The prospect of a radical rightward shift in the summer’s Europe-wide polls has centrist and left-wing legislators pushing hard to get policy through.
With the European elections less than six months away, the European Parliament is set to add more voting sessions to its monthly plenaries in order to push through more legislation before Europeans go to the polls.
The EU elections will be held 6-9 June this year, and the current EU Parliament’s last plenary session in Strasbourg will be 22-25 April.
Adding extra voting sessions means the current parliament can speed up discussions with the Council of the EU – which represents EU national governments – and attempt to pass through more than 100 files before April’s final plenary.
Top priorities for the parliament over the next four months will be the migration pact and the bloc’s new fiscal rules. A long-awaited new artificial intelligence law is also awaiting formal approval from the European Parliament, having been agreed on at a trilogue last month.
For the past five years, the combined political left and the centre-right European People’s Party Group (EPP Group) has dominated the European Parliament and Brussels’ decision-making process, often sidelining the two conservative groups, the European Conservatives and Reformists and Identity and Democracy.
But early forecasts for the 2024 elections suggest the balance of power is likely to shift rightwards, finally making a right-wing majority in the EU Parliament a possibility.
Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts, a member of Ecolo, within the Greens–European Free Alliance, sees the latest EU proposals on migration and environmental policy as dangerous attempts to please the far right.
“There are still many of the files on the Green Deal side, then there’s this infamous asylum and migration pact too, on which there is an agreement that won’t solve anything. It basically follows the footsteps of the the radical right, which I think is also a big mistake,” he said.
“If I look at what my group is going to do between now and the end of the term, it will be to play defence, because I believe that the vast majority is sleepwalking the EU into into disaster. And we must prevent that.”
It is a tall order for EU lawmakers to vote on all files before the Europeans vote in the elections in June, and it remains to be seen exactly what will be passed.
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