Tuesday, Martin Schulz was re-elected as President of the European Parliament, by a sizable majority. He will preside over a parliament that has been presented as a reflection of a crisis of confidence, hit by a political earthquake.
Many commentators have questioned if the Parliament’s work can proceed uninterrupted, as predicted by Simon Usherwood, or if it will be hindered by the incoming populists, as is expected in this analysis by the British centre-left/liberal think tank Counterpoint.
What, to our best knowledge, has not been questioned in the debate, is if the situation is new and unique. It has mostly been taken as a given. Unjustified, shows Nicolas Véron in an overview of 35 years of EP elections published today for Bruegel.
“Europe has been there before,” Véron writes. “Until the 1990s, the overall balance of political forces in the European Parliament was remarkably similar to the current one.”
“Strikingly, the legislatures that followed the 1984 and 1989 elections were the ones when Jacques Delors was President of the Commission, an era often seen in Brussels as the halcyon days of European integration,” he adds.
But apart from the static picture of group composition in the EP, the dynamics of group cohesion, coalitions and voting behaviour also attract some scholarly interest.