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You are here: Home > Diritto di Voto / EU, Italy, Turin > EP2024_006: Impacts - #European #Parliament #elections

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Published on 2024-06-16 12:20:00 | words: 2560

Rationale



It is quite funny to have the "rationale" side of this article (as all the others) written before releasing the first article of this series.

Anyway, this side of the article is about applying an approach that derived from other activities carried out for few decades as a framework of observation of the European Parliament elections.

The first step after any election is different if you were a candidate or an analyst, or even just a voter.

With European Parliament elections, there are some further dimensions of analysis, which remind me what happened whenever, in past activities, we had first to clarify and align "organizational components" of a joint effort, to then become part, as a unit, of a further level of bartering.

Few articles ago, shared how, while many say that the European Union is not a different form of USA, we still de facto adopted a bit USA electoral system- in the way we have diffe rent "layers" that eventually produce the resulting appointments at the top level of European Union institutions.

Now, there is a complex "conveyor belt of interests" on the way up to the elections, but it becomes even more complex the aftermath- notably when there are ongoing choices to be defined.

It was expected that these elections will result in an expansion of the presence of "families" that were not part of the current arrangements at the European Union level.

And since late 2023 there have been shifts on that side toward a potential different role from that of "permanent opposition".

The forthcoming changes will require a significant "consensus building" role at the national level, a role that will have to involve National Governments and National Parliaments, not just the European Union institutions and Parliament.

Unless there are more urgent matters, few weeks will be lost with the usual "and now, what", i.e. assessing who gains and who loses at the National and European Union level, party by party and political family by political family.

Consider an election as the end of the "preparation" phase: in business, equivalent to a signed contract.

While in business what happens next sometimes is done without external interferences, after any election, also if you are the outright winner, external interferences have multiple sources.

Just to list three of these sources:
_ those inside your own coalition trying to extract more value
_ other parties that you would need to deal with if you have to "barter" with others
_ those who "lost" but assume that they too can extract more value if they undermine your own coalition.

Incidentally, the list above assumes "rational sources"- but there are often also "irrational sources" who misunderstand their own "value extracting potential" after being elected, and turn just into entropy generators.

During the next two weeks will probably share on my Facebook and Linkedin profile news items and associated commentary.

The next article will summarize what happened during these two weeks.



Commentary







Yes, obviously there was something more important that shattered ongoing bartering just when the results were announced: the call for earlier election in France.

Many called it a gamble, but it was better than getting what in China was long ago called "death by a thousand cuts"- both in France and, directly and indirectly, at the EU level.

In Italy, since WWII we are used to government that stand in office while losing votes one after another in Parliament.

Just because no other mix of political parties could form a coalition- so, until roughly the early 1990s we had a routine of portfolio reshuffling for a "new" government that often had many of the same politicians that were within the previous one, albeit admittled since the start of the Second Republic we had a bit more variety.

In more recent times, instead we got used to a more dynamic environment- a free-for-all where no matter who gets more votes at the polls, a coalition is assembled after the elections to form a government.

Generally, a short-lived one.

Within the European Union, there is an initial vote on the new "government of the European Union" (the European Commission), but then generally each Commission stayed in office until the next European Parliament elections.

Except, of course, a case in the late 1990s- but in that case was the only way to remove a member due to a scandal (as said member refused to resign, forcing all the Commission to resign to remove her).

It is yet to be seen what would happen in our times if there were similar issues.

The tea leaves currently say that the incumbent President of the European Commission might be in for a confirmation, maybe leveraging a bit on the "new trend" to barter on the composition of the Commission, and maybe even to get a grudging acceptance to a confirmation of a new paradigm for roles.

Anyway, I remember decades ago how the European Parliament became also a kind of speaker's corner for some to generate political pressure in their own home country.

Hence, a communication guerrilla was to be expected, to generate buzz until the next national election- hence, it was probably a bolder move than many Italian politicians would have taken, but it makes sense to call for an early election to confirm support.

Whatever the results, chances are that they will be in before the final word on who is going to be the next President of the European Commission is cast in stone.

I wrote in previous articles why I think that confirming the incumbent would be a wrong choice- but a lower turnout at the European Parliament elections opened the doors for more extremists.

That in former DDR there was a significant advance of the extreme right frankly is no surprise, from what I heard in the past and was told by others.

If both France and Germany, two countries that pushed toward further integration, were to be turned over government coalitions less inclined to stay the course set by their predecessors, at this pivotal time, this could actually spell the end of the European Union as we know (and how we assumed that it would become.

No matter who were to become (or confirmed) as President of the European Commission.

Why "this pivotal time"? Well, if you read previous articles in this series you know why- between 2019 and 2024 there have been many "stretching opportunities taken" on the developing political role of the European Commission, a unique case of an almost self-regulating unelected government of an aggregate of more than 500 million people.

I am and have always been for more integration but also more subsidiarity, and routinely expressed my dislike for "Monnet moments" that, also if went into the direction of more integration, did so without a direct democratic support: just pushing and pulling (or even pulling the proverbial white rabbit from the hat).

Sometimes seemed as if both the European Parliament and the Council were just rubberstamping decisions made elsewhere.

One of the reforms could probably restructure the Commission so that it becomes closer to a real government, i.e. not anymore having agencies and commissioners identified to give a bit to each Member States- if the Member States support the concept.

And this using the menace of bringing aboard the "new trend" might push both a confirmation of the encumbent and of the status quo on the expansion of power of the European Commission.

Expansion that, in my view, would make sense only if there were a significant reshuffling of roles and powers of the E0uropean Parliament, European Council, as well as the CoR, as we have more alignment of interests between some regions spanning across multiple Member States, than with the Member State that they belong to.

Yes, seen from outside (and also as presented from insiders) often you can a picture of a "vertical" European Union, from cities to regions to countries, to the whole European Union: but the reality on the social and economic level is a tad more complex.

So, when reshuffling powers, would be the right time to reconsider their distribution.

And as we de facto got in the 2019-2024 term a shift toward an even more presidential orientation than the USA, it might be interesting to consider the CoR as our future representation of States and regions, and the European Parliament as representation of citizens.

The council? Frankly, some would like to have it as a third chamber but, as anyway they represent States and elected by citizens, probably would eventually be more detrimental to European Union cohesion and bridging the democratic deficit, than helping it.

Imagine if the European Union were to expand to 35 or more countries, from the Atlantic to the Urals and why not the Southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

Some consider that the gamble could have lasting damaging effects both on France and the European Union dream.

The title of this episode of the EP2024 series is "impacts": and so far, scratched just the surface- but there will be time within the next articles to see how the context will evolve.

Do not forget the two wars: including the mutual escalation from Russia of seizing industrial assets after USA & allies decided to use the interests on Russian investments to fund Ukraine, and the further step announced at the G7 which is a de facto retaliation to Russia's industrial assets move.

A one-two-three that also shows the different roles and investment choices (as well as structure of the economy): our companies had operations in Russia, Russia's companies and entities had investments.

Going back to the impacts, some would probably look at a potential domino-effect on other centre-left governments within the European Union.

Anyway, again I think that while being risky, it is more "political" choice than that so far adopted by others.

If successful, would both reassert a mandate, differentiate vs. the European Parliament choice, and potentially force to align the reborn "neither Macron nor Le Pen" French coalition that, to be credible, should have been built before the European Parliament elections.

Counting the members of the choir and preaching to them does not imply winning an outright majority from others.

Because the numbers of the shift to the right are there but not really a paradigm shift, weren't for the temptation, in order to obtain a second mandate at the European Commission, to get also those votes within the European Parliament (or at least use them as an indirect threat to the left and green side).

It would be as curious an evolution as when the Italian President of the Council of Ministers did the same, but in the other direction, first with a government together with Salvini's Northern League (which nowadays is really often at the right of the right of President of the Council of Ministers Meloni), and then, with no solution of continuity, a government together with the Democratic Party.

Anyway, redefining what in Italy was called "Ursula coalition" with a shift to the right would not come cheap: but this is nothing new, as also in 2019 there was a political price to pay to get that candidate that had not been a Spitzenkandidat elected.

Many bet that the price would be the "green" and RePowerEU, but instead I think that those could be negotiable.

If the incumbent were confirmed by exactly the same coalition, the weakness of the coalition parties in their home countries (notably for centre-left government still holding office) would force them to dilute some elements that the centre and right have been actively disliking within e.g. the "green transformation" side of the NextGenerationEU and associated or derived measures.

Probably a coalition built on national identities would focus more on defense, economy, finance- i.e. what routinely gives "freedom of movement and visibility" across all the stakeholders: planting the flag of national determination while accepting the reality of the need to pool resources.

Meaning: left or centre or right, the European Union still need more at least orchestration if not outright integration in policies, if it is to be able just to hold its ground instead of becoming a pawn in somebody else's "grand strategy".

It is not just the right that would like to have more voice at the national level and delegate less freedom of setting structural constraints to an unelected bureaucracy.

From tomorrow, June 17th, will start official meetings at the European Union level that are steps within a roadmap to the appointment of the various Presidents that our current European Union institutional setup prescribe, plus the bartering on dossiers etc.

Unless key states will sideline again both incumbent and pre-selected candidates for each family, to give a sign of change, and appoint again an unexpected consensus candidate, the current consensus is that the incumbent will be confirmed.

Anyway, how the Commission will be built, and how the ongoing initiatives will be impacted does not reduce the impact of the European Parliament elections at the national level, as at least provided a powerful and visible soapbox to political forces that currently are not mainstream.

How will they leverage their opportunities? Depends on how structured is their own political roadmap.

In some cases really those appointed are on an ego trip: good to get visibility and routinely remind that you exist, but not useful to build momentum at the European and national level.

And already some extremists actually got pushed out of the picture, even during the last week before the elections.

For others, it is too early to see if they will raise up to the opportunity are given, or will content themselves at having a seat at the table, and getting into the "stay in office" game, by seeking personal European or national seats, but with no political impact.

So, probably looking at impacts this time will require looking on multiple dimensions and, at last, considering different timeframes.

As some of the decisions to be made already on the table will have a long-lasting impact, no matter how scaled-down those choices will get through negotiations.

See you in two weeks!