EP2014: what comes next for European politics?

Today, one should spend a few words about European elections, for the composition of European Parliament – and the presidency of the Commission as well, think of Jacques Delors – has always been crucial for the evolution of European policy and European planning. Moreover, this time for the first time, major European parties had announced the names of their candidate to presidency of the Commission during campaign. Last but not least, and as a consequence of the centrality of crisis in political discourse, these have probably been the most debated and followed European elections ever – although not the ones with highest turnout.

What happened, then? The Wall Street Journal has a good infographic which shows a shrinking European People’s Party (main centre-right coalition) and stable Socialist & Democrats (main centre-left coalition). The more evident growth is that of “non affiliated lawmakers” where several fair-right and/or anti-immigration parties sit.

What is probably most interesting, as an indicator of change, is the geographic polarisation of winning/growing parties: successful right parties are mostly concentrated in Central-Western countries (especially the UKIP in UK and National Front in France), EPP received most consensus in Central-Eastern Europe, whereas Southern European countries have seen the advance of centre-left and left parties. This is especially interesting and may be somehow understood on the grounds of the relationships between geographic distribution of impacts of the crisis and European responses to it.

For sure, the new EU parliament will be a more variegated arena, and one can imagine a growth of debate, if not political conflict, in legislative process. Some specific results may have special relevance. May the unexpectedly broad success of the Italian Democratic Party restructure power relationships inside the S&D moving its “barycentre” towards South (also in relation with the debacle of the French Socialist Party)? Will the growth of left parties in Southern Europe be able to make of Alexis Tsipras a new subject in the continental debate? And what about fair right, will they be able to find a common platform at the end?

And how will all this influence the field of European planning?

(Simone Tulumello)

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About Simone Tulumello

Post-doc researcher in Planning and Geography at ULisboa, Institute of Social Sciences. Keen in cities, politics, photography and electronic music. Lover of cities, especially Palermo and Lisbon, in a complicated relationship with Memphis TN.
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