EU elections 2024: which way is the wind blowing?

Exactly in a year from now, citizens across the continent will exercise their democratic rights to shape the future of the European Union. The European Parliament elections to be held between 6 and 9 June 2024, will play a significant role as the new Members of the European Parliament will play a crucial role in formulating policies, legislation, and the overall direction of the European Union for the coming years.

This article explores the key aspects of the upcoming elections, the potential implications, and the issues at stake for European businesses and organisations.

The political landscape – economic recovery and sustainable growth right on sight: climate change playing second fiddle?

The EU Parliament elections in 2024 are once again set to take place in a time of significant political shifts and challenges. Since the previous elections in 2019, Europe has witnessed substantial changes, including the global COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery efforts, climate change concerns, and the EU’s renewed efforts to become energy independent.

These circumstances have shaped political narratives and public opinion, making the upcoming elections an opportunity for companies and organisations to shape the new agenda of the institutions. Both the political parties at national level as well as the European Commission have commenced its activities to define the directions for the next legislative term.

While the aftermath of the pandemic remains a top concern, the political parties are focussing on the post-pandemic economic recovery, job creation, sustainable growth, and the reinforcement of the EU’s single market. These issues seem to be more and more in the spotlight, in contrast with climate change and decarbonisation efforts that previously dominated the institutional agenda.

While several Members States heavily lobby for it, the European Commission also seems to acknowledge the need for a ‘regulatory pause’ to assess the impact of current climate legislation on businesses, consumer prices, employment and the competitiveness of EU industries.

Facilitating the green transition with financial support should be prioritised rather than introducing additional green policies into the existing framework. The digital revolution, however, continues to transform societies and economies and data protection, privacy rights, and responsible artificial intelligence will certainly remain priorities.

2019 European Parliament elections

2019 European Parliament elections

Seats distribution

How would political groups score if EU elections were to be held today?

Whether the European People’s Party would win the elections again is still a wide-open question, following the corruption investigation that hit the party recently.  At national level, conservatives remain popular giving EPP still a head-start before the official kick-off of the campaigning season.

In the wake of the Qatargate scandal, it is fair to say that S&D will also lose some of its current seats. Both the EPP and the S&D are weaker now than in 2019, following a long-term trend of decline of the two largest parliamentary groups over the last two or three decades.

The conservative nationalist ECR group, currently the sixth force in the European Parliament, has however the biggest ever chance to be the third-largest group, taking over from the centrist Renew Group.

The biggest loser, however, is likely to be the Greens/European Free Alliance who would lose the most seats. While polls are still preliminary, more sophisticated projections are expected once the official campaigns kick-start.

The outcome of the EU Parliament elections in 2024 will have profound implications for the future of Europe. The balance of power within the European Parliament will determine the ability of political groups to advance their agendas and influence policy decisions. The election results may impact the selection of the next European Commission president, leading to potential shifts in the EU’s strategic priorities.

The future of the Spitzenkandidaten process – the privilege of the winning political group to nominate the next President of the European Commission – remains uncertain. European political groups are expected to nominate their lead candidates later in 2023, but it might once again be impossible to assess the real political significance of this procedure until after the elections.

If Commission President Ursula von der Leyen decides to run again and the polls tighten further, the outcome of the election may turn into an exciting battle between the EPP incumbent and a socialist challenger. Another open-ended question is the possibility to include transnational lists, another topic that divides both MEPs and Member States. While the five biggest political groups supported the electoral reform in 2022, the devil remains in the details and the actual decision on the matter will be only taken in the coming months.

European Parliament elections 2024

European Parliament elections 2024

April 2023 projection of seats distribution

How can you contribute to shaping the EU’s future agenda?

The EU Parliament elections in 2024 will be a pivotal moment for the European Union. The issues at stake, including economic recovery, competitiveness, climate change, migration, digital transformation, and institutional reforms, will be at the forefront of electoral campaigns.

Hence, the run-up to the European Parliament elections will open a window of opportunity for your organisation to shape the EU’s future agenda. The political groups are already hard at work developing their electoral vision.

While the official campaigning period is yet to kick-off towards the end of 2023, organisations that would like to proactively contribute to the policy priorities, should not wait much longer to engage with the relevant decision-makers, both at national and EU level.

At the same time, the European Commission’s legislating activities are also winding down and preliminary discussions about the priorities for the next term begin behind closed doors of the Directorate Generals.

This presents an opportunity to proactively share your ideas and solutions. Publyon has a proven track record and extensive network that can support you in delivering on your ambition to access policy makers in view of influencing and providing input to the political agenda. Do not hesitate to reach out to us to learn more about our EU elections services.

Reach out to us