Author: Tekla Gabritchidze




2024 is the biggest election year in the world, with more than 64 countries facing elections. Among them, at a supranational level, the European Parliament election is scheduled for June 6-9, in which more than 400 million voters will cast their votes and choose 720 members to form the EU’s only directly elected institution. In 2019, the election turnout reached its highest, at 50.6%, driven partly by greater youth participation. Since then, Europe has undergone substantial changes, including the COVID-19 pandemic, economic crises, and geopolitical tensions in its neighbourhood, among them, of course, Russia’s war in Ukraine. Against this backdrop, and with the EU aspiring to strengthen its global influence, the gravity of the European Parliament election has only increased. This article aims to explore the significance and role of the European Parliament within the EU’s institutional framework, as well as the potential outcome of the election and its impact on EU politics and policies.


Significance of the European Parliament


The European Parliament, established in 1962, gained significant power with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Since then, it has evolved into a pivotal player in EU decision-making, becoming a co-legislator alongside the Council. Today, through the ordinary legislative procedure, the Parliament collaborates with the Council to decide on 95% of EU legislation proposed by the European Commission. Its role extends beyond legislation, and includes supervisory functions, such as approving the Commission President and EU budget, and overseeing EU institutions.


Within the EU institutional framework, the Commission represents community logic, the Council reflects Member State interests, and the European Parliament embodies democratic principles. This setup underscores the significance of the European Parliament election as a democratic litmus test for the Union.


Anticipating a Rightward Surge


The upcoming 2024 European Parliament election is to happen during a trend towards right-wing ideologies throughout the EU. Populist radical right parties are gaining momentum, while support for centre-left and green factions is waning. Mainstream parties like the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) are projected to face electoral challenges, whereas populist right-wing groups such as Identity and Democracy (ID) and the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) are expected to gain influence. Several key member states, including Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Slovakia, are forecasted to be dominated by Eurosceptic populist movements.


The two main political groups in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), strongly oppose Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, advocating for sanctions against Russia, and supporting EU enlargement efforts, particularly in the Eastern neighbourhood. Their focus is on fostering democracy, upholding the rule of law, and promoting economic stability in the region.


The far-right factions in the European Parliament are divided into two political groups that mainly act as adversaries. The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) are more pro-Ukraine, pro-enlargement, and pro-NATO. They align with the EU’s stance on Russia and are “anti-Putin.” On the other hand, the Identity and Democracy (ID) party adopts a more favourable view towards Russia and criticises Western involvement and aid to Ukraine in the Russian-Ukrainian war. The ECR includes prominent parties like the Brothers of Italy, Spain’s Vox, Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS), and France’s Reconquete!. The ID group includes France’s National Rally (RN), Italy’s League party, Germany’s AfD, Austria’s FPO, and Geert Wilders’ PVV Freedom Party from the Netherlands.


While currently holding just 135 of 705 seats in the European Parliament, it is projected that the collective populist supranational parties will increase their seat count to 157, without taking into account potential support from Fidesz. This likely surge in the right-wing presence could result in the formation of a coalition in the European Parliament, potentially including the Christian Democrats, conservatives, and radical-right MEPs, a shift in political dynamics that may affect power balances and impede EU efforts, particularly those related to climate change. As a result, it could jeopardize the EU’s Green Deal and slow progress towards achieving its net-zero targets. Additionally, even without a coalition formation, a slight increase in populist power in Brussels could create challenges, particularly in support of Ukraine. As populist leaders gain momentum, they could sow divisions and weaken Western solidarity with Ukraine, providing a greater voice for pro-Russian, anti-Western Eurosceptics within the Union and, more broadly, within the Western alliance.




The upcoming European Parliament election is a critical moment in European politics, carrying significant implications for the future of EU politics and policymaking. Forecasted outcomes suggest that the European Parliament may undergo a significant shift towards the right in the post-June 2024 period. While the Parliament’s direct impact on foreign policy is limited, the potential political alliances that emerge after the election, and their impact on domestic discussions within member states, will have a significant effect on the ability of the European Commission and Council to handle important foreign policy decisions.


The upcoming European Parliament could impede the implementation of legislation required for the next stage of the Green Deal, which is politically sensitive and could impact the EU’s climate sovereignty. Furthermore, the Parliament may adopt a tougher stance on other issues relevant to EU sovereignty, such as migration, enlargement, and the support provided to Ukraine. This could constrain national governments in their positions within the European Council, as the elections will likely shape domestic debates and impact their stances.


Ultimately, from June 6 to 9, 2024, European citizens will be determining the EU’s political trajectory for the next five years, wielding considerable influence over its direction and priorities.