Election Year 2019 – Stress Test for the EU
In 2019 the European Union is confronted with serious challenges and uncertainties. Far-right movements and parties attack democratic values and principles in many countries. The rule of law is under pressure, not only in Hungary and Poland, and the polarisation of societies endangers social cohesion all over Europe. 2019 is also the year of Brexit. Three decades after 1989, the EU seems at risk of falling apart. On the other hand, the latest Eurobarometer survey shows a continuous increase in citizens’ support for the EU. More than two-thirds of the respondents are convinced that their country benefits from being an EU member state. This is the highest score ever measured since 1983.
A new European Parliament will be elected in May, and later in the year, we will have a newly composed European Commission with a new President. Will the centre-right European People’s Party still be the largest political group in the parliament, as it has been for the past 20 years ? New emerging players are likely to increase political fragmentation. A third of the new parliament’s seats could go to anti-establishment and eurosceptic parties at the expense of centrist and largely pro-EU coalitions. Will French president Emmanuel Macron be able to maintain the momentum of his movement 'En Marche' and win a significant number of seats? Despite Macron’s visions to reform France and the EU, his approval is shrinking. Looking at the polls in different EU countries, there is a gleam of hope that the Greens might keep the size of their group and an upward trend has been noticeable for some months now.
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