Road to EU 2024

The Political Groups’ programs on Foreign Affairs matters

June 2024
By Editorial Staff

The 2024 European elections are just around the corner, and with them, a significant shift in the political landscape of the European Parliament. The upcoming polls will undoubtedly profoundly impact how the EP handles foreign affairs, as various political groups jostle for influence and positioning within the new parliamentary term. For the sake of brevity, we will explore the instances of the European political groups on these matters, examining their key positions, proximity, divergences, and potential strategies for the post-election period.

On general Foreign Affairs questions, all the political groups largely support Ukraine against the Russian invasion and endorse NATO, except The Left, which advocates to counter its expansion. A two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is widely accepted, though Renew Europe and the Greens/EFA have not clarified their positions. On EU-China relations, the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialists and Democrats Group (S&D) don’t adopt a clear stance, while Renew Europe and the Greens/EFA push for a strategy to reduce reliance on Beijing. The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) adopt a balanced view. Ultimately, S&D and the Greens focus on climate, feminism, and human rights in foreign policy.

EU groups find another common ground on a more coordinated migration response through joint action. The EPP, S&D, and ECR push for stronger border security and tackling migration’s root causes. They, along with Renew Europe and the Greens, seek asylum process reforms, with the ECR favoring external application processing. Ultimately, S&D, Renew Europe, and the Greens agree on the institution of a common search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea. Cooperation with third countries on migration management is another priority, with Renew Europe and ECR both proposing facilities outside the EU borders, and S&D and The Left Group strongly advocating against them. The Frontex facility is the last point of address, with Renew Europe asking for a reform of its operations, the ECR pushing to strengthen it, and The Left, urging for its complete dissolution.

On defense, most groups agree on a greater European coordination, albeit articulated differently.  The EPP suggests the institution of an EU Commissioner for Defense, and advocates for the creation of a common union complementing Member States’ national forces. The latter proposal finds consensus with S&D and Renew Europe. ECR completely rejects the idea of a common EU army, with The Left doubling down by calling for the constitution of the EU as a weapon-free continent. The Greens opt for a more diplomatic approach, resorting to military intervention only if strictly necessary and with preventive approval from the European Parliament. All the groups agree on the role of international partnerships to strengthen the EU’s credibility in a multipolar world and on the necessity of implementing common strategies to bolster the common defense market and economy, with the only exception of The Left, countering the “arms race” in the continent.

As a last aspect of foreign affairs, both S&D, the EPP, and the ECR call for a stronger role of Europol on security matters, with the first two demanding greater police and judicial cooperation to address crimes, offline and online. The EPP further bolsters the role of the Istanbul Convention in fighting gender-based violence, thus finding a joint cause with Renew Europe. The Greens put a great emphasis on banning the usage of AI for mass surveillance purposes and predictive policies, while The Left and ECR don’t have a stance on the matter.