German Chancellor mainstream German MEPs as populist movement takes hold
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is predicted to lose the “absolute majority” of mainstream German MEPs in the European Parliament as populist parties across Europe are forecast to surge at the next election.
A majority of German MEPs currently hold a seat in one of the two largest political blocs in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Social&Democrats (S&D).
But the growing support for populist parties in Germany is set to cost Merkel’s 34 Christian Democratic Union (CDU) MEPs their seats in the EU Elections in May 2019.
EU policy expert Stefan Lehne told Euronews, “Two developments are significant and very interesting. The first one is that, for the first time since the 1950s, the two major parties, the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats will lose their absolute majority.
“So far they have controlled the running of the European Parliament. Now they will have to make new coalitions, new allies, and that could make decision-making in Parliament more dynamic.”
“The second development is how well the far right will be doing. They are already quite strong in the European Parliament, with about 20 percent of the MEPs but they are very ambitious,” he added.
Eurosceptic parties have been piling on the pressure to extend their influence in the European Parliament.
Germany’s populist party Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) warned Brussels since entering the Bundestag following embarrassing elections for Chancellor Merkel in 2017.
The AfD gained 7.1 percent of the national vote at the 2014 European elections, and now holds seven seats in Brussels.
The party has made massive gains in Germany both at a local and national level, and now command the third-largest group in the Bundestag.
Merkel’s coalition parties were dealt with some unfortunate results in the regional elections in Bavaria and Hesse last year, as AfD and Greens took away voters.
Last month, Merkel used her acceptance speech after being awarded the Fulbright Prize for International Understanding in Berlin to decry “excessive populism and nationalism.
“We need to remind ourselves why the United Nations was established in the first place, why NATO, why the World Trade Organization and other international institutions,” she said.
“It was because of the lessons that were drawn out of the horrors of the Second World War and excessive nationalism.”
Italian deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini recently clashed with top EU figures, demanding Rome is granted more independence from the bloc to stem mass migration.
Prof Lehne added: “Mr. Salvini said the parliamentary elections would be a referendum between the elites and the people. Mr. Orban has said “we are going to stop the pro-migration majority.’ They are very ambitious.”
According to a report from DW.COM: Christian Democrat (CDU) leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said the party had to prevent any repeat of the 2015 refugee crisis, which saw hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees arrive in Germany.
“We must do everything we can to prevent this from happening again,” the CDU leader said.
“We have learned our lesson.”