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European Elections 2019: What happened this week?

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Matteo Salvini, Olli Kotro and and Joerg Meuthen in Milan on Monday
Matteo Salvini, Olli Kotro and and Joerg Meuthen in Milan on Monday   -   Copyright  Reuters
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Welcome to our weekly round-up of EU elections coverage. With six weeks until voters go to the polls, we'll tell you all you need to know about how the elections work and the role of the parliament, as well as sharing the latest stories.

This week we take a look at some of those running for election, including a former tennis world No.1 and a great-grandson with a formidable political lineage, and examine a poll that shows an upward trend for both the parliament's largest groups. We also discover the vital statistics of the average European and ask, is it you?

Poll position

According to a poll by Europe Elects, the two largest groups in the European Parliament – the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) and centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) – have seen an upward trend but will still take major hits in the election. Europe Elects said the main factors for the recovery were voters witnessing Brexit uncertainty, causing them to turn away from populist parties, and reduced concern over immigration giving right-wing parties less leverage.

Average Jose

Eurostat, the statistics arm of the European Commission, has painted a portrait of the average European. A married homeowner with children and a permanent job, who watches TV and believes in God, Mr/Ms Europe cuts a conventional figure. If this sounds familiar, Euronews wants to hear from you. There are nine criteria to qualify and if you meet them all and live in the EU, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the European Union project. Direct message us on Facebook or Twitter.

Family values

The great-grandson of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini is to run in the EU election for a small far-right party, he announced on Tuesday in an Italian newspaper. Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini is running for the Brothers of Italy party. He insists it is not his last name that makes him stand out, but his first – the Italian form of Gaius Julius Caesar. A former submarine officer who runs his own business from the United Arab Emirates, he said that although he doesn't have any political experience, he has "breathed politics" all his life.

Who is in the running to run the European Commission?

The centre-right EPP has nominated its leader, German Manfred Weber, while the Party of European Socialists has named Dutchman Frans Timmermans, currently second-in-command at the Commission. The Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists has named its president, Czech Jan Zahradil, while the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe has taken a different approach by announcing seven candidates it calls Team Europe.

Starting lineup

A priest, an ex-president, a talk show host, Moldova’s former PM, a former tennis world No.1 and the one-time coach of the national football team are among those in the running to be Romanian MEPs. Outspoken talk show host Rares Bogdan is head of the National Liberal Party list, while Romanian tennis legend Ilie Nastase and ex-footballer and national team manager, Anghel Iordanescu, will represent the National Union for the Progress of Romania party.

And in news from elsewhere...

The Guardian: Don't dread the European elections, they could fix our broken politics

Euractiv: European elections in France, in the shadow of national politics