Elections to the European Parliament — a quick post mortem

Andreas Ortmann
3 min readJun 10, 2024

Europeans just elected a new European Parliament. Here is why it matters.

In Germany (as in most other countries) interest was high — 64.8 percent of eligible voters did vote, the highest percentage ever since the unification.

The outcome in Germany was not unexpected.

All parties in the governing federal coalition (Greens [Gruene], Labor [SPD], Liberals [FDP]) lost voters, with the Greens taking a major hit of more than 40 percent lost votes. In contrast, the right-wing anti-immigration/anti-EU folks gained more than 40 percent on what was already a substantial base. They are now the second-largest German contingent in the European Parliament after the Conservatives, the party of the president of the European Commission since 2019, Ursula von der Leyen.

Of marginal interest also: The Left [Linke] (already a fairly inconsequential bunch) got decimated to insignificance while its former member, and prime-time diva Sahra Wagenknecht and her motley crew of discontented called the Buendniss Sahra Wagenknecht [BSW], managed to get more votes (6.2%) than the Left had in 2019. An impressive showing. Expect some fiery speeches — but little else — from her in the next few years.

On the European level the right-wing also surged in the elections but, as CCN noted, correctly I think, the center (i.e., the parties that supported Von Der Leyen and her politics), held. Plus the right wing parties are not exactly a unified block. Famously, the German AfD got disavowed a couple of months ago by their European comrades. And the AfD is not even internally a unified bunch; rather it remains two parties masquerading as one. It is easy to unite against something but much harder to unite and be for something.

The most consequential surge on the European level was the one in France, where Le Pen’s RN won almost 37% of the vote, followed by Macron’s pro-European list (close to 15%) and the Socialist Party with 14%. Macron has since decided to call a snap national election. That’s a gamble but it seems a smart political move, forcing the French populace to once more consider whether they really want Le Pen to run France. My prediction is that the French will deny Le Pen a majority in the election which is coming up soon. (According to Macron, the first round will be held on June 30, with a second round on July 7.) My prediction is that Macron’s gamble will pay off.

In terms of the European Parliament, I’d be surprised if much will change. Von der Leyen, Social Democrats, Liberals, and Greens have enough votes to keep Le Pen and similar folks out of contention. There will be some posturing and bargaining but that will be it.

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Andreas Ortmann

EconProf: I post occasionally on whatever tickles my fancy: Science, evidence production, the Econ tribe, Oz politics, etc. Y’all r entitled to my opinions …