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‘Such Situation Was Hard To Imagine Just A Few Years Ago’

‘Such Situation Was Hard To Imagine Just A Few Years Ago’

How will the European Parliament change after the elections?

The elections to the European Parliament are over. Experts point out the triumph of the so-called far-right, but they did not receive a majority.

Will the European Parliament change? Charter97.org spoke about this and more with Slovak political scientist and President of the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) (Bratislava) Grigorij Mesežnikov.

— I would not talk about any triumph at all. Yes, indeed, in some countries the right performed quite successfully, but in some countries they were not able to get their representatives into the European Parliament at all. If you look at the statistics of how the European Parliament was formed in 2019, then the right, if we mean the Identity and Democracy faction (Identity and Democracy is a right-wing and far-right political group in the European Parliament, founded on June 13, 2019 — edit.), even saw a slight decrease in the total number of mandates, judging by the preliminary data.

Marine Le Pen and her party were really successful. In Germany, the right showed a high result, but they were excluded from ID a couple of weeks ago, so they will be outside the party groups. And in all other respects, I think the mainstream remained in its previous state, with the exception of the liberals, who really lost a significant number of mandates. But this is precisely due to the failure of Macron's party in France.

The conservatives, i.e. the European People's Party, and the moderate left, i.e. the social democrats, generally retained their positions. In any case, this executive coalition, which is now likely to be formed again, has retained its advantage. If I am not mistaken, they have 400 seats out of 720.

So the right will not have a position that would allow them to truly block the European Parliament. It is clear that they will not be part of the ruling coalition that will form the European Commission from its representatives. Therefore, expectations that the right will celebrate their success too much were not entirely justified.

— Should we expect any changes regarding aid to Ukraine?

— If this coalition is preserved (EPP, Social Democrats and Liberals), then, as it seems to me, there will not be any special changes. If we look at the reactions of the governments of individual EU states, then recently the awareness of the importance of the situation related to Russian aggression has increased, and support for Ukraine has even strengthened politically.

It was difficult to imagine such a situation just a few years ago. At least, if you look at what the politicians of these three directions are saying. They even admit the possibility of direct assistance to Ukraine with their instructors, consider — armed forces. They are now transferring more effective weapons to Ukraine, so there will probably not be any special changes in this direction.

As for individual states, Macron has now announced new early elections in France. Let's see how it all ends. I think that he intends to prevent Marine Le Pen's victory. Whether he will succeed or not is hard to say, but the situation there may really change. Nevertheless, judging by the latest publications in the media, even the aforementioned Le Pen is no longer so clearly pro-Russian. She is already more loyal to assistance to Ukraine, and does not advocate its cancellation.

In general, we can say that there has come an understanding that Russia's aggressive policy is already beginning to truly threaten Europe. It had already created, to put it mildly, an uncomfortable situation for the West, and now Europe has realized that Russia is not going to give in on Ukraine, and that if Moscow talks about some kind of peaceful solution, it means peace taking into account the occupied territories that it wants to keep. This is a complete violation of all principles of international law and rules that were established in Europe and the world after World War II. Even before the war against Ukraine, Russia violated these rules in Georgia and Moldova, but this was all seen as some kind of excess. And now European countries are already treating Russia as a systemic violator of the principles of international law. I think that even some of these right-wingers realize this. In the Netherlands, for example, they also showed a good result, Geert Wilders (leader of the “Party for Freedom” (PVV) — edit.) achieved good results. Wilders may also have some changes in his approach to this issue, although I have not noticed it yet. He is generally a pro-Western person in himself, he is not against cooperation within NATO, although he rejects the EU policy in the form in which it currently exists, especially in the area of migration. But I find it hard to imagine him going over completely to Russia's side.

So the likelihood that Europe will continue to treat this war as before, being on Ukraine's side and even increasing its support, will be even higher.

— How will these elections affect Brussels' position towards Lukashenka? Are there those in the new European Parliament who are ready to talk to him?

— Perhaps such people are among the far left or open right-wing extremists, for example from Slovakia, who are not part of ID. Among the right, there is a group of undecided people, these are some new parties, we need to look at their preferences. In the Czech Republic, by the way, some strange pro-Russian marginal-looking people have appeared in local politics. One candidate representing them got into the European Parliament. And those who speak from pro-Russian positions, they automatically treat Lukashenka and Belarus in the same way.

A more detailed analysis is needed here, but we can already say that for some countries this is a fundamental issue. Firstly, Belarus borders Poland, and the parties that have entered the European Parliament from it are traditionally critical of Lukashenka. True, there is the “Confederation” there, which managed to take six seats, but still, a balance of power is now being formed there that will continue to be extremely critical of Lukashenka.

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