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EU’s von der Leyen Scrambles for Centrist Coalition Amid Far-Right Surge

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is actively seeking to form a new coalition following significant gains by far-right parties in the European Parliament elections

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is urgently seeking to form a coalition, following significant gains by far-right parties in the recent European Parliament elections, which have also prompted French President Emmanuel Macron to announce unexpected national elections.

The preliminary results show that the traditional pro-von der Leyen bloc—comprising the European People’s Party (EPP), Socialists, and Liberals—holds a narrow majority of 402 seats in the 720-seat parliament. This slim margin is considered precarious for legislative stability in Brussels, particularly in addressing security, climate change, and economic competition from global powers.

EP Press Briefing – European Elections 2024, European Union 2024 EP/Alain ROLLAND

Late Sunday, von der Leyen committed to reinforcing the central pro-European alliance. “I have been working on building a broad majority of pro-European forces. Starting tomorrow, we’ll reach out to the major political families,” she declared in Brussels. Her strategy includes potential collaboration with the Greens, who faced significant losses, and Italy’s nationalist Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, despite her controversial far-right affiliations.

Von der Leyen’s criteria for partnerships hinge on support for Europe, Ukraine, and the rule of law, subtly excluding more extremist far-right groups. However, her attempts at broadening her coalition face hurdles as the Socialists, Liberals, and Greens firmly reject any cooperation with far-right parties. Meanwhile, Meloni remains non-committal about endorsing von der Leyen for a second term, keeping the political landscape in flux.

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