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European Parliament Projection – December 2018

We finish off 2018 sort of anticlimactically, with the only election within the EU being the Regional election in Andalusia at the start of the month. Nonetheless, there were a series of very important events in December that have seriously influenced voting intentions. The Yellow Vests spreading across Europe, the election of a new leader of the CDU (EPP), the passage on the Italian budget are just three of many more, as European politics begans to ramp up to pan-European elections in 2019.

The “Popular Vote”

EPP ends 2018 with small gains, S&D see loses

For the two biggest parties, 2018 has been a wild ride, and December has been no different. The EPP ends 2018 with 178 seats, an increase of 6 since November, but still a loss of 43 seats compared to 2014. The EPP saw gains in Germany, where the CDU has seen a small increase since the election of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as leader, but nowhere else have there been any significant gains this month. The EPP maintains the majority of its support from central and eastern Europe, while their future doesn’t seem so prosperous in the west and the south.

The S&D group are ending 2018 with even more loses. They’re currently projected to win 133 seats, a 3 seat decrease from November, and a loss of 58 seats since 2014. The S&D have had a generally bad time in 2018, with significant loses in Germany, France, Italy, Austria, as well as elsewhere. The 20 UK Labour MEPs they’ll lose as a result of Brexit will hit the grouping hard. Small gains in Sweden and Malta are the only things the S&D have to celebrate this new year.

The Liberal and Green political rollercoaster

While ending 2018 with loses compared to our November 2018 projection, Liberal ALDE and Green G/EFA have had an undeniably successful year. ALDE is ending their 2018 with a bang, losing 2 seats since November, but still gaining 29 MEPs compared to their 2014 result. This is largely attributed to the successes of Macron’s LREM and the Spanish Ciudadanos. Credit should also be paid to other minor ALDE gains such as AP! in Latvia, the Amsterdam Coalition in Croatia, and LMŠ and their partners in Slovenia as well as many more across Europe.

The Greens, officially G/EFA, are entering 2019 with a projected loss of 2 seats compared to November 2018, and a general loss of 7 seats compared to 2014. Even with a decrease in seats, the Greens have had an excellent year, especially in the final months of 2018 where the so-called “Green wave” has swept a number of Western European countries and caused an increase in Green Party vote share. This is especially visible in the German Grüne, the main force in G/EFA, but also in the Greens in the Benelux countries, in France and even Finland.

ENF and GUE/NGL: opposites in similar situations

It has furthermore been an excellent year for the ENF grouping, Europe of Nations and Freedom, who are entering the new year with no change since November, still at 61 MEPs, but a general gain of 24 MEPs compared to their result in 2014. The main proponents of this result are Le Pen’s RN and Salvini’s Lega, as the most relevant of the parties, as well as some support from the FPO in Austria, VB in Belgium and PVV in the Netherlands.

GUE/NGL in a similar situation, only not as extreme. GUE/NGL are down 3 MEPs since our November projection, putting them at 58 MEPs, on a general increase of 6 MEPs from their 2014 result. SYRIZA in Greece have lost a fair proportion of their support through 2018, but this left-wing bloc have compensated with gains in Germany with Die Linke, the Swedish Vänsterpartiet, La France Insoumise in France and Unidos Podemos in Spain. Some gains have also been made in Finland with Vasemmistoliitto, however Sinn Fein have remained stagnant in Ireland.

Small loses for the ECR while EFDD remains stagnant

The ECR end an uneventful year with a 1 seat loss compared to November, now projected at 53 MEPs, and a general decrease of 17 seats since 2014. With Brexit losing them the Conservatives, the group now relies heavily on Poland with 22 out of the projected 53 seats coming from the country.

The anti-EU EFDD, lastly, sits at projected 47 MEPs, which is a 1 MEP decrease since last month as well as compared to 2014. With Britain leaving the EU, the EFDD have been very lucky in gaining the Italian M5S and German AfD to their side, to compensate for the loss of UKIP. This does not mean that all is calm in EFDD camp, however, as M5S have previously stated that they wish to create their own EU grouping which could potentially mean the end of the EFDD as a grouping altogether as they may fail to meet the requirements to form a party grouping following the elections in 2019.

Tin is a Data Analyst on the Europe Elects team