Democrats EP group is one of the three major parties in Finland. Polling at percent, it is also projected to win three or four MEP seats.
The Green League, supported by percent of voters, should secure one or two seats. The Finns Party has splintered during the current parliamentary term. After the departure of more moderate members, who created Blue Reform and joined the ruling coalition, the Finns Party has drifted even further towards the radical right.
Anti-refugee, Eurosceptic, and increasingly anti-globalisation, it has the steady support of around 10 percent of the electorate. This should provide it with at least one MEP. It can also expect to win one MEP seats. There is, however, no prospect of cooperation between the two, despite the fact that they both criticise the current state of the EU.
In France, EP election turnout has always been just below the EU average — around 40 percent on the last two occasions. Turnout is expected to increase to percent in , mostly due to the Europeanisation of several national issues, such as migration and the economy, under President Emmanuel Macron. Following the gilets jaunes yellow vests protests, France will likely fail to meet some of the Maastricht criteria — notably, the deficit-to-GDP ratio limit of 3 percent in The protests will have repercussions for the broader themes of the campaign, as well as for the French political landscape: the possibility of a gilets jaunes party running for the EP election should not be discounted.
The Greens — who are pro-European — should also gain six or seven seats. It is projected to win around 22 MEP seats. It is projected to win ten seats. There is a sense of responsibility associated with the EP elections among large parts of the German political class, which reflects its traditional belief in the EU system. Although Germany has more MEPs than any other country as it has the largest population in the EU , the German public still perceives EP elections as less important than national or regional ones — meaning that national issues usually dominate EP campaign debates.
This trend might continue in , especially given uncertainty over the fate of the current ruling coalition led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, and important upcoming elections in the eastern states of Brandenburg, Saxony, and Thuringia. Turnout in the EP election is projected to be at around 43 percent.
As there is no electoral threshold in the vote and the whole country constitutes a single constituency, relatively small parties will have an opportunity to win MEP seats. The party has its largest potential supporter base in eastern Germany, as does Die Linke. The EP election will signal how these changes are unfolding. Migration and border controls will be among the most high-profile topics of debate, largely due to the anti-refugee rhetoric of the far right in recent years.
Although it was disappointed with its vote share of This shift in German politics is likely to have a significant effect at the European level: the SPD is projected to lose more than ten seats, bringing its total to The Green Party is projected to capitalise on its improving fortunes at home, gaining 19 seats in the EP election. But the party is still debating this position.
This year, the party is projected to win at least 13 MEP seats. On the far left, Die Linke has a populist bent, despite generally focusing on social Europe and a humanitarian approach to asylum and migration policy. The party advocates an alternate security system to NATO — with some of its members supporting a softer policy on Russia — but has not abandoned its overall commitment to EU institutions and the euro.
Greece is one of four EU member states that has compulsory voting, which partly explains its high if declining turnout at EP elections. The EP election will coincide with regional and municipal polls in Greece, which should ensure a high turnout. There is even a possibility that the government, led by the left-wing Syriza, may call a snap parliamentary election the same day in hope of remaining in power nationally. The party expects that voters upset with austerity will cast protest votes in the EP election, but not the national one. If that happens, it should boost turnout even further — to the benefit of pro-EU parties, whose supporters are relatively unlikely to turn out.
Given the timing of regional and municipal elections, and even the chance of a general election the same day, the campaign may focus even more than usual on local and national issues. Syriza will campaign for less austerity and higher taxes on companies. The conservative New Democracy the main opposition party, which is leading in the polls may campaign for less taxation, more investment, and more Europe.
The question of EU migration policy will be debated too, particularly in the context of expectations of greater cooperation with other EU countries on the issue. Syriza — which is often seen externally as a populist left-wing party and is a member of European United Left—Nordic Green Left — currently occupies the centre-left of the political spectrum in Greece.
It should finish second and gain seven seats.
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Both parties favour deeper European integration and focus on strengthening the rule of law across the EU. However, the former is divided on the issue of migration, and the latter on trade liberalisation. It should win two EP seats. Two Eurosceptic Greek parties are expected to win seats in the EP in There is no plausible way in which these two Eurosceptic parties will collaborate.
EP elections attract significantly lower interest in Hungary than national or local elections: they had a turnout of 36 percent in and 29 percent in Most Hungarian MEPs, with some notable exceptions, are not widely known at home. Hungarians can only vote for lists at EP elections, not for individual candidates.
The ruling party seeks to strengthen its legitimacy in Europe, including on controversies about the rule of law in Hungary. As it stands, increased participation in the EP election could favour Fidesz. Current polls suggest it will receive the support of percent of active voters, or percent of the entire electorate. The government will make migration and the call to change the current EU leadership the central issues of the EP election campaign.
The same share of the population is satisfied with the efforts the government has made to address the problem. This puts opposition parties in a very difficult position. They may try to focus attention on other issues, such as corruption cases within the government. The right-wing Fidesz completely dominates the Hungarian political scene. Current polls project that it will win MEP seats in , and that its main rivals — the far-right Jobbik and the social democratic MSZP — will gain just percent and percent of the vote respectively, or MEPs each. The centre-left Democratic Coalition and the green Politics Can Be Different are projected to win percent seats and percent seat each.
It remains to be seen whether Fidesz will remain in the EPP after the vote or will join a new anti-European bloc. If the party was excluded from the EPP before May , or had its membership rights suspended, this could be an important shock in the campaign.
However, this currently looks unlikely and it is unclear what its effects would really be. Momentum — a new, pro-European centrist party established in — is polling at percent of the vote, but its urban and educated supporters may mobilise at the EP election, potentially enabling the party to secure one MEP seat. Jobbik broke up after the national parliamentary election. More extremist former members of Jobbik have established a new party, Our Home Movement, which polls at just percent currently but could eventually draw some support away from Jobbik — although with little chance of passing the 5 percent threshold needed to claim at least one MEP seat.
This should also be the case this year, with turnout almost certain to exceed 50 percent, and possibly close to 60 percent. There are three good reasons to expect a high turnout. Firstly, the EP election will coincide with local elections across the country. Secondly, the stakes are slightly higher this time following an increase in the number of Irish MEPs, from 11 to And Brexit has already had the effect of bringing greater awareness of EU issues to the Irish public.
This renewed focus on Europe should drive mainstream parties to appoint relatively high-profile candidates. The main parties will likely discuss ways to ensure that taxation remains a national competence rather than a European one, resisting proposals to introduce an EU digital tax. The ruling Fine Gael, together with the main opposition, Fianna Fail, dominate the centre-right. Both parties are in favour of further European integration, EU trade liberalisation, the rule of law, and migration.
A fourth Irish mainstream party, Labour, was once the third-largest party and the main party of the left in Ireland, but lost support after its role in the ruling coalition that imposed austerity measures after the eurozone crisis.
It currently has no MEPs and may struggle to change this in It currently polls third, at 23 percent, which should give it three MEPs. But it is still a long way from being a far-left party, and has adopted a reformist approach to Europe. Still, all its positions on these topics have a clear pro-European dimension. A new anti-EU party called Irexit Freedom to Prosper has emerged recently and will enter a candidate in the EP election — but it is a fringe initiative whose chances of success are close to zero.
This is not because European issues lack salience in the Italian public debate. This makes it virtually impossible to distinguish between purely national and European topics. Still, each of them will frame this problem differently. The PD — for which this election is an opportunity to regain some popular support — will likely provide a more pro-European message, although this risks coming across as detached from popular sentiment.
The latter two parties now form the governing coalition and, taken together, have the support of almost 60 percent of voters. In turn, support for the PD — a member of the Socialists and Democrats in the EP — has levelled off at only around 18 percent, which should give it 16 MEP seats this year, down from While a member of the Eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group in the EP, its anti-trade and anti-austerity agenda is in many respects much closer to the European radical left.
Large parts of the Five Star Movement electorate have been disappointed with its coalition with the far right. Around 40 percent of Latvian voters are expected to participate in the EP election, significantly more than the 30 percent in but short of the 54 percent five years before that. EP elections are less prominent in Latvia than national parliamentary or municipal ones. At the same time, however, MEP candidates are usually high-profile politicians, such as former prime ministers or ministers of foreign affairs.
As there are only eight seats at stake, personalities matter and people do not vote for parties per se. This should hold true in the election, particularly given that the October general election ejected from office many prominent politicians from the previous government who might now be tempted to seek MEP seats. If the catch-all Who Owns the State? KPV LV party runs a dynamic campaign, as it did in the national election, this should further increase media and voter interest in the EP election.
There will also be a debate over security and Russia, given the unstable geopolitical situation and the pro-Kremlin positions of the Latvian left. Migration and refugees were not hot topics during the last general election but MEP candidates searching for publicity may raise them. Apart from these issues, the battle will largely be about the mainstream coming under increasing pressure from two emerging parties: KPV LV and the New Conservative Party, both of which will appeal to voters who are disillusioned with EU membership and blame Latvian politicians for this perceived setback.
All political parties represented in the new Latvian parliament are pro-EU. In October , for the third time in less than ten years, Harmony won the largest vote share of any party in the national election but was again excluded from negotiations on the formation of a new government. The party is a member of the Socialists and Democrats in the EP even though it represents conservative left politics.
It may win as many as three MEP seats this year, up from its current one. KPV LV, which finished second in the general election, has so far managed not to express its opinion on the EU or foreign policy matters in general. This reflects the low level of importance Lithuanian voters attribute to these votes. Still, turnout should be percent in , because the EP election will coincide with the second round of the presidential election. The EP and presidential elections coincided four years ago, which raised turnout to 47 percent. However, this also means that the political debate ahead of the EP election will focus almost exclusively on domestic issues.
The higher the turnout, the more likely it is that votes will be distributed across a large number of parties. The presidential election is likely to dominate the EP election campaign. Nonetheless, as most presidential candidates remain strongly pro-European, it is likely that their discourse will overshadow any radical positions. Due to their absence on the Lithuanian political agenda, immigration issues are unlikely to feature in the electoral campaign. But it has only a minimal lead over the ruling party, meaning it is likely to win just MEP seats. Overall, both parties are pro-European but they are internally divided on migration and ever closer union.
Several smaller parties should get one seat each. As Lithuania has one of the most pro-European societies in the EU, there is little room for anti-European rhetoric in the public debate. This is why parties most often campaign on a socio-economic rather than an anti-European or identity-based platform. The Labour Party — which has a populist bent despite being centrist and a member of the liberal ALDE grouping — is the only major party to have used anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Order and Justice tends to adopt far-right positions and is a member of the anti-establishment, far-right Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy EP group. It is projected to win MEP seats. The Lithuanian Centre Party, another Eurosceptic group, aims to win one seat.
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It may win one seat. As citizens are obliged to vote in Luxembourg, turnout is a poor indicator of the importance they attach to EP elections. Most prominent politicians remain in national politics. European matters have only a secondary importance in the public debate. Until , EP elections and national elections took place on the same day — but a national snap election in changed this. The shift has made it easier for parties to focus their EP campaigns on European rather than national issues. Putting the EU back on track will be the major issue of the debate ahead of the EP election.
It is polling at 30 percent and looks set to win MEP seats in The Pirate Party made a surprise entry into parliament with two MPs out of 60 , although it is unlikely to pass the threshold for representation in the EP election. There is a strong consensus among mainstream parties on the rule of law, migration, and further EU integration. Trade is relatively controversial, with the two left-wing parties more critical of the existing trade system than the Democratic Party. Properly speaking, there is no far-right party in Luxembourg. Malta is one of the rare spots on the European map where EP elections generate substantial debate.
In all three elections since its accession to the EU, Malta has had the highest turnout of any member state aside from those that have compulsory voting. Still, turnout has been in steady decline, from 82 percent in to 75 percent in Its level this year should be comparable to that in the election, given the salience of European issues — such as the regulation of financial services, corruption, the rule of law, and irregular migration — in the Maltese political debate.
The EP election will also coincide with local council elections. High turnout should benefit the ruling centre-left Labour Party, which draws much of its support from relatively poor southern Malta. Government corruption and money-laundering will likely be the major topics of the EP election. After the Panama Papers revelations and the assassination by car bomb of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Nationalist MEPs called on the government to resign.
Indeed, they are the only parties to have ever won MEP seats. They currently have three each. No other party stands a chance in the EP election unless it is allied with one of them. As a result, the Democratic Party, together with the far-left Democratic Alternative, may sap votes from the Nationalist Party, thus granting Labour an even greater advantage.
However, neither stands a chance of entering the EP. Likewise, it is highly unlikely that the centre-right Nationalist Party would countenance a coalition with either of them. Democratic Alternative is the only far-left party in Malta. It builds its platform primarily on environmental issues. With the support of around 3 percent of the electorate, it has never entered the national parliament or the EP.
Among the six founding members of the EU, the Netherlands has always had the lowest turnout in EP elections. There are reasons to expect a slight increase in turnout this year in comparison to , when it stood at Still, the EP election may also be overshadowed by regional elections planned for spring The main dividing line may set pragmatically pro-European parties — conservative liberals and Christian Democrats, pro-European progressive liberals, and green leftists — against Eurosceptics on both sides of the political spectrum, particularly those on the far right that take up openly anti-EU positions and call for the Netherlands to leave the EU.
A few other parties in the Dutch mainstream — such as the Christian Democrats, the progressive liberal D66 party, and the Labour Party —may win seats collectively. Both parties are strongly Eurosceptic, calling for the Netherlands to leave the EU, but they compete for the same voters. The Dutch far left also consists of two main parties: the pro-European Green Left, which is currently polling in third place with 17 percent and could win four seats; and the Socialist Party, which is critical of the EU and may win two seats.
While all four parties oppose trade liberalisation, there is little chance they will cooperate with one another — most of all because the far right wants to dismantle the EU while the Socialist Party only seeks reduced EU integration. Each of the three times Poles have voted in EP elections, turnout has been at one of the lowest levels in the EU, never exceeding 25 percent. This time, turnout should be higher — perhaps more than 30 percent. Duplicate citations. The following articles are merged in Scholar.
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