Political campaign ahead of 2019 European Parliament elections

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Publication Date April-May 2019
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Reports, analyses and information on the political campaigns undertaken across the European Union, ahead of the European Parliament elections held on 23-26 May 2019.

Further information:

One month ahead of the European Parliament elections, political campaigning across the European Union intensified. The European People's Party (EPP) lead candidate Manfred Weber launched his campaign on 25 April in Athens. A group of far-right leaders met in Prague on the same day to follow up on an initiative to bring together like-minded political forces in the European Parliament's post-election configuration.

The first debate between the lead candidates (or Spitzenkandidaten) for each Europarty was held on 29 April, despite the absence of EPP's Manfred Weber. A further debate was held on 2 May with the four main lead candidates for the presidency of the European Commission. In the meantime, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (EPP) gave an interview to an Italian newspaper in which he praised the country's deputy Prime Minister and far-right leader, Matteo Salvini. Both suggested their respective Europarties should cooperate following the European election.

On 6 May, media sources reported that Mr Orbán no longer supported Manfred Weber in his bid to become the next President of the European Commission.

On 15 May, the six lead candidates of the main political parties for the position of the President of the European Commission met for a head-to-head debate on a range of issues.

Nationalist parties from across Europe held a rally on 18 May. The event was headlined by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen of France's National Rally (NR), who aimed to bring together Europe's disparate far-right into a cohesive movement. For the election, the two populists were eager for their Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group to become the third largest party in Brussels, after far-right parties had spilt into three blocs following the 2014 European Parliament elections.

For country-based information [progressively expanded]:

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
Politico, 24/04/2019: Manfred Weber’s big fat Greek challenge https://www.politico.eu/article/manfred-weber-big-fat-greek-problem-spitzenkandidate-epp-european-commission/
Bloomberg, 25/04/2019: Manfred Weber's Campaign to Lead European Commission [Video Interview] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2019-04-25/manfred-weber-s-campaign-to-lead-european-commission-video
The Economist, 27/04/2019: Why the European Parliament elections will be the most European yet https://www.economist.com/europe/2019/04/27/why-the-european-parliament-elections-will-be-the-most-european-yet
Euro|topics, April 2019: EU elections: what do the politicians have to offer https://www.eurotopics.net/en/217690/
Bruegel: Road to Europe: The Spitzenkandidaten series http://bruegel.org/europe2019/
Politico, 03/05/2019: Commission candidates target dangerous enemy: National capitals https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-commission-candidates-target-national-capitals-council/
Politico, 03/05/2019: Frenzy in Firenze: 4 takeaways from EU lead candidate debate https://www.politico.eu/article/frenzy-in-firenze-4-takeaways-from-eu-lead-candidate-debate/
Euro|topics, May 2019: Orbán and Salvini: closed ranks on border fence https://www.eurotopics.net/en/219295/
Euro|topics, May 2019: Is Orbán out to sever all ties with the EPP? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/219542/
Politico, 07/05/2019: Michel Barnier steps out of the shadows https://www.politico.eu/article/michel-barnier-steps-out-of-the-shadows/
BBC News, 13/05/2019: European elections: Love and hate in EU after economic rescues https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48229537
Euro|Topics, 15/05/2019: EU Commission presidency: Weber's chances waning? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/219962/eu-commission-presidency-weber-s-chances-waning
Euro|Topics, 15/05/2019: What unites and what divides the Europeans? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/219870/what-unites-and-what-divides-the-europeans
Euractiv, 21/05/2019: EU elections 2019: Where do parties stand on migration? https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/eu-elections-2019-where-do-parties-stand-on-migration/
Euro|Topics, 20/05/2019: Right-wing populists meet in Milan https://www.eurotopics.net/en/220216/right-wing-populists-meet-in-milan

France24, 25/04/2019: Far-right party leaders meet in Prague ahead of EU vote https://www.france24.com/en/20190425-far-right-party-leaders-meet-prague-ahead-eu-vote
EurActiv, 26/04/2019: Greek centre-right party accused of ‘censoring’ EPP’s Weber https://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/news/greek-centre-right-party-accused-of-censoring-epps-weber/
EurActiv, 26/04/2019: Europe’s far-right touts ‘new European harmony’ in EU vote https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/europes-far-right-touts-new-european-harmony-in-eu-vote/
Politico, 29/04/2019: Timmermans and Verhofstadt spar in election debate https://www.politico.eu/article/timmermans-and-verhofstadt-spar-in-european-election-2019-debate/
EurActiv, 29/04/2019: First Spitzenkandidaten debate falls flat https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/first-spitzenkandidaten-debate-falls-flat/
EUObserver, 30/042019: Spitzenkandidaten debate in Maastricht minus Weber https://euobserver.com/eu-election/144762
Politico, 02/05/2019: Orbán, Salvini flirt with alliance after EU election https://www.politico.eu/article/orban-salvini-flirt-with-alliance-after-eu-election/
EurActiv, 02/05/2019: Orban says Salvini is the most important politician in Europe https://www.euractiv.com/section/all/news/orban-says-salvini-is-the-most-important-politician-in-europe/
La Stampa, 02/05/2019: Viktor Orbán: 'Money, safety, market. Today there are already three Europe, but we pretend there is only one' https://www.lastampa.it/2019/05/02/esteri/victor-orban-money-safety-market-today-there-are-already-three-europes-but-we-pretend-there-is-only-one-LpGkFQpBBo8xWuge3nuYTI/pagina.html
Hungary Today, 02/05/2019: Orbán to La Stampa: ‘EPP Should Work with Salvini’ https://hungarytoday.hu/orban-to-la-stampa-epp-should-work-with-salvini/
Euronews, 02/05/2019: Hungarian Prime Minister seeks immigration cooperation with Italy's Salvini https://www.euronews.com/2019/05/02/hungarian-prime-minister-seeks-immigration-cooperation-with-italy-s-salvini
EurActiv, 03/05/2019: Salvini embraces friend Orbán, keeping chances of EPP deal alive https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/salvini-embraces-friend-orban-keeping-chances-of-epp-deal-alive/
EurActiv, 03/05/2019: Pro-European candidates for EU election identify Council as the ‘common enemy’ https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/pro-european-candidates-for-eu-election-identify-council-as-the-common-enemy/
Deutsche Welle, 02/05/2019: Hungary's Orban inches closer to Salvini-led anti-migrant EU bloc https://p.dw.com/p/3HqEl
Reuters, 06/05/2019: Exit from mainstream looms after Orban rejects EU conservative https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN1SC1B9
Hungary Today, 06/05/2019: Orbán: Govt Withdraws Support for Manfred Weber https://hungarytoday.hu/orban-govt-withdraws-support-for-manfred-weber/
EurActiv, 07/05/2019: EPP divorce looms after Orban rejects Weber as Spitzenkandidat https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/epp-divorce-looms-after-orban-rejects-weber-as-spitzenkandidat/
Politico, 06/05/2019: Orbán backs away from Weber https://www.politico.eu/article/orban-withdraws-support-for-webers-commission-candidacy/
Deutsche Welle, 06/05/2019: Hungary's Orban rescinds support for Manfred Weber in EU vote https://p.dw.com/p/3I1Y9
Reuters, 15/05/2019: Duelling in the dark - EU candidates pitch to (some) voters https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-eu-election-debate/duelling-in-the-dark-eu-candidates-pitch-to-voters-idUKKCN1SL2UQ
Deutsche Welle, 15/05/2019: EU election candidates face off in TV debate https://p.dw.com/p/3IZE6
EurActiv, 16/05/2019: First clashes liven up last EU Spitzenkandidat debate ahead of election https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/first-clashes-liven-up-last-eu-spitzenkandidat-debate-ahead-of-election/
BBC News, 16/05/2019: Candidates spar for European Commission president job https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48280134
EUObserver, 16/05/2019: Timmermans calls for left-wing coalition at debate https://euobserver.com/political/144909
Politico, 16/05/2019: Timmermans lays ground for left coalition against https://www.politico.eu/article/timmermans-lays-ground-for-left-coalition-against-epp/
Euronews, 16/05/2019: EU Presidential Debate: 'A tax haven is a place where everyone pays their taxes,' says Vestager https://www.euronews.com/2019/05/16/eu-presidential-debate-a-tax-haven-is-a-place-where-everyone-pays-their-taxes-says-vestage
EurActiv, 16/05/2019: European election list leaders unite against the right https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/european-election-list-leaders-unite-against-the-right/
Politico, 18/05/2019: Salvini rally rumbled by Austrian far-right scandal https://www.politico.eu/article/matteo-salvini-rally-rumbled-by-austrian-far-right-scandal/
Deutsche Welle, 18/05/2019: Nationalist and far-right parties rally in Milan ahead of EU vote https://p.dw.com/p/3Igvu
Euronews, 20/05/2019: Salvini and Le Pen rally to unite European nationalists in Milan https://www.euronews.com/2019/05/18/salvini-and-le-pen-headline-european-nationalist-rally-in-milan
EUObserver, 20/05/2019: Europe's far-right - united in diversity? https://euobserver.com/opinion/144913
BBC News, 21/05/2019: European elections 2019: A moment of truth for nationalists https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48264638

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