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EU Parliamentary Projection: France’s Re-Alignment Becomes Europe’s

Europe Elects’ European Parliament projection offers an indication of how voters in the European Union would vote should there be an EU Parliament election today. The timeline of the data presents how the national voting intentions of European citizens have shifted over the course of the pandemic on the EU level on a monthly basis. When comparing seats and the popular vote projected to the 2019 EU election result in this article, we contrast them to the EU27 scenario—meaning we exclude the United Kingdom, which left the EU in January 2020, also from the 2019 election results.

Europe Elects’ projection of seats in European Parliament since the last EU election

The final Europe Elects European Parliament projection of 2021 produced some major shifts. After falling behind the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) for the last two months after a disastrous German election saw Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU-EPP) ousted from power, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) has made a dramatic comeback. Up twelve seats from last month, they are now projected to win 158 seats if a European Parliamentary election were held today. The S&D group would fall three seats to 152.

The culprit is France. 

In April, 2022, France will head to the polls to elect a new President or to re-elect Emmanuel Macron (LREM-RE). Until recently the conversation has been dominated by the far-right pundit Eric Zemmour (REC-*). But in early December the centre-right Les Républicains (LR-EPP) elected their candidate for the election in Valérie Pécresse. Since then, she has surged in the polls, and the EPP has ridden the wave.

France is the second largest country in the European Union, and provides it with the second most members of the European Parliament with 79. Despite Macron’s election win in 2017, it was the right-wing Rassemblement National (RN-ID) that won the most seats in the country last time around with 25, Macron’s La République en marche–Mouvement démocrate (RE) trailing with 24. In the current projections, RN would win just 14 seats, a dramatic 11 seat drop, while Zemmour’s Reconquête (*) would win 13. LR would surge to 15 from just 8 last time around.

Europe Elects’ projection of popular vote in the EU since the last EU election

These shifts in France explain much of the movement around Europe this month, all the more interesting considering the totally different shifts that occurred in Germany in recent months, with the centre-right floundering, social democrats recovering, and the greens rising to third-party status. In France, meanwhile, the left is nowhere to be seen. The Socialist Party (S&D) would win zero seats based on the current projection. While France’s centre-right establishment is recovering with Pécresse, the same cannot be said for the centre-left.

Across Europe, the liberal Renew Europe (RE) is down four seats from November, to 99. The national-conservative European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) are also down three seats to 78. Meanwhile, the Identity and Democracy (ID) group that RN is a part of has fallen 13 seats to 62. The Greens/EFA (G/EFA) group remains unchanged at 55, with their absence from the French political stage meaning they have been left untouched by recent changes. It is a similar story for The Left Group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL (LEFT), which dropped just one seat to 49. The same drop was recorded for the Non-Inscrits (NI) to 35.

The already mentioned shifts can be seen in the popular vote projections too, but not quite as strongly. The EPP is up to 20.7% from 19.2% last month, while the S&D group is up as well to 20.6%, despite its dramatic drop in seats. RE is down from 13.6% to 11.9% and ID is down to 8.8% from 10.4%, both reflecting the mentioned shifts in France. For the G/EFA a small 0.2% drop to 7.2% is projected and a 0.3% drop to 6.7% from the LEFT. The ECR vote share is unchanged at 10.3%.

Disproportionate or sometimes opposite developments in the popular vote share and the seat projection can be explained with the slight disproportionality of the electoral system for the European Parliament. Visit our European Parliament projection site for a more in-depth overview and explanation of the methodology behind the monthly projection.

Change from last month of Europe Elects’ projection