May 22, 2014

What Will the New European Parliament Be Like. A Black-and-White Forecast

The results of the elections to the European Parliament  will not significantly affect the internal and external policies of the EU

Despite the quite visible tendency to Euro-scepticism and support to the right-wing parties, the results of the elections to the European Parliament (May 22-25) and compulsory re-election of the leadership and new staff of the EU institutions, will not significantly affect the internal and external policies of the EU, regarding the Ukrainian orientation included, as the represented in the European Parliament leading political forces are thought to be able to maintain their positions.

The elections to the European Parliament The elections to the European Parliament
http://ru.wikipedia.org/

According to our experts' forecasts, the most votes in the newly elected European Parliament will have major political forces of its present composition — the European People's Party (EPP, “populists”), the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (PASD, Social Democrats) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE, Liberal Democrats), which possibly will create a coalition and will determine the Parliament's policy.

The European People's Party
The European People's Party
The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
The Progressive Alliance
of Socialists and Democrats
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
The Alliance of Liberals
and Democrats for Europe

We believe that the EPP will lose its position of the undisputed leader of the European Parliament (274 seats), and “populists” and Social Democrats will get approximately the same number of seats (200-220 of 736).

It is quite possible that there will be formed the “EPP — PASD — ALDE” coalition. Representatives of these largest factions in April this year agreed that the leader of the party (union) which gets the most votes in the European Parliament elections, will have the right to hold consultations on the formation of the coalition.

Among the different coalition configurations which are being discussed by experts, we should pay attention to the scenario of uniting in the European Parliament of Social Democrats, the left, green and liberal parties. This is possible only if the Social Democratic Party of Germany gets more than the expected number of votes in the elections to the European Parliament in Germany, as in the country with the largest representation in the EP — 96 deputies.

Once the coalition has been formed, it will get the right to nominate candidates for the following positions:

  • European Commission President (his election should take place during the inaugural session of the EP July 1-3). At this, today nearly equal chances to take the above-mentioned post have the EPP's nominee J. Juncker (former Prime Minister of Luxembourg) and the leader of Socialists, the current President of the European Parliament M. Schulz (will get the support of representatives of the left, green and liberal parties, but won't get A. Merkel's support);
  • President of the European Council. The main contenders for the post are the former European Union Commissioner, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Italy M. Monti, the former MEP and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Italy E. Letta, Lithuania's President and former European Union Commissioner D. Grybauskaite, Prime Minister of Poland D. Tusk, the current chairman of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, NATO's Secretary General A. Rasmussen, as well as J. Juncker and M. Schulz (if they are not approved as head of the EC);
  • the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy — this post will go to the representative of the party which, within the framework of the coalition distribution does not get the post of the head of the European Commission. In this key are considered the Swedish Foreign Minister K. Bildt and Poland's Foreign Minister R. Sikorski, M. Schulz, and D. Tusk, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands F. Timmermans and the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy S. Fule.
Candidates for the post of the President of the European Parliament

J. Juncker
J. Juncker

M. Schulz
M. Schulz

 

Candidates for the post of the President of the European Council

M. Monti
M. Monti

E. Letta
E. Letta

D. Grybauskaite
D. Grybauskaite

D. Tusk
D. Tusk

Jose Manuel Barroso
Jose Manuel Barroso

A. Rasmussen
A. Rasmussen

J. Juncker
J. Juncker

M. Schulz
M. Schulz

 

Candidates for the post of the High Representative 
for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the EU

K. Bildt
K. Bildt

R. Sikorski
R. Sikorski

M. Schulz
M. Schulz

D. Tusk
D. Tusk

F. Timmermans
F. Timmermans

S. Fule
S. Fule

Among the main contenders for the post of the head of the European Union Commission and members of the above-mentioned coalition, the most pro-Ukrainian position is shared by the representative of the ALDE G.Verhofstadt, who publicly called for the EU's decisive actions regarding V. Putin and his retinue.

G. Verhofstadt
Among the main contenders for the post of the head of the European Union Commission and members of the above-mentioned coalition, the most pro-Ukrainian position is shared by the representative of the ALDE G. Verhofstadt

Also to take decisive steps to restrain Russia (however, with minimal losses for the EU) encourages M. Schulz, while advocating a peaceful settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. In particular, he is for a new round of talks in Geneva, where, in his opinion, it will be necessary first of all to find out whether the EU, Russia and Ukraine have common interests, based on which they could agree on measures to unblock the situation. He believes that Ukraine's membership in the EU is only possible in the long term and on the condition of transparent economic reforms and stabilization of the situation in the country. M. Schulz is an advocate of closer cooperation between the countries of the EU in the field of security, defense and foreign policy. He has a special position regarding the energy security of the EU and fully supports the initiative of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary concerning coordination of energy policies and decreasing the dependence on Russian energy carriers.

Jean-Claude Juncker demonstrates restrained and moderate approaches to the Russian- Ukrainian conflict, pointing out that the Ukrainian-Russian issue should be solved exclusively diplomatically, without providing the EU's military assistance to Ukraine, he is rather skeptical about the process of Ukraine's European integration and does not consider enlargement of the EU a priority. He favors focusing on internal problems of the EU and considers the EU's most important issue being to diversify energy sources in order to reduce dependence on “Gazprom”.

One of the applicants, the leader of the Green S.Keller does not show a necessary activity in the Ukrainian question and supports J.Juncker's views.

Experts believe that the coalition “EPP — PASD — ALDE” will not be loyal to Russia, in particular with regard to the Kremlin's aggression towards Ukraine. At the same time the level of the EU Parliament's tolerance in estimates of the policy of Moscow will rise in proportion to the number of representation of the left, nationalist and Euro-skeptic parties. In particular, Social Democrats would oppose EU's radical measures against Russia only in case of their total domination in the governing bodies of the European Parliament, citing the interests of ensuring stability of the European economy, which is impossible without cooperation with the Russian Federation.

The Kremlin sees the elections to the European Parliament, first of all through the prism of the possible creation in the European Parliament and European Commission of a powerful pro-Russian lobby. Therefore, the Russian side has decided on matters of priority cooperation with the parties of the right-wing and nationalist ones. In particular, the main efforts of the Kremlin are focused on providing financial support to the candidates from such political forces in Hungary and France.

In case if the European right-wing radicals manage to remove their disagreements (like the ones, for example, that are observed between the UK Independence Party and the French National Front, who have announced about the impossibility of getting united in the new EP), they will be able to block the influence of the USA and Euro-Atlantic orientation of the current course of Brussels that coincides with the plans of the Russian side.

In this context, the Kremlin, in order to ensure its strategic interests in the European Union, will try to mediate between the right-wing political forces of Europe for their consolidation. At this, it plans to slow down the development of the project of the united/centralized Europe, promoting the concept of “Europe of regions” and reducing the influence of Washington and Brussels on European countries while focusing the European processes management in Berlin. The task-maximum is distribution of spheres of influence in the new “Europe of regions” between Germany and France.

Is Europe of regions possible?
Is Europe of regions possible? The economic crisis of Europe with the new force is reviving the old political question about the right of nations to self-determination.But the national-ethnic separatism is being replaced with the economic one- rich regions try to get rid of poor ones in hope for independent thriving. Poor regions believe that in their independent sailing they will become rich
http://ava.md/

Within the framework of the European Parliament's elections, the Kremlin also pays considerable attention to interaction with a number of sub-regional organizations that develop and implement the project “Europe of regions”, in particular, with the Association of European Border Regions, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the Assembly of European Regions and the Federal Union of European Ethnic Minorities.

he Assembly of European Regions
The Assembly of European Regions

In the Baltic States, Russia relies on pro-Russian parties, associations and individual politicians also trying to enter the European Parliament. To those, in particular, belong the “Russian International”, which includes the largest pro-Russian political and public organizations of Latvia (“Harmony center” headed by the Mayor of Riga N.Ushakov, Association “Rodina” (“Motherland”), headed by MEP from Latvia T. Zhdanok) and Estonia (“Russian alliance of associations of Estonia”).

However, most experts do not tend to overestimate the role and possible influence of the “right” on the EU's policy and on the formation of the personal staff of the European Union Commission, as well as decision-making by the European Parliament as a whole. Because the total number of seats of the right forces in the new European Parliament, elected in France, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Austria, Greece, Germany, Lithuania, Slovakia and Sweden, will not exceed the number of 45 representatives (in the current EP — 26 representatives).

To create a new political group in the European Parliament on the basis of the right-wing forces, under the rules, it is a must to obtain the agreement of 25 MEPs who represent seven EU member states. Given the relatively high rating of the French National Front and its expected getting about 20 seats in the European Parliament, most possibly, the leader of the union of the “right” in the EP will be M. Le Pen — the adherent of the aggressive pro-Russian rhetoric in relation to the events in Ukraine.

M. Le Pen
Most possibly, the leader of the union of the “right” in the EP will be M. Le Pen — the adherent of the aggressive pro-Russian rhetoric in relation to the events in Ukraine
http://www.1tvnet.ru/

At the same time the influence of this conditionally pro-Russian group in the EP will not be enough to lobby decisions needed by Moscow, because it (the group) will not be part of the coalition that forms the European Union Commission, and almost all others present in the EP political groups will not be supporters of such views of the “right”.

The forecasted schedule of political forces in the future composition of the EP as a whole is favorable for further advancement of the process of European integration of Ukraine

Apart from the right forces, a certain amount of pro-Russian deputies and candidates are among other EP political groups, especially among Social Democrats. But the practice of the European Parliament confirms the priority of the party line in front of your personal views and views of individual members that may be presented only during the debates, but they get leveled when voting.

In general, the forecasted schedule of political forces in the future composition of the EP as a whole is favorable for further advancement of the process of European integration of Ukraine, including the support to the completion of the procedure of signing of the Ukraine- EU Association Agreement and introduction of the visa-free regime.