Political leaders across Europe prepare for 2019 European Parliament elections

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Author (Corporate)
Publication Date January-April 2019
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Summary:

Reports and analyses published in early 2019 as political leaders and parties in the European Union gear up for the European Parliament elections, scheduled to be held on 23-36 May.

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Much of the media and commentary features have focused on the meetings and attempts developed by populist and far-right political leaders to gather momentum ahead of the elections. The political cleavage on migration became salient as conservative and far-right leaders from Italy, Hungary and Poland sought to coordinate their narrative of 'closed doors' before the start of the official political campaign, as opposed to an 'open doors' approach led by France and Germany.

France's National Rally leader Marine Le Pen launched the party's campaign on 11 January 2019, urging the 'Yellow Vest' movement to turn the European election into a referendum on government policies. In Germany, the AfD party held a national meeting on the same day, in which a proposal to campaign for EU exit was approved unless the party's demands for reform are met. Silvio Berlusconi - former Prime Minister and long-standing political figure in Italy - announced on 17 January he intended to run for a seat at the European Parliament in the forthcoming elections. Later in the month, members of the 'Yellow Vest' movement in France announced the first names of a list of candidates to run in the European Parliament election.

On 18 February, the Hungarian government launched an information campaign targeting the outgoing President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, which was promptly condemned. Mr Juncker later denounced the campaign and stated that Hungary's governing Fidesz party no longer belongs in the centre-right EPP political group. On 20 March, the EPP's Political Assembly voted to suspend Fidesz until further notice and subject the party to an assessment over its course of action regarding attitudes on the EU and its fundamental values.

On 4 March, French President Emmauel Macron published an opinion article in several newspapers across Europe, setting out his agenda for the future of the the European Union and calling for a 'European renaissance' in the face of the rise of nationalism. The leader of Germany's Christian Democrats Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer reacted to the French ideas with her own opinion article, published on 10 March. Media sources and analysts later drew comparisons between the two visions and speculated on the future of the Franco-German partnership when it comes to the European Union.

Italy's Matteo Salvini launched on 8 April an effort to bring together nationalist right-wing forces ahead of the parliamentary elections. Besides his own Lega party, his post-election alliance would include Germany's AfD, Austria's FPÖ, Finland's Finns Party and Denmark's DF (People's Party). More far-right and nationalist parties were expected to join this group.

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Commentary and Analysis
VoteWatch: Projection, 09.01.19: EP 2019: increasingly fragmented Parliament https://www.votewatch.eu/blog/ep-2019-increasingly-fragmented-parliament-fresh-projections/
Politico, 15.01.19: How the AfD could save the EU https://www.politico.eu/article/how-the-afd-could-save-the-eu/
Euro|topics, January 2019: Yellow jackets: from the streets to Strasbourg? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/213693/
Euro|topics, February 2019: Should the EPP expel Fidesz? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/215360/
LSEL: EUROPP Blog, 25/02/2019: The European Parliament elections: Trouble in paradise for Austria’s right-wing government? https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2019/02/25/the-european-parliament-elections-trouble-in-paradise-for-austrias-right-wing-government/
The Guardian, 04/03/2019: Dear Europe, Brexit is a lesson for all of us: it’s time for renewal [Opinion Article by French President Emmanuel Macron] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/04/europe-brexit-uk
Deutsche Welle, 05/03/2019: Emmanuel Macron takes the EU bull by the horns https://p.dw.com/p/3EUOC
Bloomberg, 05/03/2019: Macron Is Getting Ahead of Himself on Europe https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-05/macron-is-getting-ahead-of-himself-on-europe
Politico, 05/03/2019: Emmanuel Macron, Brexiteers’ best friend https://www.politico.eu/article/emmanuel-macron-brexit-france-european-union-britain/
Euro|topics, March 2019: Macron urges Europeans to take action https://www.eurotopics.net/en/215922/
Politico, 05/03/2019: Emmanuel Macron’s renaissance vs. reality https://www.politico.eu/article/emmanuel-macron-europe-renaissance-vs-reality/
Politico, 10/03/2019: 5 takeaways from German CDU chief’s vision for Europe https://www.politico.eu/article/5-takeaways-from-angela-merkel-proteges-annegret-kramp-karrenbauer-cdu-leader-vision-for-europe/
Deutsche Welle, 11/03/2019: AKK's European vision: A conservative road map for Germany after Merkel https://p.dw.com/p/3EoYY
Euro|topics, March 2019: Macron's or AKK's: which Europe do we want? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/216269/
Reuters, 11/03/2019: Merkel's protege ready to 'tango' with Macron, but don't mention the euro zone https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN1QS19T
OSW: Analyses, 12/03/2019: Germany: Christian Democrats’ response to Macron’s appeal to the citizens of Europe https://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/analyses/2019-03-12/germany-christian-democrats-response-to-macrons-appeal-to-citizens
OSW: Analyses, 13/03/2019: The game to exclude Fidesz from the European People’s Party https://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/analyses/2019-03-13/game-to-exclude-fidesz-european-peoples-party
IIEA: Blog, 15/03/2019: Vision or Reality – Macron’s European Renaissance https://www.iiea.com/eu-affairs/vision-or-reality-macrons-european-renaissance/
Euro|topics, March 2019: Will the EPP expel Orbán's party? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/216601/
The Economist, 20/03/2019: The European centre-right suspends Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz https://www.economist.com/charlemagnes-notebook/2019/03/20/the-european-centre-right-suspends-viktor-orbans-fidesz
ECFR: Commentary, 20/03/2019: Why Viktor Orbán and his allies won’t win the EU elections https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_why_viktor_orban_and_his_allies_wont_win_the_eu_elections
Euro|topics, March 2019: EPP and Fidesz: why only a suspension? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/216937/
Politico, 22/03/2019: How the EPP lost its way https://www.politico.eu/article/european-people-party-manfred-weber-how-the-epp-lost-its-way/
Euro|topics, April 2019: EU elections: how to woo voters? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/217690/
Politico, 08/04/2019: Salvini aims high with populist alliance for Europe https://www.politico.eu/article/salvini-aims-high-with-populist-alliance-for-europe/
The Economist, 08/04/2019: Matteo Salvini tries to unite Europe’s nationalists https://www.economist.com/europe/2019/04/08/matteo-salvini-tries-to-unite-europes-nationalists
Politico, 08/04/2019: Little debate (literally) over best Spitzenkandidat https://www.politico.eu/article/little-debate-literally-over-best-spitzenkandidat-european-commission-president-eu-debate/
Euro|topics, April 2019: Can Salvini unite Europe's right? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/218023/

News
EurActiv, 10.01.19: Salvini calls for ‘Italian-Polish axis’ to replace Paris-Berlin https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/salvini-calls-for-italian-polish-axis-to-replace-paris-berlin/
Politico, 10.01.19: Orbán says he ‘must fight’ Macron https://www.politico.eu/article/viktor-orban-says-he-must-fight-emmanuel-macron/
EurActiv, 11.01.19: Five Star Movement unveils plan to form EU Parliament group https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/five-star-movement-unveils-plan-to-form-eu-parliament-group/
Politico, 09.01.19: Matteo Salvini pledges ‘Italo-Polish axis’ after Warsaw talks https://www.politico.eu/article/matteo-salvini-jaroslaw-kaczynski-italy-poland-eu-pledges-italo-polish-axis-after-warsaw-talks/
EurActiv, 08.01.19: Austria in starting blocks for European elections campaign https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/austria-in-starting-blocks-for-european-elections-campaign/
The Guardian, 09.01.19: Matteo Salvini says Italy and Poland could build new Europe https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/09/matteo-salvini-says-italy-and-poland-could-build-new-europe
Deutsche Welle, 09.01.19: Italy's Matteo Salvini woos Poland's populists https://p.dw.com/p/3BHco
Politico, 08.01.19: The beginning of Elmar’s end https://www.politico.eu/article/elmar-brok-mep-the-beginning-of-end/
Reuters, 13.01.19: France's Le Pen launches EU campaign with appeal to 'yellow vests' https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN1P70RK
Euronews, 13.01.19: Germany's far-right AfD will campaign 'Dexit if EU won't meet demands https://www.euronews.com/2019/01/13/germany-s-far-right-afd-will-campaign-dexit-if-eu-won-t-meet-demands
Deutsche Welle, 13.01.19: AfD demands radical EU reforms to avoid Germany's 'Dexit' https://p.dw.com/p/3BUGt
The Guardian, 13.01.19: AfD party votes to campaign for German exit from EU https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/13/afd-party-to-campaign-for-german-exit-from-european-union
EurActiv, 14.01.19: AfD party congress: Back to a ‘Europe of nations’ https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/afd-party-congress-back-to-a-europe-of-nations/
TIME, 17.01.19: Italy's Silvio Berlusconi Is Back After Announcing His Candidacy for European Parliament http://time.com/5506238/silvio-berlusconi-european-parliament-italy-scandal/
EurActiv, 17.01.19: Berlusconi books ticket to Brussels https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/berlusconi-books-ticket-to-brussels/
The Guardian, 17.01.19: Silvio Berlusconi says he intends to stand for European parliament https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/17/silvio-berlusconi-intends-stand-european-parliament-billionaire-former-italian-prime-minister-tax-fraud
ANSA, 17.01.19: Berlusconi to run in European elections http://www.ansa.it/english/news/politics/2019/01/17/berlusconi-to-run-in-european-elections_53dd9ae7-9e81-4c56-a63f-0f43bd9d2efa.html
Politico, 17.01.19: Italy’s Berlusconi to run in European election https://www.politico.eu/article/italy-silvio-berlusconi-to-run-in-european-election/
Reuters, 23.01.19: France's 'yellow vest' protesters to field candidates in EU vote https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN1PH2S6
Politico, 23.01.19: Yellow Jackets protesters announce candidates for European election https://www.politico.eu/article/ingrid-levavasseur-france-yellow-jackets-protesters-announce-candidates-for-european-election/
BBC News, 24.01.19: Gilets Jaunes launch European election bid https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46985629
EurActiv, 24.01.19: France’s ‘yellow vests’ to run for European elections https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/frances-yellow-vests-to-run-for-european-elections/
France24, 24.01.19: From social media to the ballot box, Yellow Vests throw hat in European ring https://www.france24.com/en/20190124-social-media-ballot-box-yellow-vests-throw-hat-european-ring
The Guardian, 24.01.19: Gilets jaunes name 10 candidates for European elections https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/24/gilets-jaunes-name-10-candidates-for-european-elections
Politico, 18.02.19: Hungary launches campaign targeting Jean-Claude Juncker https://www.politico.eu/article/hungary-launches-campaign-targeting-jean-claude-juncker-george-soros/
Euronews, 19.02.19: Hungary takes aim at EU's Jean-Claude Juncker in new campaign poster https://www.euronews.com/2019/02/19/hungary-takes-aim-at-eu-s-jean-claude-juncker-in-new-campaign-poster
Hungary Today, 19.02.19: Government Launches Another ‘Information Campaign’ Focusing on ‘Brussels’ Immigration Plans’ https://hungarytoday.hu/government-launches-another-information-campaign-focusing-on-brussels-immigration-plans/
The Guardian, 19.02.19: Brussels accuses Orbán of peddling conspiracy theory with Juncker poster https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/19/brussels-orban-jean-claude-juncker-poster-george-soros-hungary
Politico, 19.02.19: Commission rejects Hungary’s anti-Brussels campaign as ‘disinformation’ https://www.politico.eu/article/commission-rejects-viktor-orban-hungarys-anti-brussels-campaign-as-disinformation/
Reuters, 19.02.19: EU Commission rebukes Hungary's new media campaign as 'fake news' https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN1Q81I0
EurActiv, 20/02/2019: Hungary’s ruling party doesn’t belong in EPP, says Juncker https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/hungarys-ruling-party-doesnt-belong-in-epp-says-juncker/
Politico, 21/02/2019: Orbán faces backlash after attack on Juncker https://www.politico.eu/article/orban-faces-backlash-after-attack-on-juncker/
Deutsche Welle, 21/02/2019: Merkel voices solidarity with Juncker, stops short of calling for Orban's Fidesz to be thrown out of EPP https://p.dw.com/p/3Do0f
France24, 21/02/2019: Merkel voices 'full solidarity' with Juncker in Orban row https://www.france24.com/en/20190221-merkel-voices-full-solidarity-with-juncker-orban-row
EurActiv, 22/02/2019: EPP protects Orbán for now, fearing he might join far-right https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/epp-protects-orban-for-now-fearing-he-might-join-far-right/
The Guardian, 27/02/2019: European parliament bloc set to consider ejecting Viktor Orbán https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/27/european-parliament-bloc-set-to-consider-ejecting-viktor-orban
Deutsche Welle, 04/03/2019: Macron issues plea for Europe ahead of EU elections https://p.dw.com/p/3ER7A
France24, 04/03/2019: Macron unveils plan for 'European renaissance' ahead of key EU vote https://www.france24.com/en/20190304-macron-european-reforms-decisive-vote
The Local (France), 04/03/2019: 'Brexit is the symbol of Europe's crisis': Macron outlines vision for EU's future https://www.thelocal.fr/20190304/brexit-is-the-symbol-of-our-crisis-macron
RTÉ News, 04/03/2019: Macron calls for agency to protect EU democracies from fake news https://www.rte.ie/news/europe/2019/0304/1034294-macron-eu-reform/
EurActiv, 05/03/2019: Macron makes EU-wide appeal ‘for European renewal’ https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/macron-makes-eu-wide-appeal-for-european-renewal/
BBC News, 05/03/2019: Emmanuel Macron calls for 'EU renaissance' ahead of polls https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47444299
France24, 05/03/2019: Orban takes aim at 'pro-immigration' Macron after European op-ed https://www.france24.com/en/20190305-orban-macron-pro-immigration-op-ed
Deutsche Welle, 05/03/2019: German politicians welcome Emmanuel Macron's EU initiative https://p.dw.com/p/3ESYw
Reuters, 05/03/2019: Reinventing the wheel? Macron's EU reform proposals win polite support https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN1QM27N
EurActiv, 06/03/2019: Czech PM raps Macron’s call for EU reforms https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/czech-pm-raps-macrons-call-for-eu-reforms/
Deutsche Welle, 10/03/2019: Angela Merkel successor AKK responds to Emmanuel Macron's vision for Europe https://p.dw.com/p/3EjO4
The Local (France), 10/03/2019: Merkel's successor responds to Macron's Europe vision https://www.thelocal.fr/20190310/merkels-successor-responds-to-macrons-europe-vision
Politico, 10/03/2019: Germany’s CDU chief sets out European vision, responds to Macron https://www.politico.eu/article/germanys-cdu-chief-sets-out-european-vision-responds-to-macron/
The Guardian, 11/03/2019: Germany’s CDU leader denies rift with France over vision for Europe https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/11/germanys-cdu-leader-denies-rift-with-france-over-vision-for-europe
Politico, 14/03/2019: Orbán offers ‘useful idiots’ apology, seeks to keep his party in EPP https://www.politico.eu/article/orban-offers-useful-idiots-apology-seeks-to-keep-his-party-in-epp/
EurActiv, 15/03/2019: Orbán apologises to EPP leaders he called ‘useful idiots’ https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/orban-apologises-to-epp-leaders-he-called-useful-idiots/
BBC News, 20/03/2019: Hungary Orban: Europe's centre-right EPP suspends Fidesz https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47622921
Politico, 20/03/2019: Hungary’s Orbán clings on to Europe’s power center https://www.politico.eu/article/orbans-party-suspended-from-european-peoples-party/
The Guardian, 20/03/2019: Viktor Orbán's party suspended from centre-right EPP bloc https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/20/manfred-weber-calls-for-freezing-of-hungarian-partys-voting-rights
Reuters, 20/03/2019: Europe's centre-right suspends Hungary's ruling party https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN1R11AO
Politico, 04/04/2019: Salvini prepares to pitch populist alliance https://www.politico.eu/article/matteo-salvini-prepares-to-pitch-populist-alliance/
EurActiv, 04/04/2019: AfD chief doubts ‘patriotic alliance’ could be formed in next European Parliament https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/afd-chief-doubts-patriotic-alliance-could-be-formed-in-next-european-parliament/
The Guardian, 04/04/2019: Salvini aims to forge far-right alliance ahead of European elections https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/04/salvini-aims-to-forge-far-right-alliance-ahead-of-european-elections
Reuters, 07/04/2019: Smileys and selfies - Europe's far-right tries to end divisions https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN1RJ097
Euronews, 08/04/2019: Nationalist EU parties plan to join forces after May elections https://www.euronews.com/2019/04/08/nationalist-eu-parties-announce-plans-to-join-forces-after-may-vote
Deutsche Welle, 08/04/2019: Germany's AfD joins Italy's League in new populist coalition https://p.dw.com/p/3GS1g
BBC News, 08/04/2019: European nationalists form alliance for elections https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47854288
France24, 08/04/2019: Italy's Salvini calls for far-right unity ahead of EU parliament elections https://www.france24.com/en/20190408-italy-salvini-calls-unity-far-right-eu-parliament-elections
Euronews, 08/04/2019: Salvini makes moves to forge a European right-wing alliance ahead of EU elections https://www.euronews.com/2019/04/08/salvini-makes-moves-to-forge-a-european-right-wing-alliance-ahead-of-eu-elections
Politico, 09/04/2019: Austrian far-right party to join Salvini’s EU election alliance https://www.politico.eu/article/austrian-far-right-party-to-join-salvinis-eu-election-alliance/

Official
France: French President: For European renewal [Opinion Article published on 4 March 2019] https://www.elysee.fr/emmanuel-macron/2019/03/04/for-european-renewal.en
EPP: Press Release, 20/03/2019: FIDESZ membership suspended after EPP Political Assembly https://www.epp.eu/press-releases/fidesz-membership-suspended-after-epp-political-assembly/

ESO Records
European Parliament elections, 23-26 May 2019 https://www.europeansources.info/record/european-parliament-elections-23-26-may-2019/
European Elections 2019: Report on the developments in the political landscape, 19 February 2019 https://www.europeansources.info/record/european-elections-2019-report-on-the-developments-in-the-political-landscape/

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Record URL https://www.europeansources.info/record/?p=514418