The European People’s Party will remain the biggest group in the European Parliament after elections in May, according to a Reuters analysis of polls in 27 EU member states. This means the centre-right EPP’s lead candidate Manfred Weber has a shot at succeeding Jean-Claude Juncker as EU chief executive, according to the analysis.
Weber, who leads the EPP in the EU legislature, easily won a party congress ballot to be its “Spitzenkandidat”, or official nominee to be president of the European Commission — although many EU member state leaders say they will not be bound by May’s election results in choosing Juncker’s successor, reported Reuters.
The analysis is based on polls in the 27 EU states or actual election results where these are more recent. Where available, the polls used are those collected by the European Parliament in its monitoring of national political trends.
The analysis indicates that the EPP would remain the biggest party, extending its lead over the centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D), whose Spitzenkandidat is Juncker’s Dutch deputy Frans Timmermans. But reflecting recent national trends, the two mainstream groups would together drop below half the seats as anti-EU nationalists and a range of other small parties do well.
According to the Reuters analysis, the EPP stands to gain about 177 of the total 705 seats, down from 219 in the current 751-seat chamber. The parliament is shrinking next year because Britain is leaving the EU in March.
The S&D would still be second with 141 seats, down from 189. The Greens are set to hold steady, winning 23 of Germany’s 96 seats, or 48 seats in total, down from 52 today.
The liberals of ALDE would become the third largest party with 83 seats, overtaking the ECR group, which will lose out from the departure of its founders from Britain’s ruling Conservative party.
The far-right EFDD and ENF groups, aided by the popularity of the now ruling League and 5-Star in Italy, stand to gain 20 seats, to a total of 98.
However, the future line-up in the parliament of anti-immigration parties including France’s National Rally and the Dutch Freedom Party is unclear, the broad far-right bloc could grow to 14% from 10%.