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President of the European Commission seeks allies after far-right gains

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen began trying to form a coalition on Monday after the far right made gains in an election for the European Parliament, spurring French President Emmanuel Macron to call a vote national advance.

A shift to the right within the European Parliament could make it difficult to pass new laws to respond to security challenges, the impact of climate change or industrial competition from China and the United States.

Von der Leyen, the German president of the European Union’s powerful executive body, emerged stronger from the four-day, 27-country election that ended on Sunday (9), when her center-right European People’s Party (EPP) won seats. .

But to secure a second five-year term, von der Leyen needs the support of a majority of EU national leaders and a working majority in the European Parliament.

Monday’s provisional results gave the main parties that supported von der Leyen last time – the EPP, the Socialists and the Liberals – a total of 402 seats in the 720-member chamber.

But that number is widely seen in Brussels as a very slim majority. Therefore, von der Leyen may also contact the Greens, who have suffered heavy losses, and Italy’s nationalist Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, with whom she has worked closely.

Late Sunday night, von der Leyen said she would start by trying to rebuild the parliamentary base of her last term.

“I have been working to build a broad majority of pro-European forces. And that is why, starting tomorrow, we will be in contact with the big political families with whom we form the platform,” she told reporters in Brussels.

Von der Leyen indicated she would talk to others after these initial consultations, keeping her options open.

She said she intends to work with those who are “pro-European, pro-Ukraine and pro-rule of law” – a description she made clear she thinks applies to Meloni’s Brothers of Italy but not some other parties far right.

However, socialists, liberals and the Greens have already declared that they will not work with the far right, which makes von der Leyen’s coalition-building efforts extremely delicate.

Meloni also kept his options open on Monday, saying it was too early to decide on a second term for von der Leyen.

Nationalist, populist and EU-skeptical parties are on track to win around a quarter of the seats in the EU assembly.

Political analysts attribute the general shift to the right to rising costs of living, concerns about immigration and the cost of the green transition, as well as the war in Ukraine – concerns that nationalist and populist parties have seized on.

However, exactly how much influence these parties will exert will depend on their ability to bridge differences. Currently, they are divided between two political families and, for now, some parties and parliamentarians are outside these groupings.

Provisional results showed that the PPE won 185 seats, the Socialists 137 and the Liberals 80.

Source: CNN Brasil

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