Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Expert Explains: What European Parliament election results signify, with the rise of right-wing parties?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Mains level: Impacts of election result

Why in the News?

The outcomes of the June 6-9 European Parliament elections, where approximately 51% of over 370 million eligible voters across 27 EU nations participated, indicated an increase in support for right-wing and far-right parties, resulting in losses for predominantly left-leaning and liberal parties.

What is the European Parliament?

  • The European Parliament is one of the core institutions of the European Union (EU), where Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by citizens of the 27 member states.
  • It provides democratic legitimacy to EU activities and consists of 720 seats allocated based on degressive proportionality, meaning smaller states elect more MEPs than their populations would warrant.

Functions of the European Parliament:

  • The Parliament has three main functions: adopting and amending EU legislation along with the Council of the EU, supervising the functioning of other EU institutions (especially the European Commission), and sharing authority over the EU budget with the Council.
  • It also ratifies international agreements and plays a crucial role in shaping the EU’s direction on various issues such as climate change, migration, and international relations.

Major Players in the New European Parliament:

  • MEPs are affiliated with Europe-wide political groups based on commonalities in ideology. Major groups include the European People’s Party (EPP), Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), Renew Europe, Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA), European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), Identity and Democracy (ID), and the Left Group (GUE/NGL).
  • The EPP and S&D have traditionally been the two major groups, but the Parliament has become more fragmented over time, leading to issue-based coalitions.
  • In the latest elections, the EPP emerged as the largest group, but right-wing and far-right parties made significant gains.

Impact on EU’s Position on Hot-Button Issues like Immigration:

  • The European Parliament reflects broader political trends across Europe, with right-wing parties gaining traction from issues such as increased immigration, national identity, and scepticism towards certain EU policies.
  • This shift towards the Right has pressured many centre-right parties to adopt harder positions on immigration, likely leading to increased support for tighter border controls and stricter immigration and asylum rules.

Impacts of election result:

  • The election results may influence the EU’s direction on key issues like climate change, migration, and international relations.
  • The rise of right-wing and far-right parties could lead to shifts in policy priorities and a more conservative stance on certain issues.
  • In national politics, the results may impact the stability of governments and the position of leaders like Emmanuel Macron, who called for snap polls in response to his party’s poor performance in the European elections.

Conclusion: The European Parliament election results signal a rise in right-wing parties, impacting EU policies on immigration and other key issues. National politics may also face repercussions, affecting leadership stability.

Mains PYQ:

Q Critically examine the procedures through which the Presidents of India and France are elected.(UPSC IAS/2022)

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