From 23 to 26 May 2019, European citizens elected the new European Parliament (EP) for the period 2019 - 2024. An impressive outcome of these elections was the fact that voter turnout has increased for the first time in 20 years, with around 51 % of all voters casting their ballot.
Beyond this, many questions regarding the constitution and work of the incoming EP are currently still open. At the time of the Monthly Report publication, the final list of newly elected MEPs has not been published yet. After its publication, political groups –groupings of MEPs from different EU Member States that form on the basis of their political affinities – will be constituted. While some existing EP groups will stay, it is likely that new formations will develop because of the inclusion of new national parties or changes in EU-wide coalitions. Even inside the existing groups, different results on the national level will lead to new leaders appearing in the existing structures. Republique En Marche, party of the French President Emmanuel Macron, will for example become the biggest national group in the liberal ALDE group, while the Spanish Socialist Party will hold the largest number of MEPs in the Social-Democrat group.
Overall, one can however already take away some considerations for the future work. For the first time, the two big political groups, the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialist and Democrats (S&D) do not have a common majority anymore, dropping under a combined 50 % of seats. This means that other groups will have to agree on common positions in order to adopt legislation or make decisions in the coming personnel discussions. This creates potential king maker roles for the Greens and Liberal groups and could lead to an increased number of votes being decided topic by topic instead of along political lines.
Similarly, it has to be seen what effect the results will have on the decision on the future Commission President. In 2014, the so-called Spitzenkandidat-Prozess was applied for the first time, with Jean-Claude Juncker being elected President of the Commission as the lead candidate of the biggest group (EPP). Whether this will be the case again this time around, is currently open, with a number of Member States seemingly reluctant to follow the same logic again. In parallel, the distribution of votes equally leads to a more complex negotiations inside the EP itself, where the designated candidates will now have to convince other groups to support them.
These decisions will naturally have an important impact on sport. Trilogue negotiations between the Council, EP and the Commission on the EU's future multiannual financial framework (MFF) and on the concrete shape of future funding programmes are looming - in recent weeks and months, the old Parliament has adopted many files or positions that support sport in this regard.
Similarly, the European Parliament will take up an important role considering the newly appointed Commissioner and the portfolios they will take on. In 2014, the EP successfully added sport to the portfolio of Tibor Navracsics (alongside, culture, education and youth) which proved to allow for a positive development of EU Sports Policy in the past five years. The EOC EU Office expects the new Parliament to push for the interests of the sport movement along these lines in the upcoming hearings with the new Commissioners and in the negotiations of legislative files.