Posts in "European Parliament" Category — Page 2

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icon=”0049.png”]Please note that since the constitutive session of the European Parliament on 1 July 2014, this page is no longer being updated.[/infopane]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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Five days on from the election: five reflections on the Commission presidency

[infopane color=”6″ icon=”0049.png”]This blogpost, originally published at 12:55 on Friday 30 May, has been updated following remarks by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, later on Friday afternoon.[/infopane]

That was the week that was: an odd few days where the European People’s Party won the European Parliament elections, but was also the biggest loser; and where Socialists in the Parliament backed the EPP lead candidate for the European Commission presidency, only for some centre-right leaders to apply the brakes in the European Council.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the EPP lead candidate, is still the frontrunner and the only person formally in the running. His chances have been boosted tanks to comments by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Friday, that she is conducting negotiations on the basis that Juncker should be President.

However, it is clear that a number of heads of government would like to dump him in favour of someone else. The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has been charged with an exploratory mission to find the person – Juncker included – who can command the sufficient majority in the Parliament and European Council.

Meanwhile, five political groups in the European Parliament have backed Juncker to have a first go at building majorities in the same institutions – and if he fails, are likely to call for Martin Schulz, lead candidate of the second-placed Socialists, to have a go.

If those who want to block Juncker in the European Council succeed – and it is not a done deal yet for the former Luxembourg prime minister – an inter-institutional battle between the Parliament and European Council will be on the cards.

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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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Dutch exit poll: D66 leads the way, Wilders loses way

Exit polls taken during yesterday’s European Parliament election in the Netherlands suggest that two parties – the progressive liberal Democrats 66 (D66) and the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) – will emerge as the winners.

Geert WildersParty for Freedom (PVV), the populist right movement that had been set to perform well, is set to be the main loser, going from four to three seats, while the governing parties, the Liberal VVD and the Labour Party (PvdA), are likely to have seen their share of the vote fall while hanging on to their current number of seats.

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Ukip’s local success makes them a fourth force in British politics

It was hardly a surprise that the UK Independence Party did well in England’s local elections.

In an age of rampant political antipathy, their voters represent the three ‘Ds’, a trinity of problems for mainstream political parties: dissatisfied, disapproving, and distrustful.

However, the scale of Ukip’s performance defied expectations. Apart from in London, they gained seats across the country in these elections (with 161 local authorities holding polls this year).

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Addressing the challenge to sexual and reproductive rights

Vicky Claeys, Regional Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s European Network, writes about the importance of the European elections for her organisation and its ‘I Decide’ campaign:

For many years, Europe has played a leading role in international discussions on development and human rights.

But now it is at a crossroads when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). On the eve of the European Parliament elections, it is unclear whether Europe will remain a progressive force on issues relating to sexuality education, gay rights and access to safe abortion, or whether it will be blown off course by a wave of conservative hostility towards people’s freedom to make their own life choices.

SRHR have come under attack during the outgoing legislature by vocal anti-choice minorities. But this parliament’s legacy should, be one of consistent support for SRHR. The European elections and the changes in the European Commission will be enormously important in setting the political tone for the next five years, and the newcomers must continue to play a strong leadership role on SRHR and gender equality. The likely influx of Eurosceptics and far-right MEPs makes the landscape challenging.

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Who and what will shape health policy in the coming years?

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????By this time next week, we may be starting to witness momentous change in the European Union: new people, a new policy direction, and a new paradigm in the way the institutions relate to each other. But where will these changes leave health policy?

The results of the broader policy discussions that affect the healthcare sector – and in particular the pharmacutical and medical devices industries – may take a while to become clear. The results of negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and reform of the Troika could take several years to become clear, although we can begin to predict the impact the new European Commission and European Parliament will have on them.

In some cases, this could mean more battles ahead: for example, Martin Schulz – the Party of European Socialists‘ candidate for the Commission presidency –  has stated his commitment to TTIP, but many Socialists are reluctant to accept many key elements of the potential agreement, such as the investor-state dispute settlement, and this opposition could cause headaches for European businesses.

In more detailed healthcare policy terms, there is perhaps more clarity, and also a bit more certainty following the developments of the last five years.

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Looking ahead to 2019: creating a European Year for Rare Diseases

In run-up to the European Parliament elections, Yann Le Cam, Chief Executive Officer of EURORDIS, the European Organisation for Rare Diseases, calls on citizens and candidates to help make 2019 the European Year for Rare Diseases:

For the past seven years, EURORDIS has coordinated Rare Disease Day internationally, celebrated each year on the last day of February.

We want greater European action to help people with rare diseases. Acting together makes sense in this area because of the low prevalence of these conditions. EURORDIS  is taking the lead in underlining the added value of Europe in this field by proposing to make 2019 the European Year for Rare Diseases.

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China tries to decipher the European elections tea leaves

David Fouquet, senior consultant at the European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS), looks at the Chinese perspective on the European elections:

The European public outside the Brussels bubble gives every indication of being apathetic or unconvinced of the importance of the forthcoming European Parliament elections and their impact on the other European Union institutions.

So it seems somewhat incongruous that informed representatives from the other side of the world express interest, curiosity and even concern about the same developments.

Although not by any means a systematic survey, a personal sampling from repeated encounters with academics, journalists, diplomats and others from as far away as China indicates that these elections and transition have global impact, even if those Europeans immediately concerned seem indifferent.

This engagement with the European elections may reflect just polite small talk or circumstantial interest from a tiny elite and not the sentiment of the average person in Beijing to Kunming, but it does highlight the contemporary relations between Europe and China, and undoubtedly other major Asia or global partners of the EU.

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