European Parliament election, 2014
|Map of European Parliament constituencies|
This article is part of a series on the
Elections to the European Parliament will be held in all member states of the European Union (EU) between 22 and 25 May 2014, as decided unanimously by a decision of the Council of the European Union. It will be the eighth Europe-wide election to the European Parliament since the first direct elections in 1979.
The 2014 elections will be held in late May instead of early June as had been the case with previous EP elections. The elections were brought forward in order to provide more time for the election of a president of the European Commission, and because they would otherwise have coincided with the Pentecost weekend which falls during school holidays in many member states.
- 1 Background
- 2 Candidates for Commission president
- 3 Televised debates
- 4 Constitutional issues
- 5 Opinion polls
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The ongoing Eurozone crisis, an offshoot of the Great Recession, started several months after the last Parliament election in June 2009. Although it affected most EU member states, the hardest-hit economies were those of southern Europe: Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, Portugal, but also Ireland. Among other reasons, harsh austerity measures significantly affected the public approval of EU leadership. The percentage of Greeks approving the EU leadership decreased from 32% in 2010 to 19% in 2013, while in Spain, the approval dwindled more than a half from 59% in 2008 to 27% in 2013. Overall, only four of the 27 members countries approved the EU leadership. Peter S. Goodman suggests that "distrust about the treaties and conventions that hold together modern Europe appear at an all-time high." "Europe's establishment parties are widely expected to suffer their worst performance" since 1979, with the three mainstream parties (EPP, PES, ALDE) expected to collectively gain 63% of the vote, a 10% loss since 2009.
The Economist estimated in January 2014 that "anti-EU populists of the left and right could take between 16% and 25% of the parliament’s seats, up from 12% today." Euromoney predicted "anti-EU populists and nationalists" winning around 150 seats in the parliament, almost 20% of the total. A Policy Network article from February 2014 suggested that despite the media focus on anti-EU parties, they "will undoubtedly remain modest compared to" other mainstream parties, but "their growth and their intentions to cooperate, signify important changes for the EU and European politics." In several countries, far-right and right-wing populist parties are expected to win the most number of votes in this election, including in France (National Front), Netherlands (Party for Freedom), and Austria (Freedom Party). In Greece, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) led the opinion polls as of January 2014.
In January 2014, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, said, "We are seeing, in fact, a rise of extremism from the extreme right and from the extreme left" and suggested that the election might become "a festival of unfounded reproaches against Europe." German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated that "The economic crisis could activate centrifugal political forces that could prove dangerous to the European Union as a whole" and went on to describe eurosceptics as "brainless". UKIP leader Nigel Farage stated in his speech at the European Parliament in January 2014 that the upcoming election "is going to be a battle of national democracy versus EU state bureaucracy."
Candidates for Commission president
The Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force on 1 December 2009, provides that the European Parliament shall elect the European Commission president, head of the "EU Executive", on the basis of a proposal made by the European Council taking into account the European elections (article 17, paragraph 7 of the TEU). This provision will apply for the first time for the 2014 elections.
Basing on these new provisions, at least six European political parties have officially committed to designate their frontrunners and nominees for Commission president ahead of the 2014 election: the Party of European Socialists (PES), the European People's Party (EPP), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE party), the European Green Party (EGP), the Party of European Left (EL) and the European Democratic Party.
Nevertheless, major EU politicians such as European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and former Commission president Jacques Delors question the aspiration of European political parties to link the presidency of the European Commission with the result of the European elections and insist that the future Commission president has to suit Member States expectations first.
European People's Party
The European People's Party will hold a special Congress on the 6 and 7 March 2014 in Dublin, during which its 2,000 delegates will select the party's candidate for Commission president and vote on the election manifesto.
However, views are differing within the EPP on the meaning and procedure of this designation. In 2012, the late EPP President Wilfried Martens committed the party to an "open, transparent and competitive process for selecting our presidential candidate". However, some of the party's prominent leaders still question the sense of having an EPP candidate for Commission president, including European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Internal negotiations are under way in order to determine the "profile" of the party's next top candidate, and prominent EPP leaders are taking sides.
- Possible candidates: Jyrki Katainen, Enda Kenny, Donald Tusk
- Declared candidates: Jean-Claude Juncker, Michel Barnier, Valdis Dombrovskis
- Elected candidate: Jean-Claude Juncker
Party of European Socialists
- 1 October 2013: opening of nominations.
- 31 October 2013: close of nominations.
- 6 November 2013: PES Presidency meeting to check the candidacies and publish the official list of candidates.
- 1 December 2013 – 31 January 2014: internal selection process within each member Party or organisation.
- February 2014: PES Election Congress to ratify the votes on the candidate, adopt the Manifesto, and launch the PES European election campaign.
Following the defeat of the Party of European Socialists during the European elections of June 2009, the PES made the decision that PES would designate its candidate for Commission president in December 2009, which rapidly triggered debates about how to select this candidate. The PES Congress gathering in Brussels in November 2011 made the decision that it would select the PES candidate through internal primaries in each of its member parties and organisations. Member parties and organisations are free to determine their own voting process, including by opening it to non-members.
- Possible candidates: José Luis Zapatero, Margot Wallström, Helle Thorning Schmidt, Frans Timmermans, Borut Pahor, Sergei Stanishev, Wouter Bos, José Sócrates, Werner Faymann, Pascal Lamy.
- Declared candidate: Martin Schulz
- Elected candidate: Martin Schulz
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party
The timetable of the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE) for designating its candidate for President of the European Commission is:
- 28–30 November: Nominations opens & Election Manifesto adopted at London Congress
- 19 December: Pre-Summit liberal leaders meeting to discuss nominations received
- 20 December: Nominations formally close
- 1 February: ALDE Party Candidate to be announced at special Electoral Congress, Brussels
In 2012, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE) members were said to be "struggling" to find a candidate for Commission president ahead of the 2014 European elections. Verhofstadt was considered to be the likely nominee, but a meeting of the then-ELDR party held in Dublin from 8 to 10 November 2012 did not agree to formally nominate him yet; concerns voiced included the fact that it was considered unlikely that Verhofstadt would have a chance of getting elected as President of the European Commission, as Anders Fogh Rasmussen (the incumbent Secretary General of NATO) was expected to be appointed to the post of President of the European Council or High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy after the 2014 election, and two liberal politicians in the EU's top ranks were not expected to be considered acceptable. While a compromise position was reached (to nominate a candidate for Commission President "in time for the 2014 European Parliamentary election campaign"), the corresponding resolution was not passed due to disagreements on other points included in the resolution. The ALDE political party finally decided to discuss candidates at the party’s pre-summit meeting at the margins of the 19–20 December European Council. Belgian daily De Standaard and EU news website EurActiv reported during the summit that the ALDE party has appointed Mark Rutte and Christian Lindner as ‘mediators’ between Rehn and Verhofstadt to work out who would be the candidate.
- Possible candidates: Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Guy Verhofstadt, Olli Rehn
- Declared candidates: Guy Verhofstadt, Olli Rehn
- Candidate: Guy Verhofstadt
European Green Party
In July 2013 European Green Party (EGP) announced that it will run a first ever European-wide open online primary as the preparation for European elections in 2014. It was open to all people living in the EU over the age of 16 who "support green values". This primary elected two transnational candidates who will be the face of the common campaign of the European green parties united in the EGP. The candidates elected in the primary will run for the role of the European Commission president.
- Qualified candidates: José Bové, Rebecca Harms, Ska Keller, Monica Frassoni
- Elected candidates: Ska Keller and José Bové
Party of the European Left
Meeting on 19 October 2013 in Madrid, the Council of chairpersons of the Party of the European Left (EL) decided to designate a common candidate for the president of the European Commission in order to prevent "the forces responsible for the crisis" to keep the monopoly during the electoral campaign. The Council reaffirmed however that this new measure "will not hide, as European leaders and the troika hope, their authoritarianism". The Council decided to submit to the decision of the next Congress, 13 to 15 December in Madrid, the candidacy of Alexis Tsipras, who "would be the voice of resistance and hope against the ultra-liberal policies and facing the threat of the extreme right". As Alexis Tsipras will therefore be the only candidate for the job, the Council has mandated the Presidency of the EL to consult all members and observers parties of the EL and the GUE/NGL group in the European parliament about this application. Tsipras’s candidature was confirmed on 15 December.
European Democratic Party
On 2 December 2013 in Rome, the Council of the European Democratic Party decided to designate a candidate on the occasion of the next meeting in February 2014, along with its manifesto. The next president of the Commission will have to "to settle a more political Commission". Allied with the Liberals in the ALDE Group but opposed to Olli Rehn, the European Democratic Party welcomed the candidature of Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Group leader. The party adopted its manifesto on 28 February and will name its candidate on 12 March.
Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists
The Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists will not be presenting a candidate for the European Commission presidency. They argue that participating in the process would legitimate a federalist vision of a European super-state and that the lack of a European demos makes the process illegitimate.
Beyond the candidates designated by European political parties, some independent figures, such as Mario Monti, have been considered for the post of Commission president. But Mario Monti and ex President of the European Commission Romano Prodi have declared their support to Guy Verhofstadt.
European Broadcasting Union
A live television debate between candidates for the presidency of the European Commission will take place on 15 May, hosted by the European Broadcasting Union. This debate will take place in front of a live studio audience in the European Parliament plenary chamber in Brussels. Veteran Italian journalist, war correspondent, TV anchor, author, filmmaker, and broadcasting executive Monica Maggioni will be the main presenter.
The debate will be 90 minutes long and will feature every candidate who meets the following selection criteria: each candidate must be nominated by one of the 13 parties currently represented in the European Parliament; the nominating party must be represented in one of the seven recognized groups in the European Parliament; only one candidate per group is allowed; and only presidential candidates nominated before 15 March are eligible. Thus, there will be a maximum of seven participants.
A second debate, scheduled for 20 May, was planned, but is now on hold. This debate was to be a 45 minute head-to-head debate between the candidates of the two leading parties (according to the average of the last three election polls published before the end of April 2014 in all EU Member States). Thus, excepting a huge upset in the polls, this would be a debate between PES's Martin Schulz, and the EPP's Jean-Claude Juncker. In meetings following the EBU's announcement of the two planned debates, smaller parties such as ALDE and the Greens criticised the format of the head-to-head debate, saying that it excludes them from fair visibility ahead of the election. The socialist candidate, Martin Schulz, and his team also decided to back down from the two-man debate due to fears of losing political support from smaller European parties.
The EBU will distribute the debate to its members, which are public service broadcasters such as the BBC, RAI and TF1. The organisers are hoping that the candidates will all speak in English so that the programme will not be burdened with awkward lags for interpretation. However, the nominees will be guaranteed the right to speak in their own language if they so choose.
The EBU debate is only one of a handful being organised. The University of Maastricht is holding a debate for the nominees on 28 April. That debate will be live-streamed on the web.
Shortly after the EPP's congress, German and Austrian public television channels announced that they will organize two television debates between the Juncker and Schulz. ZDF of Germany and ORF of Austria are to host a debate on May 8. Germany‘s ARD public broadcast chain will host a show on May 20 in which an audience of 175 will be able to pose questions to the two men.
Apportionment of seats
|A. Duff's 2nd prop.||European
The article 14 of the Treaty of Lisbon lays down that "The European Parliament shall be composed of representatives of the Union’s citizens. They shall not exceed seven hundred and fifty in number, plus the President. Representation of citizens shall be degressively proportional, with a minimum threshold of six members per Member State. No Member State shall be allocated more than ninety-six seats."
It had been the stated desire of the member-state governments to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon before the 2009 election so that its articles governing the European Parliament could enter force as of this election. However, this was blocked by the Irish rejection of the treaty in a referendum. Therefore, in June 2009, the European Parliament was elected under the rules of the Treaty of Nice, which foresaw 736 seats, instead of the 751 foreseen in the Treaty of Lisbon.
The Lisbon Treaty was subsequently ratified, and provisional measures were ratified in December 2011 to give the additional seats to the "increasing" countries already before the 2014 elections, without withdrawing the 3 extra-seats of Germany. These 18 additional MEPs brought the number of MEPs to 754 for a transitional period until 2014. These 18 "phantom MEPs" would first have an observer statute, before becoming full members of parliament if an additional protocol is ratified by 2014.
As a consequence, the 2014 election will be the first to apply the apportionment of seats foreseen in application of the Lisbon treaty.
However, the accession of Croatia that took place on 1 July 2013 forces the EU to review the distribution of seats within the European Parliament as the number of seats will reach 766 with this new member state, exceeding the ceiling of 751 seats laid down by article 14 of the Treaty on the European Union.
MEP Andrew Duff (ALDE, UK) tabled two reports in March 2011 and September 2012 proposing new aportionments of seats (see opposite table). Decisions on the aportionment of seats within the Parliament are governed by article 14 of the Treaty on the European Union establishing that "The European Council shall adopt by unanimity, on the initiative of the European Parliament and with its consent, a decision establishing the composition of the European Parliament", respecting the principle of degressive proportionality, the threshold of 6 MEPs for smaller member states and the limit of 96 MEPs of bigger member states.
EU electoral law
Since October 2008, MEP Andrew Duff (ALDE, UK) has advocated within the European Parliament for a reform of EU electoral law for the 2014 elections, including the creation of a single constituency of 25 seats in which each European citizen would be entitled to vote on the basis of pan-European lists. He has been nominated rapporteur, as the European Parliament has the right of initiative in this field ruled by unanimity in the Council.
After the 2009 election, Andrew Duff proposed a new version of his report, which was adopted by the parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) in April 2011. However, the plenary session of the Parliament referred the report back to the AFCO committee in July 2011. A third version of the report  was published in September 2011 and adopted by the AFCO committee in January 2012, but was withdrawn before being discussed in plenary in March 2012 for fear that it would likely be turned down.
No pan-European opinion polls are carried out but Pollwatch 2014, and others, have compiled predictions of the outcome of the elections based on national polls.
|5 March 2014||Pollwatch||202 (26.9%)||209 (27.8%)||61 (8.1%)||44 (5.9%)||45 (6.0%)||67 (8.9%)||31 (4.1%)||92 (12.3%)|
|3 March 2014||Scenari Politici||216 (28.8%)||224 (29.8%)||63 (8.4%)||34 (4.5%)||42 (5.6%)||62 (8.3%)||30 (4.0%)||80 (10.7%)|
|2 March 2014||Electionista||204 (27.2%)||206 (27.4%)||72 (9.6%)||42 (5.6%)||45 (6.0%)||59 (7.8%)||31 (4.1%)||92 (12.3%)|
|27 February 2014||Foederalist||214 (28.5%)||214 (28.5%)||70 (9.3%)||45 (6.0%)||44 (5.9%)||57 (7.6%)||24 (3.2%)||83 (11.1%)|
|23 February 2014||Kapa Research||202 (26.9%)||215 (28.6%)||74 (9.9%)||43 (5.7%)||41 (5.5%)||56 (7.5%)||38 (5.1%)||82 (10.9%)|
|19 February 2014||Pollwatch||200 (26.6%)||217 (28.9%)||70 (9.3%)||44 (5.9%)||42 (5.6%)||56 (7.5%)||30 (4.0%)||92 (12.3%)|
|7 June 2009||2009 elections||265 (36.0%)||183 (25.0%)||84 (11.4%)||55 (7.5%)||54 (7.3%)||35 (4.8%)||32 (4.3%)||28 (3.8%)|
Note: Percentages indicated proportion of predicted seats and not vote share.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to European Parliament election, 2014.|
- Official website of the elections
- Poptcheva, Eva-Maria. "Electoral thresholds in European elections. Developments in Germany". Library Briefing. Library of the European Parliament. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- Image-movie of the EU-campaign "Act. React. Impact." (YouTube)