French Presidential party RE Renaissance candidate Valerie Hayer (L) addresses supporters at the electoral party after the announcement of the results in Paris. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

News Vote 24

European Parliament: Conservative ECR group set to outgun Liberals


Projections indicate that the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group has overtaken the Liberals (Renew) in the European Parliament following the elections over June 6-9 .

Europe Elects, a polls aggregator, has projected that the ECR will end up with 82 seats in the EP, 14 more than in the last legislature. Renew, on the other hand, looks to have dropped from 102 seats in 2019 to 80.

The Conservatives have done especially well in Italy, where Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia party made big gains. In France, Éric Zemmour also picked up five seats, according to forecasts.

At Renew, the main reason for the steep drop was in France, where the Liberals from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party looked likely to have secured just six seats, its allies from the Democratic movement four, and Horizon one.

These 11 seats are a far cry from the 23 they achieved five years ago. The biggest Liberal party in the new legislature looks set to be Czech Anno 2011.

That would make Renew the only group where the biggest party did not come from a major European nation, such as France, Italy or Germany.

Before the elections, a debate within Renew was raging over co-operating with the hard-right. The Dutch Liberal VVD party had decided to work with Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) to form a government in the Netherlands, much to the dismay of the more left-leaning Liberals in Brussels and Strasbourg.

The now outgoing-Renew President Valérie Hayer wanted the VVD out for siding with the PVV, pointing to a pledge made a few weeks earlier to adhere to a cordon sanitaire. In response, the Danish Venstre Party, also a loser in these elections, said if Hayer did not like it, she could go.

With Renew now two seats down on the ECR, the group might think twice before ditching the VVD and its four seats.

Brussels Signal reached out to Hayer’s representatives but, as of writing, had not received a response.

Separately, pre-election talk of a right-wing “supergroup” has yet to materialise.  Insiders told Brussels Signal that there has been talk about “structural co-operation” among Right groups, namely the ECR and the Identity and Democracy (ID) group, but not a supergroup.