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EU far-right dangerously boosted in new forecast

European far-right political forces have reached a record high just a few months before the EU elections, according to a new projection about EU Parliament’s seats

By: EBR - Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2023

According to Europe Elects, the most recent gains for the ID group were partially driven by the surprising victory of far-right Geert Wilders’ PVV in the Dutch elections last week.
According to Europe Elects, the most recent gains for the ID group were partially driven by the surprising victory of far-right Geert Wilders’ PVV in the Dutch elections last week.

by Sarantis Michalopoulos and Tobias Gerhard Schminke

European far-right political forces have reached a record high just a few months before the EU elections, according to a new projection about EU Parliament’s seats by Europe Elects seen by Euractiv before its publication later on Thursday.

If EU elections were to be held today, anti-EU far-right political parties, which have united under the umbrella of the “Identity and Democracy” (ID) group in the EU Parliament, would win 87 out of 705 seats ( they currently hold 60 seats).

ID consists of parties such as Marine Le Pen’s nationalist Rassemblement National (RN), which leads polls in France; far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which ranks second in the German election, as well as Matteo Salvini’s Lega, which already is a coalition partner in Italy.

According to Europe Elects, the most recent gains for the ID group were partially driven by the surprising victory of far-right Geert Wilders’ PVV in the Dutch elections last week.

A similar situation exists for Austria’s extreme right known as FPO, which steadily tops the polls in Vienna.

According to the survey, ID’s significant electoral boost is expected to take over the conservative European Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR) and become the fourth largest power in the EU House.

“In total, about 23% of the seats would go to the two groups of the radical right in the EU Parliament, as per the current projection […] This does not include radical right parties that are not affiliated with the two groups, like the Hungarian Fidesz, which sits with the ideologically diverse Non-Inscrits (NI) in the EU Parliament”, Europe Elects commented.

Far-right political forces in Europe have gradually changed their rhetoric, and instead of pushing for an exit from the EU, they now prioritise the need to change the EU in their public speeches. According to Europe Elects, this element could help them break the tradition and mobilise voters ahead of the elections.

Indeed, following the Dutch elections, Marine Le Pen spoke out at EU institutions, saying they need a complete overhaul, clarifying that Europe should not fall apart and France should keep the Euro currency.

Read more: Le Pen says Dutch can decide their EU future as ‘Brits did’

A pro-EU grand coalition?

The polls suggest that the Greens are collapsing electorally, set to decline from 72 to 52 seats.

Similar is the situation for the liberal Renew group, which currently holds 101 seats and is expected to decline to 89.

The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) remains the main political power in the EU, set to win 175 seats, just three fewer than they currently hold. The socialist S&D would remain at 141.

Based on the projected numbers, a pro-EU grand coalition between the EPP, S&D and the Liberals seems to be a likely scenario.

Just after summer, tensions between the EU centre-right and centre-left escalated following public disagreements on several policy files, such as a vote on the EU Nature Restoration Law and the Air Pollution Directive.

The two parties exchanged harsh accusations regarding their stance toward EU-driven green policies in general and mounting rumours that the EPP eyed a coalition with far-right forces.

But since an interview of the EPP secretary-general with Euractiv in late September, things seem to have calmed down.

EPP’s Thanasis Bakolas ruled out any collaboration between the EPP and the ECR or ID.

“I think the EPP, the Socialists, ALDE [liberals], and the Greens are political elements within the EU that have guaranteed our Union is moving forward in the right direction,” Bakolas said.

*first published in: Euractiv.com

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