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Europe, we have a result – now the battle for power over EU policies begins – Altingit

Europe, we have a result – now the battle for power over EU policies begins – Altingit

The European People's Party won the elections, and the broad center remained intact, if somewhat weak. It remains to be seen whether the far right will succeed in converting growing voter support into increased political influence. There is still a long way to go, but discussions about forming a new political group are continuing. Instead, we see the major consequences for European cooperation in France, and partly in Germany, with governmental powers greatly weakened as a result.

Tough battle

Now the work begins to translate electoral promises into policy. Headlines and slogans must be transformed into tangible content. The next six months will lay the foundation for EU policy over the next five years. The policy that will be formulated over the summer and autumn will have a strong impact on future EU legislation.

The battle for influence is therefore fierce between MEPs, political groups, governments, candidates for commissioners, civil servants and ministries.

For companies and interest groups that want to influence the political direction in Brussels, the possibilities are endless. Organizations with deep knowledge, communications and balanced messaging can make a difference. It has to be on the big overall agenda and it has to be in the details. You must be able to answer the question: What are our concrete proposals and why?

In contrast to the “button-pushing workshop” of national parliaments, where MEPs have only limited opportunities to influence policy, each MEP can also wield enormous influence.

The fear of communication that can exist between government offices and different interest groups across EU member states does not exist in Brussels. Without the input and views of business and civil society, the European Commission will not be able to put forward any proposals at all. Currently, Commission officials are working intensively on developing proposals that they would like to “sell” to the next EU Commissioner in each area. In order to contribute to this work, it is important to know who holds the pen and when to record opinions.

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Small ones can do a lot

When designated EU Commissioners meet Commission officials to prepare for hearings in the European Parliament, they are presented with a summary book covering all possible legislation and policy developments in each policy area. The message conveyed in these rooms is central, if one aspires to influence.

The European Parliament is subject to the same open logic as the European Commission. In order to accomplish their mission, members need input from outside. The negotiation game that has now begun, within and between political groups, about the positions and promises of future policies and proposals presented by the Commission, is saturated with proposals, ideas and inputs recorded from the reality of the Member States to the European Parliament. In contrast to the “button-pushing workshop” of national parliaments, where MEPs have only limited opportunities to influence policy, each MEP can also wield enormous influence.

Of course, the struggle to influence EU policy will be controlled by who gets the top job in the EU. There are many indicators that Ursula von der Leyen, buoyed by the EPP's election success, is gaining renewed confidence, and that she will be nominated by the EU Heads of State and Government at the end of June. To be approved by the European Parliament, it would need to collect at least 361 votes, which would be difficult and require political cow-smuggling of a kind rarely seen, but there is still a viable path forward. In order to secure a balance in senior positions between the EPP, the Liberals and the Social Democrats, there are rumors that Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costas will become the new President of the European Council, and Kaja Kallas from Estonia will take over as EU Foreign Minister. president. Such a triumvirate would address all the trade-offs between geographic reach, gender, and politics that must be made when filling top positions.

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Now the fighting begins

Another important factor in the struggle for influence is what demands the European Parliament will impose on the next European Commission? Parliament's questions and demands regarding the next EU Commission play a crucial role in the Commission's future proposals and providing room for maneuver during the next term in office. The Green Deal came about in part thanks to the demands of the European Parliament five years ago. What will the equalizer be this time, should we expect competitive strength instead?

A week after the election, we can begin to piece together the puzzle of how the next term will shape up. There are still many question marks, and speculation about the future direction of the EU will continue until the end of 2024. But one thing is certain.

The Europeans have voted – and now the battle for influence begins.