European elections: What happens next in Brussels after shock results?

The European Parliament has tilted to the right, although the current pro-European centrist coalition held ground and is likely to form a majority again, following the European elections that took place in EU countries over the weekend.

The vote has dramatic outcomes in some countries. In France, President Emmanuel Macron called for snap parliamentary elections after the opponent far-right National Rally (Ressemblement National) gained 31 percent of the votes and his own party Rennaissance plunged to 14 percent.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo resigned after the defeat of his Flemish Liberals and Democrats party in the European and national elections.

In Germany, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) was the second most voted party after the Christian-Democrats CDU/CSU and ahead of Chancellor Scholz’s Social Democrats.

As the vote count is almost completed, what happens next in Brussels?

READ ALSO: What we learned from the European elections across Europe

Political groups

Current Parliament President Roberta Metsola said on Sunday evening that leaders of European political groups will meet on Tuesday to “set up the roadmap for the constitution of the new parliament”.

The coming weeks will see the formation of the political groups, the ‘families’ of European parties that will sit (and possibly vote) together in parliament.

Based on provisional results available at the time of writing, the European People’s Party (EPP) will be the largest group, with 186 out of 720 seats, 10 more than in 2019. The EPP was the biggest group in Germany, Spain, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Croatia and Greece.

The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) will have 135 seats, 4 less than in 2019, following losses in Germany, but having won in Sweden and come second in Spain.

The liberals of Renew, which include President Macron’s party, are expected to have 79 MEPs, compared to 102 in 2019.


The Greens, despite winning in Denmark and gaining 6 MEPs from previously unrepresented Italy, also recorded significant losses and should gain 53 MEPs compared to 71 in 2019.

The Left will maintain 36 MEPs, compared to the current 37.

The European Conservatives and Reformist (ECR), which include Giorgia Meloni’s party Brothers of Italy, the Sweden Democrats and Poland’s Law and Justice, are expected to obtain 73 seats, from the current 69.

Far-right group Identity and Democracy (ID), with Austria’s Freedom Party, France’s National Rally and Italy’s The League, was on course for 58 seats compared to 49 in 2019.

Non-attached members, which at present include Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party and Italy’s Five Star Movement, should obtain 45 seats. Other 52 elected members are yet to declare their affiliation.

Questions remain over the far right

However, some existing affiliations may change in the coming weeks, especially on the right. Will Giorgia Meloni and Marine Le Pen join forces, as Le Pen suggested before the elections? Will Meloni try to split the EPP to form a hard-right bloc? What will be the affiliations of Germany’s AfD, recently expelled from the ID, and Hungary’s Fidesz party, which is non-attached after leaving the EPP in 2021? All these questions will be answered soon.

The non-attached and other members represent 100 mostly right-wing seats.

The formation of a political group requires at least 23 MEPs elected in at least 7 member states.


‘New’ majority

The current centrist majority formed by the EPP, the S&D and Renew is likely to be confirmed in the new parliament and its first expression will be the confidence vote for the European Commission President.

On Sunday night, incumbent Ursula von der Leyen, the Commission President candidate for the EPP, said she woulmd be looking for a coalition with the S&D and Renew. Candidates from these parties also openly said they would be keen to continue current arrangements and not seek alliances with the far-right.

Von der Leyen needs 361 votes, the absolute majority, to stay in her role. The three largest parties make up for 399, but that may not be sufficient as the confidence vote is individual and secret, and already in the previous term some EPP members voted against.

The Greens on Sunday hinted they would offer their support to maintain the status quo. But this where the ECR could play a role too.

New European Commission

The Commission President will be nominated by leaders of EU countries on June 27th to 28th considering the result of the elections.

The inaugural session of the new parliament will be from July 16th to 19th in Strasbourg, with the election of the Parliament president.

The confidence vote for the Commission president is expected in September.

In the coming months each government, in consultation with the Commission President, will also nominate a Commissioner, to which the President-elect will allocate a policy portfolio.

The relevant Parliament committees will hold hearings to evaluate and vote the nominees suitability for the roles. The Parliament will then vote its consent to the entire Commission, probably in the autumn.

The Local Barcelona News