EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 2024 Former EU commissioner and senior MEP calls for “quick decision” on EC presidency

By Martin Banks

One of the EU parliament’s most senior MEPs says “Europe will survive” despite the rise of nationalist and Far Right parties in the European elections.

The comments by Polish MEP Danuta Huebner come after a weekend of shocks in the EU wide poll.

First exit polls show gains for the centre-right and far right parties.The EPP will continue as the biggest group in the parliament, followed by the Socialists. The big losers on the night were the Greens, which suffered key losses.

Preliminary figures suggest an estimated turnout across the EU of 50,8%, just down on the 2019 elections.

Biggest winners was Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in the European Parliament vote. Her far-right party is on course to win 32% of the vote.

Hard-Right Italian leader Georgia Meloni consolidated her position while, in Germany, the AfD, which was thrown out of Le Pen’s Identity and Democracy group after its candidate Maximilan Krakh’s remarks on the SS, made key gains.

Whether the parties from these different populist groupings, which often argue on key issues, can come together in a unified group in parliament is another question.

More tellingly perhaps is the fact that about one third of such nationalist parties are now either in power or coalition governments across the EU27.

Huebner, a centre right MEP, was speaking to this website on Monday.

She gave her reaction, saying, “The European elections are behind us and, clearly, there are 5 years of fight for Europe ahead of us.”

The former EU commissioner said, “Some good for Europe news come from Poland. Pro European democracy has won. But it deserves a bit bitter additional comment: there is quite a sizable contingent of nationalists, including some recently convicted for crimes and pardoned, and some maybe to be convicted soon.

“In the new Parliament there will also be some deputies from the far right Confederacy who will join others actively working  for the destruction of EU. This is a Polish version of the FN electoral victory in France and Afd rise in Germany, a scary development for Europe as a whole.

“Still, Europe  will survive.”

She added, “What we now need is a quick political agreement on President of the Commission. It can’t be taken for granted though. The two partners of centrist majority of EPP (S&D and Renew) may stick to their guns and not support the EPP candidate for President. Maybe the time has come for the Greens to join the mainstream.”

The veteran MEP added, “The target should be the formation of a stable Commission by the end of this year. So much remains on our “to do” list.”

Further comment came from Strategic Perspectives Executive Director Linda Kalcher who said the Far Right “don’t have enough seats and convergences to be able to form a stable ruling coalition in the European Parliament.”

“As the seat allocation will become clear, the focus shifts on negotiations over top jobs, a comfortable majority for the incoming Commission President and priorities for the next 5 years.”

Former UK Liberal MEP Andrew Duff said, “National elections are not a just or proper basis for a European Parliament. Unless we have a federal election in 2029, the same old pattern will repeat itself: low voter turnout overall and the return of nationalism to Europe.”

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