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Last day of the electoral marathon to redraw the political landscape of the EU

Photo: Patricia De Melo Moreira Agence France-Presse In total, more than 360 million Europeans are called to the polls to nominate 720 members of the European Parliament.

Julien Girault – Agence France-Presse, Yannick Pasquet – Agence France-Presse, Céline Le Prioux – Agence France-Presse, Francesco Fontemaggi – Agence France-Presse Athens, Berlin, Paris and Brussels

Posted at 10:23 p.m.

  • Europe

Around twenty countries, including France and Germany, vote on Sunday to choose their MEPs, closing an electoral marathon likely to reshape the political balances of a European Parliament where the far right is expected in force.

At the end of a campaign with a tense climate due to the war in Ukraine and suspicions of Russian disinformation, strong scores from the radical right, nationalists and eurosceptics could complicate the majorities in the hemicycle and reconfigure alliances.

In total, more than 360 million Europeans are called to the polls to nominate 720 members of the European Parliament. The Netherlands kicked off Thursday by confirming, according to estimates, a surge by Geert Wilders' far-right party.

In Italy, where voting began on Saturday and continued on Sunday, the post-fascist Fratelli d'Italia (FDI) party of head of government Giorgia Meloni is the big favorite and could send 22 MEPs to the hemicycle, compared to six currently.

The results in the two largest countries of the Union will also be scrutinized. Polls in France predict a historic victory for the National Rally (RN) led by Jordan Bardella, far ahead of President Emmanuel Macron's party list.

German conservatives should, them, coming well ahead (30.5% according to a poll) in a bitter setback for socialist chancellor Olaf Scholz. But the Socialists and Greens are battling for second place with the AfD, a far-right party capitalizing on a gloomy economic situation.

And this even if the AfD saw its expected gains crumble over the course of the scandals splashing its head of list – suspected of Russian and Chinese financing – which caused it to be excluded from the group to which it belonged in the European Parliament alongside the RN.

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Shuffled balances

In Austria, the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) asserts itself for the first time leading an election, and in Poland, the centrist pro-European coalition of Prime Minister Donald Tusk promises to be almost tied with the populist nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party followed by the far-right party Konfederacja, very Eurosceptic.

While MEPs adopt legislation in concert with states, the rise of radical rights could influence crucial issues: defense against an expansionist Russia, agricultural policy, 2040 climate objective, pursuit of environmental measures…

This election “will determine the next five years,” assured Ms. Meloni on Saturday, who reaffirmed her desire to “defend the borders against illegal immigration, protect the real economy, fight against competition unfair.”

While the balances resulting from the elections will also determine the allocation of leading positions in the EU, the Italian leader could play a crucial role for the renewal of 'Ursula von der Leyen, from the EPP (right), as president of the European Commission.

His appointment, which must be validated by the leaders of the Twenty-Seven and then by Parliament, is not certain.

If the EPP should remain the leading force in Parliament (some 170 seats according to polls), followed by the Social Democrats (some 140 seats expected), the issue is the third position where Renew Europe (liberals, including Emmanuel Macron's Renaissance party) sees itself threatened by the rise of two radical right groups, ECR (which includes Fratelli d'Italia) and ID (which includes the French RN).

The extreme right divided on Russia

The current right/socialist/liberal “grand coalition”, which forges compromises in the hemicycle, should retain the majority but see its room for maneuver reduced, forcing him to find additional forces and auguring intense negotiations.

Giorgia Meloni is courted by Mrs von der Leyen who sees in her a respectable partner, pro-European and pro-Ukraine. But also by the figurehead of the RN Marine Le Pen, who dreams of forming a large nationalist group bringing together members of ECR ​​and ID.

A very uncertain perspective: if they share a displayed euroscepticism and sovereignty, their possible merger remains complicated by significant divergences, particularly on Russia.

Unlike Giorgia Meloni and also the radical right parties in Poland, Hungarian nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose Fidesz party is credited with 50%, led a campaign hostile to aid to Kiev and alarmist about risks of the conflict escalating, designating the EU and NATO as guilty and eclipsing the role of Moscow, to which Mr. Orban is close.

In neighboring Slovakia , the assassination attempt against Prime Minister Robert Fico strengthened support for his camp with pro-Putin leanings.

Enough to seize up negotiations at the European level, the time when the Twenty-Seven are seeking to strengthen their defense industry while struggling to generate the necessary funds.

In the wake of the European vote, Defense issues will prevail at the G7 summit from June 13 to 15 in Italy.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116