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Pro-European groups seek a ‘working majority’, with a shared agenda already next week

The European Parliament sitting in Plenary session [personal archive]

A real majority still does not exist, but technical tests are in progress in order to form what insiders define a “working majority” for the next European Parliament. The announcement made by all major pro-European groups goes to this direction. Politicians of center-right (EPP), social-democrats (S&D), liberals (ALDE) and the Greens declared to have found an agreement on the “political process aimed at defining a common ambition for the next legislative period”. That means there is will to have a majority to control the Plenary.

The process is based on immediate timelines and, eventually, few but well targeted priorities. Each of the four political families will have to select two representatives for each of the thematic working groups. These working groups are about economic affairs, the rule of law, foreign policy, climate, trade. By 11 June at the latest the MEPs delegated to negotiate will have to be defined.

Then, in the period 12-17 June the different MEPs will engage in negotiations, in order to try to understand whether a common political ground exists to build up an agenda for the next five years. In the intentions of “the fab four”, the 12-17 June negotiations should produce a political document to be presented to the EU leaders on 20 and 21 June, when the heads of state and government will meet in Brussels to renew the highest European institutional offices.

Priority: a pro-European agenda against anti-EU forces

EU top positions and working programs go hand in hand, the European decision makers already made clear. But right now MEPs are focused on the second dossier, i.e. what to do in the European legislature which is about to start. “If we remain firm on the question of Parliament’s presidency, we risk not having an agenda”, Brussels insiders commented.

It must be recalled that same group leaders have already said that everything is possible. Formally speaking the so-called Spitzenkandidaten (the candidates indicated by the political parties for the presidency of the European Commission) are taken into account, but their political program matters more than the names. Here we are, then. EPP, S&D, ALDE and the Greens are at work to set a “cordon sanitaire” against to the anti-European forces in their various forms (euro-critics, euro-skeptics, sovereignists).

Don’t call it ‘coalition’. EPP ready to work with ECR as well

People from the groups prefer not to talk about coalitions. “Such a situation can be difficult to explain to voters, so we prefer to talk about ‘working majority’”. Even if in the end a functioning majority should be established, everyone would still be free to keep a certain degree of autonomy. The basic idea is to set a list of few items to work on all together, and that’s it. The EPP, for example, does not intend to give up working together with the conservatives (ECR). “There are dossiers we can vote in the same way”, internal sources told this website.

Moreover, it is no mystery that the Italian and Hungarian delegations of EPP, namely Forza Italia and Fidesz, since the beginning expressed their will not to dialogue with the left. “But there is no alternative”, they recognized from the popular family. “The only truly stable majority is this one. This is the reason why we are working to this majority”.

Under a specific Italian perspective, an eventual cooperation between the EPP and the ECR would mean a cooperation between Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI), a political alliance already existing in Italy.

Greens: majority, but not at any cost

On the green side, the will of creating a working majority is not a must. “If sufficient ambition on climate, social policies and the rule of law doesn’t emerge from next week’s working group negotiations, the Greens are ready to pull out”, an official said, asking not to be named.

The Greens are aware that they grabbed voters both to EPP and to S&D because of lack in green policy within the center-right and the center-left. The fact that these political families have to regain the confidence of part of their former voters is a reason for optimism, the Greens reason. They see this is time for a real sustainable agenda and a more general will to show a greater ecological approach.

So, the next week will be a decisive moment, as regards the balance in the Plenary of the next European Parliament. Next week it will be possible to see to what extent the four main European forces can work together despite an environment never fragmented like this.

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