2024 is poised to be a momentous year for the European Union, with the highly anticipated elections for the European Parliament and the European Commission on the horizon. With a staggering number of eligible voters exceeding 400 million, these elections are hailed as the second-largest democratic exercise worldwide, only surpassed by India.
The previous European Parliament elections seem like a distant memory, as life was considerably simpler then. No pandemic, no war raging across Europe, and no newcomers clamoring for a seat at the table.
But now, a cascade of challenges has changed the landscape, creating a different electoral climate altogether. EU finds itself amidst the ongoing war between Ursula and Meloni. No, not a physical war, but a battle for political dominance within the European Union.
The anti-incumbency sentiment against the current EU leaders has reached an all-time high due to the backdrop of conflict.
As we navigate the repercussions of Russia’s relentless war in Ukraine, it becomes increasingly evident that Europe is undergoing profound transformations with far-reaching consequences.
Seizing the opportunity amidst this political turmoil is Giorgia Meloni, the conservative Prime Minister of Italy and leader of the ECR group. Meloni spearheads negotiations to forge an alliance encompassing the EPP-ECR and other right-wing groups, challenging the dominance of left-leaning parties.
Meloni’s goal is to dismantle the alliance between the EPP and Socialists & Democrats (S&D), particularly following the shadow cast by the ‘Qatargate’ scandal on the leftist group. So far, her strategy seems to be yielding results, as the conservative bloc is positioned to become the largest group in the 2024 elections.
To counter this conservative resurgence, the liberal elites have a plan up their sleeves: Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission. Formerly a frontrunner for the role of NATO Secretary General, Ursula now declares her interest in serving Europe once again.
When asked about the NATO leadership position, Ursula firmly expressed her disinterest, emphasizing her commitment to Europe. However, rumors abound that she may be considering running for a second term as President of the European Commission in the second half of the year.
Ursula’s party, the EPP, has many influential figures who advocate for her continued leadership in the EU. They argue that without her at the helm, crucial efforts in Ukraine and the broader Western agenda may be jeopardized.
On the other hand, Meloni and her conservative cohorts have no intention of toeing the line with US-led initiatives. They seek to shift Brussels’ focus back to domestic affairs and reclaim the narrative.
In this battle for the EU parliament, Meloni continues to strike a chord with populist sentiments and gain ground in the race for dominance. Meanwhile, Ursula von der Leyen finds herself rushed to stay in power to ensure the continuity of the liberal agenda.
Yet, at present, it seems that Meloni is in the lead. The tides are turning, and the European Union braces for an electoral showdown that will shape its future. Conservatism is stronger than ever. Ursula and the liberal elites want to salvage their reputation. But, will they succeed? Only the future will answer this gripping political drama unfolding in the heart of Europe.