Fragmented parliament complicates EU leadership contest
28 May 2019

The task of picking the five names that will hold the European Union’s top jobs and guide its future just got harder after EU assembly elections highlighted the deepening political fragmentation of the 28-country bloc.

The two biggest centrist groups in the current European Parliament – the European Peoples’ Party (EPP) to the right and the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) on the left – will no longer hold a majority in the new 751-seat chamber, estimates showed.

Together, the two are expected to be down from 401 lawmakers to 332 seats in the next five-year European Parliament, short of the 376-vote majority needed to approve a new head of the bloc’s executive European Commission.

“We are facing a shrinking center,” said Manfred Weber, the EPP’s candidate to lead the Commission. “I don’t see a majority against the liberals, I don’t see a majority against the socialists, I don’t see a majority against the EPP… So what I would ask us to do to is to join our forces to work together from now.”

The complex parliamentary arithmetic will be on the table when all 28 national EU leaders meet in Brussels on Tuesday to fight over who will lead the Commission, the parliament itself, the bloc’s foreign policy and its central bank. The fifth top post chairs EU summits.

By Gabriela Baczynska, Reuters, 26 May 2019

Read more at Reuters

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