European parliament elections 2019 - the changing landscape of Europe

On 7 February, UK Finance will host a breakfast briefing where we will look at the European elections in May and how, post-Brexit, the landscape across Europe will change.

On 7 February, UK Finance will host a breakfast briefing where we will look at the European elections in May and how, post-Brexit, the landscape across Europe will change.

I believe that there are three key areas to look at:

  • Fragmentation and rebalancing of power between the main political groupings in the European parliament
  • Potential recomposing of the political groups in the European parliament
  • The implications for the European Union's (EU) financial services policies in a post-Brexit EU

Beyond the usual left/right spectrum that we see in most national parliaments, the European parliament is also divided into either pro-European or Euro-sceptic groupings. On the right we usually find MEPs tend to be pro-European because they consider the EU to be a force for business and liberalisation of markets and the economy. Others (mostly on the left) see it as an essential shield to protect European social standards against the consequences of globalisation. Lately though there has been a rise on both sides of those that are critical of the EU's increasing powers and integration plans and are seeking an increased role of the sovereign nation state.

Across Europe, party politics is undergoing major shifts at the national level that will affect the EU in 2019. Centre-left and centre-right parties are expected to lose even greater influence after many years of ?mainstream? dominance.

Political affiliations are much weaker today as jobs have changed, societies have become more fluid, and people are much more mobile. Voters appear to be frustrated by a perception of weakening national governments, the rise of multi-nationals, and growing inequality. In reaction to this, larger numbers of them are choosing fringe or anti-establishment parties.

Finally, the austerity policies taken at both an EU and individual member state level following the last financial crisis and increased automation have both disproportionately impacted voters in lower-income brackets, or those in less stable jobs, and have reinforced this impression. This may lead to some voters becoming increasingly concerned about the perception of EU over-reach, leading to hostility towards financial institutions, large multinational companies and supranational institutions, making balanced economic and financial policy even harder to establish and promote.

Bearing all this in mind, the European parliament still matters as it is a democratic representation of all voters in the EU 27, assuring their voices are heard and accounted for. It has been an open forum respecting all voices, leading to policies supporting inclusion and protecting the open tolerant society residents of EU have enjoyed since its foundation. As member states face fragmentation of their national political landscape, and as a larger share is gained by Eurosceptic voices, the European parliament will only grow in importance as a forum allowing all views to be aired and included in adapting the tapestry of the European Union, and making it stable, open, inclusive and representative of its peoples in the years to come.

But what will our speakers think? UK Finance members need to register to attend and find out!

Related Event

Member Breakfast Briefing - European Parliament Elections 2019 - the changing landscape of Europe
UK Finance is hosting a panel discussion looking at what the next European Parliament could look like and what this changing landscape might mean for the financial services sector.

Taking place on the morning of Thursday 7 February 2019 (8.00am-10am), this will be an informal event hosted at UK Finance where Kay Swinburne MEP, and Gergely Polner, Partner, Hanbury Strategy will give us their predictions for the European Parliament elections along with their insights and intelligence on how Brexit may change the shape of the parties in the European Parliament. They will also discuss whether the rise of the right and the left across Europe will have a significant impact on the way the EU is governed in the future, and the impact that these changes will have on the financial sector after Brexit.

UK Finance members can register online here

View our other member events here.

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