Road to EU 2024

European elections: Italian voters pay off Forza Italia, PD and the AVS alliance, punishing Lega and centrists

June 2024
By Gianni Pittella

Analyses on the outcome of the European elections are fairly unanimous. With regard to the results in our country, the vote, although characterised by a very high abstention rate, rewarded Forza Italia, the Democratic Party (PD) and AVS (Alleanza Verdi Sinistra) and punished the Lega and the centre parties. Fratelli d’Italia achieved a decent result, but nothing comparable to the successes previously achieved by the governing parties in their first European elections, namely Renzi’s PD in 2014 and Salvini’s Lega in 2019. However, the Italian political situation is expected to be stable, with limited repercussions on the government for the time being. The only major open question is Lega’ leadership, which will be questioned from the outset.

The same cannot be said of many other European countries, where the government forces were defeated by the oppositions, as happened in France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Poland, Slovakia. In Hungary, the coalition led by Fidesz does not achieve an absolute majority. In some cases, the consequences are heavy: from the resignation of Belgian Prime Minister De Croo to the dissolution of the National Assembly in France. In Germany, the CDU has already challenged the hold of the traffic light government, formed by the Socialists – who had the lowest result in their history -, the Greens and the Liberals.

The Ursula majority seems, however, to hold. At the time of writing, the EPP group is expected to increase its membership by eight MEPs and the Socialists and Democrats to lose only two (with the Italian PD expected to be the largest delegation again, as in 2014). Serious losses are being made in the Green (- 19) and Liberal (- 23) houses. The gains of the right-wing groups are, at the moment, smaller, with ECR growing by 4, becoming the fourth largest group in the European Parliament, and ID by 9, placing it just behind in the size ranking. However, there remain 100 elected members whose placement is currently uncertain, which may be unevenly distributed among the various groups.

Outgoing Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has declared victory against all left and right-wing extremism and hopes to retain her position. One must, however, keep an eye on the person who, five years ago, was defeated by the current president in the race for office, namely Manfred Weber, who emerged much stronger from this vote together with his CDU/CSU.

At the level of relations between the new majority and the member states, some unknowns remain, namely what will happen in France and Italy. Should Macron retain the presidency of the Republic in France, pointing to an albeit narrow defeat of RN in the next legislative elections, in Italy it is still uncertain what attitude Fratelli d’Italia will take towards the new European Commission.