Böll EU Newsletter 2/2024 - New EP elections dossier!


In fewer than 100 days, Europe’s citizens will go to the polls to elect their representatives to the European Parliament. The outgoing parliament faced historic challenges, from the COVID-19 pandemic to Russia’s war in Ukraine. It rose to the occasion, advancing key legislative proposals and promoting the European Green Deal as a flagship project.


This parliament was characterised by a strong, pro-European centre, but can this centre hold? Projections see anti-European populists from the radical right in third place. Their siren song can lead centrist parties to drift further rightward, with significant consequences. Already important initiatives and legislative proposals have either failed (see Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive) or been watered down (see rules on combating violence against women).

Against this background, it is clear that the ballots cast in June 2024 will have a significant impact on EU decision-making. As highlighted by the ECFR in its January 2024 forecast “A sharp right turn”, the makeup of the next European Parliament will affect European foreign policy and particularly the future of the European Green Deal.

But it will also influence institutional and national dynamics. A divided, weaker parliament will not be able to stand up to the European Commission and the EU Council. In 2019, the EP torpedoed the questionable European Commission candidates proposed by Hungary and Romania. An increase in radical-right populists within its ranks may prevent it from doing so again in future. It would also affect national debates and with it national elections, thereby putting rightward pressure on both the EU Commission and EU Council. Should Geert Wilders form a government in the Netherlands and the FPÖ return to power in Austria, the European Council would have more veto players on detrimental issues such as Ukraine. Viktor Orbán would not be isolated anymore (see our analysis on how Orbán’s EU Council Presidency might affect the EU).

The new parliament is likely to be a more divided house, defined by more fluid majorities. Such complexity could benefit from guardrails and orientation set by the pro-European parties for flagship areas, such as Ukraine and defence, Green Deal industrial competitiveness, and democratic resilience.

At the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union, we will be closely following the elections to the European Parliament with our elections dossier “The road to the 2024 European Parliament elections”, part of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung’s wider #WeNeedEU campaign. The dossier features interviews with key stakeholders, an interactive map, and expert recommendations for the next EU policy cycle from our partners. It will also feature events, including an online panel discussion on the reform and enlargement of the EU on 7 March. Further details can be found in our newsletter.