Posts in "Greece" Category

No news is good news for Tsipras: ten reflections on the Greek elections

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1. No news is good news for Tsipras

The election result is a major political and personal triumph for Alexis Tsipras (pictured). His SYRIZA party, divided over the third bailout package agreed in July, lost only one seat compared to its result in January. It also scored a seven percentage point lead over the centre-right New Democracy party.

Tsipras’ clear victory was a surprise for many, as pre-election polls had shown SYRIZA neck-and-neck with New Democracy. Tsipras also managed to secure clear leadership of the left in Greece, with People’s Unity (the party established by far-left SYRIZA MPs who left the party) gaining no representation in Parliament, and the centre-left (PASOK-DIMAR) securing only modest gains. Potential dissent SYRIZA MPs may think twice, having seen the fate of their erstwhile colleagues.

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SYRIZA’s historic win gives Europe’s leaders a headache

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This was more than just an ordinary national election – it was one that signalled a new chapter in the eurozone crisis and a challenge, by the people of Greece, to austerity.

The victory by the radical left-wing party, SYRIZA, and its leader, Alexis Tsipras (pictured), was expected. However, the scale of the win was larger than predicted in pre-election opinion polls, bringing the party to the brink of an outright parliamentary majority.

SYRIZA won 36.34 per cent of the vote and 149 seats in the 300-seat Greek Parliament. New Democracy (ND), the centre-right party that had led the previous coalition government, won 27.81 per cent and 76 seats.

The far-right ultranationalist Golden Dawn party came third, with 6.28 per cent and 17 seats, the same number of positions held by The River (To Potami), a centre-left grouping formed in 2014. The Communists (KKE) won 15 seats while the conservative Independent Greeks (ANEL) took 13 seats, the same as the Socialists (PASOK), who bore the brunt of the rejection of the outgoing coalition government.

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Building a new Commission – the runners and riders for the next College

[infopane color=”6″ icon=”0049.png”]Post updated later on Wednesday 11 June to account for news that Dacian Cioloș (Agriculture and Rural Development; Romania) may be re-nominated to the Commission.[/infopane]

With the choice of a President of the European Commission still up in the air, we are a long way off knowing the full team that will occupy the upper floors of the Berlaymont for the next five years.

Nevertheless, national governments are already putting forward their proposed nominees to sit in the new College. Here’s our look at the comings and goings in the Commission in 2014, and the potential candidates to take a seat in the new Commission.

If you have comments or suggestions, please include them in the comments box.

See our country-by-country guide to the potential nominees

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Social media and the elections – did it have an impact?

Election night turnoutBefore the European Parliament elections social media was trumpeted as a key method to increase turnout, attract support and build interest (especially among the European political parties). Two weeks on from the elections, we can ask the question – did it have an impact?

Social media offers politicians and voters an unparalleled level of direct access to each other. The former use it in the hope of mobilising support – although whether it attracts new support is a moot point (many people follow people with whose views they already identify). Fortunately, social media also produces large amounts of data that allow us to study its impact in greater detail.

We’ll focus on turnout. Decades of declining voter turnout was brought to an end (albeit marginally). But did social media have an impact?

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Who’s going where? Tracking the musical chairs in the European Parliament

[infopane color=”5″ icon=”0049.png”]Please note that since the constitutive session of the European Parliament on 1 July 2014, this page is no longer being updated.[/infopane]
EPP S&D ALDE G/EFA ECR EFDD GUE/NGL NI
221 191 67 50 70 48 52 52
27 countries 28 countries 21 countries 17 countries 15 countries 7 countries 14 countries 10 countries
The 2014 European elections brought 34 new parties or independent candidates to the European Parliament.

Now, many of those new MEPs are seeking to join political groups to strengthen their voice in the Parliament, while a battle goes on between the groups to attract new members that help ensure their survival and maximise their influence, speaking time and funding.

One new group – the European Alliance for Freedom – has also been mooted as a way to bring together anti-EU parties on the radical right. To form this and other groups, a minimum of 25 MEPs are needed, representing at least seven member states.

At the same time, other parties are considering changing groups or allying themselves to a group for the first time.

Take a look at our table listing the parties up for grabs, based on the vast array of information from intelligence we have gathered and media reports – and contribute via the button below or the comments box at the bottom of the page.

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Elections round-up: EPP loses but stays as biggest group, while anti-EU parties surge

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Europe’s voters have backed a vast array of anti-EU and anti-establishment voters in the 2014 European Parliament elections, sending fewer MEPs from each of the main political groups back to Brussels and Strasbourg.

Despite being the biggest loser of the night in terms of seats, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) looks like emerging as the biggest party in the European Parliament with its support holding up in Germany and Poland among the larger member states, and good support across central and Eastern Europe. The Socialists are also set to lose a handful of seats, with the Liberals likely to lose around 20 seats according to the latest projections.

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The populist challenge and the mainstream response

Marley Morris of Counterpoint, a UK-based research group that focuses on cultural and social dynamics underpinning politics, economics and security, writes on the prospect of an increase in populist voices at the European elections:

The European Parliament elections contain a strange contradiction.

The next parliament, thanks to the Lisbon Treaty, will have more power than any of its predecessors. It will be able to elect the President of the European Commission for the first time. Vast areas of vital policy – not least the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – are at stake. And as the first pan-European elections since the worst moments of the eurozone crisis, the results will be analysed as a crucial gauge of public opinion.

Euranet Plus interview - Guest of the Week with MEP Marine LE PENAnd yet there is still a long way to go to making the European Parliament elections comparable in status to national polls. Eurobarometer tells us that only 54 per cent of European Union citizens are aware that the European Parliament is directly elected.

Efforts by the mainstream European-level parties to tout their ‘lead candidates’ seem to have had limited success, with many voters unaware of the contest, and numerous commentators suspecting that the next Commission president may well be someone else entirely.

A populist surge?

Ten days from the elections, the expectation is that apathy will translate into success for Eurosceptics and populists at the polls.

Marine Le Pen (right), the leader of France’s populist radical right National Front (FN) party, and Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam and Eurosceptic Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, pledged last year to join forces. They plan to form a political group with like-minded parties in the new Parliament. Wilders has said of the proposed alliance: “We will have an enormous influence… We are working on a historical project.”

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The first head-to-head: much ado about very little

EP President meets Jean-Claude Juncker

A little bit of European political history was made yesterday, with the first televised head-to-head debate between candidates for the European Commission presidency.

The first debate between Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz – the lead candidates for the European People’s Party and the Party of European Socialists – took place in Brussels and was broadcast live on France 24, with a replay later that evening on Radio France International.

It is the first in a series of debates between the lead candidates (see panel) – and there is definitely scope for improvement if the candidates – and broadcasters – truly want to engage people in the discussion on Europe’s future leadership.
[infopane color=”6″ icon=”0869.png”]Next live TV debates

Juncker v Schulz
8 May at 20:15 CET – broadcast on ÖRF (Austria) and ZDF (Germany), in German
20 May at 21:00 CET – broadcast on ARD (Germany), in German

Open to all candidates (note: Alexis Tsipras not confirmed for 28 April and 9 May)
28 April at 19:00 CET – broadcast on Euronews
9 May at 18:30 CET – broadcast on Rai (Italy)
15 May at 21:00 CET – organised by the EBU – national coverage may vary[/infopane]

My overall view on the France 24 / RFI debate is that it that it was rather dull in format and content – everyone was playing things a bit safe. It’s natural for a first debate, but if the candidates and broadcasters want to engage voters, there needs to be more dynamism.

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A more visual EU election?

Visual communication is steadily entering its way into online campaigns for the European Parliament elections.

Candidates and political parties are showing rather than describing what they stand for, and we can see rather than read how candidates are being interviewed, campaigning, speaking and making pledges.

Images with quotes signed by the lead candidates of the two largest European political parties, Jean-Claude Juncker (European People’s Party) and Martin Schulz (Party of European Socialists) regularly float by in Twitter and Facebook feeds.

The Liberal ALDE Party uses wordclouds to set out its values and the European Greens encourage voters to create their own digital campaign poster.

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50 days to go, 50 things to know about Europe’s year of change

The countdown continues: at 08:00 CET on Wednesday 2 April, there are exactly 50 days to go to the opening of the polls for the European Parliament elections.

Here is our overview of where we stand and what you need to know about Europe’s year of change:

Top jobs | Country-by-country | PollWatch 2014 | The elections and beyond | Reading list

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