The map of the new European parliament, despite the frothy announcements of a swing to the far-right, remains dominated by mainstream parties. The far left also gained, as did the Greens, and turnout was slightly up on 2009.
The EU’s leaders remain concerned that the EU is failing to carry the popular support it needs to validate its ambitions, but for one, the centre-right’s candidate for the presidency of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, a win is a win.
“I do think that in the next coming days and weeks we have to discuss not only posts and appointments but that we have to discuss in depth substance, and I’m prepared to discuss substance mainly with the Socialist party, because there is no majority outside the so-called ‘great coalition,’” he said.
Martin Shultz’s chances of challenging Junker for the top Commission job have been dented by the centre-left’s second-place finish, but it seems likely he will endorse a continuation of the power-sharing agreement in Brussels. Arm-twisting can now begin in earnest for the Commission leadership.
While the parliament’s passage into the next session is smooth, it may be a long battle to decide on who replaces José Manuel Barroso at the Commission, as several member states already reject the Juncker/Shultz candidacies.