Germany: the 2024 European Parliament elections – a triumph for Eurosceptic events?

Political tendencies in Germany are all the time of excessive significance in European Parliament elections because the nation elects the most important variety of MEPs. Ann-Kathrin Reinl and Stefan Wallaschek write that Eurosceptic events look set to make features in Germany, which might have vital implications for the stability of energy within the European Parliament.

This text is a part of a sequence on the 2024 European Parliament elections. The EUROPP weblog may also be co-hosting a panel dialogue on the elections at LSE on 6 June.

Given the 2019 European Parliament elections occurred previous to the COVID-19 pandemic and the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the scenario forward of this yr’s election differs considerably.

Within the 2019 European Parliament election in Germany, over 60% of voters determined to forged a poll. The CDU/CSU and SPD skilled notable losses in seats, whereas the Greens, and – to some extent the AfD – emerged as election winners. This time round, polls point out rising help for the Eurosceptic camp in Germany and throughout the EU, which can considerably alter the political panorama of the European Parliament and future EU politics.

Germany’s public temper

After information broke that a number of radical right-wing political actors (amongst them AfD politicians) met to plan “a mass deportation of non-Germans”, tons of of anti-AfD demonstrations with upwards of 100,000 individuals occurred throughout Germany within the first months of 2024.

As well as, and virtually concurrently, farmers rallied fairly efficiently towards proposed political reforms affecting the agricultural sector. Their protests sometimes resulted within the paralysis of whole cities, including to the dynamic panorama of civic engagement unfolding throughout Germany.

Therefore, towards the background of the continuing battle in Ukraine and the Israel-Palestine battle, the political panorama is exceptionally heated in Germany proper now. On high of that, the visitors gentle coalition authorities is extremely unpopular and seems misplaced in inner quarrels.

Improvements for the 2024 European Parliament election

Two main improvements might be recognized for Germany and the upcoming European Parliament election. Firstly, the voting age can be lowered to 16, which signifies that round 1.5 million of the 5 million first-time voters can be 16 and 17-year-olds who may have the chance to forged their vote. Decreasing the voting age might have vital implications given youthful voters often are inclined to favour liberal, inexperienced and left-wing events. But, younger individuals are additionally the principle consumer group of social media and the AfD is at present attempting to focus on them on TikTok.

Secondly, there’s the Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance, which launched firstly of the yr. This newly established get together bridges financial left and cultural proper positions. It’s anticipated to divert voters from the Left get together in addition to the AfD, notably in East Germany.

Related points for the German citizens

As in 2019, migration and asylum are necessary points for German voters forward of the European Parliament election, prompting political events to deal with these issues. As an illustration, the European Individuals’s Get together, whose lead candidate is the present President of the European Fee, Ursula von der Leyen, has made migration and asylum insurance policies a high precedence of their marketing campaign – to the chagrin of political forces within the European Parliament that see the Inexperienced New Deal, which von der Leyen initiated in 2019, falling from the agenda.

In any other case, EU defence and safety insurance policies have additional spurred political debates. As an illustration, in a current ballot, 59 p.c of German residents indicated they’d help a joint military between EU member states (up 6 p.c compared to June 2023). The concentrate on defence, safety and migration insurance policies performs into the palms of right-wing actors as a result of these events are often perceived as being probably the most competent in these coverage areas.

Because of this left-wing events should both stress their core political points similar to social justice and local weather points to the citizens – that are, in keeping with a Eurobarometer survey from autumn 2023, in actual fact related points for German residents – or marketing campaign on safety and migration points as properly as a result of they might understand these subjects to be valence points. In response to the identical Eurobarometer survey, most respondents in Germany reported that their nation’s EU membership is an effective factor. This reveals that almost all voters in Germany do stand behind the Union and its values and the pro-EU camp must act on this potential.

Losses for the governing events, features for Eurosceptic events

The newest forecasts recommend the conservative CDU/CSU (EPP group) would be the strongest get together within the European Parliament election, with round 30%, adopted by the far-right AfD get together (ID group) with round 18%. The polls predict the governing events SPD (S&D Group; 16%) and the Greens (Greens Group; 12%) will end behind these two events.

The third governing get together – the liberal FDP (Renew Group) – is predicted to obtain solely 4% of the votes. The novel Left get together (GUE/NGL Group) may also be weakly represented within the subsequent European Parliament, with an anticipated 3% share of the vote. In distinction, the Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance is at present predicted to obtain 6% of the vote, which is analogous to the AfD’s first European Parliament election in 2014.

Implications for upcoming state elections

From a home standpoint, the European Parliament election will function an early indicator for the upcoming state elections in Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia, that are slated for autumn 2024.

It’s anticipated that the AfD will stay a robust presence, if not strengthen its place additional, and that the Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance will enter these state parliaments. This may not solely bolster the affect of each events within the respective state parliaments however might additionally – provided that the AfD might enter a regional authorities – have an effect on the composition of the Bundesrat, Germany’s second chamber of parliament.

Implications for EU insurance policies

From an EU standpoint, it will likely be essential to intently monitor the electoral final result in Germany because the nation sends probably the most MEPs to the European Parliament (96 in complete). The rise of the AfD may due to this fact additionally foster an increase of the unconventional proper camp within the European Parliament. As well as, on the intergovernmental stage, Germany holds a pivotal position for the way forward for the EU.

Thus, consideration should be paid to how democratic events in Germany reply to the escalating affect of Eurosceptic and anti-democratic forces after the European Parliament election. Will they forge forward on a unified democratic path in the direction of a cohesive Europe, or will they veer in the direction of aligning with the Eurosceptic camp, thereby rejecting a imaginative and prescient of a stronger transnational neighborhood? In instances of turbulence, such political uncertainty has the potential to undermine the energy of the EU – each domestically and on the worldwide stage.

Word: This text provides the views of the authors, not the place of EUROPP – European Politics and Coverage or the London Faculty of Economics. Featured picture credit score: Juergen Nowak /

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