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The Brief: Brexit shake-up for European Parliament

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The Brief: Brexit shake-up for European Parliament
Copyright  Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved   -   Matt Dunham
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From 1st of February the political arena will be different, with British MEPs heading home, and new members from several EU countries taking up their positions.

For the first time ever the European parliament will reduce in size, from 751 to 705 members.

Brexit will also reshuffle the balance of power between the political groups.

EURONEWS

The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) will be the big winner from Brexit. It doesn’t have any British MEP to lose, and it will gain five more when the UK seats are shared out (going from 182 to 187 MEPs).

For nationalists Brexit is a blessing. The right-wing ID group will overtake the Greens, becoming the fourth largest group in the European Parliament.

But it is too early to claim victory: the loss of the Brexit Party delegation will weaken nationalist opposition to most common policies while pro-European forces get stronger on crucial topics such as environment

"The European political groups that are supporting the Commission as a whole.. such as the S+D, the liberals and the EPP will gain as a whole in influence after Brexit. So for Green issues it won't be a problem for the Greens to lose influence," says Dylan Casey Mashall, from Europe elects.

However, the real challenge for the biggest political family will be the internal harmony.

"It is important to follow whether the EPP will be able to capitalize on this numerical advantage, whether it will be cohesive, which is depending on policy areas. You also have to agree within the group. It is not enough to have big numbers," Doru Frantescu, Vote Watch Founder tells our reporter.

The conflict with its Hungarian member Fidesz might mean its 12 MEPs move to the eurosceptic ECR group, led by Polish Justice and Law party. This could erase the gains made by EPP in the post Brexit Parliament.