(© picture-alliance/dpa)

  European Parliament election 2019

  35 Debates

First of all supposed "lead candidates" for the Commission presidency and a surprisingly high voter turnout. Then power struggles and bickering between leaders of the member states who want nothing to do with the lead candidates. Finally the election of von der Leyen with a wafer-thin majority. After all of this a number of commentators are calling for urgent change.

With just nine votes more than she needed the European Parliament has elected Ursula von der Leyen as the new President of the EU Commission. Since the heads of government ignored the actual lead candidates for the top EU post many MEPs only opted to vote for the German politician at the last minute. Commentators make clear what they expect of von der Leyen.

Before what looks set to be a knife-edge vote on her bid to become EU Commission President, the German candidate Ursula von der Leyen has given a speech in the EU Parliament aimed at securing its support. She focused on climate protection, the minimum wage and migration. For or against von der Leyen - which way should the parliamentarians vote?

The countries of Eastern Europe have emerged empty-handed from the talks aimed at filling the EU's top posts. During the negotiations the four Visegrád countries blocked the candidacy of Frans Timmermans, who supported Article 7 proceedings against Poland and Hungary. While some commentators criticise the West's dominance, others fault the East's destructive stance.

The EU heads of state and government have agreed on who should get which top job. German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen was nominated as Commission president, Belgian Prime minister Charles Michel as EU Council president, IMF boss Christine Lagarde was chosen to head the ECB, and Spain's top diplomat Josep Borrell is to become the EU foreign policy chief. Europe's press assesses the outcome of prolonged and tense talks.

The new parliamentary group Identity and Democracy (ID) was founded in the European Parliament last week. Under the leadership of the Italian Lega politician Marco Zanni the group occupies 73 of the parliament's 751 seats. But commentators say that the new alliance has little in common with the big alliance of anti-European parties Lega boss Matteo Salvini had envisaged in the election campaign.

Marathon talks aimed at settling the allocation of top EU posts have been taking place since Sunday. The election of Dutch social democrat Frans Timmermans as EU Commission President seemed almost certain before Italy and the Visegrád states opposed it. Whether this Tuesday's discussions will bring a decision seems doubtful. Commentators voice concern about the effects of the back and forth on the EU's reputation.

The parties of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) has suffered heavy losses in many countries and the parliamentary group as a whole has lost 34 seats. Only in Spain and Portugal did they take first place - the MEPs of Spain's PSOE will now be the biggest faction within the group. Commentators analyse their success and the failure of their sister parties.

The national conservative governing PiS party has won the European elections in Poland with over 42 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. The opposition "European Coalition" trailed behind with roughly 39 percent. Polish media discuss the results with an eye to this autumn's parliamentary elections.

France's far right under Marine le Pen has come first in the European elections, ahead of President Macron's list. Macron had promised he would do all he could to prevent the Rassemblement National from winning. Observers disagree as to the lessons the president should learn from the result.

Despite very different results in the individual member states the overall picture that emerges after the European elections is clear: the Christian Democratic and Social Democratic groups suffered major losses, the Liberals and Greens made big gains, and the eurosceptic and right-wing nationalist spectrum also gained ground. For various reasons commentators are worried by the election results.

Previously in sixth place, the Greens are now the fourth strongest force in the European Parliament. The group will hold 69 seats - 17 more than in 2014. Roughly a third of voters under 30 voted green. Commentators predict that the green parties will soon gain even more influence.

The European elections continue today, Friday, with votes in the Czech Republic and Ireland. For weeks the media have been taking an avid interest in the elections, which are considered decisive for the EU's future. The election marathon began on Thursday and continues until Sunday. Journalists look at which issues are mobilising the 418 million people entitled to vote, and what they should take into account when they cast their ballots.

The EU elections start today, Thursday, with the votes in the UK and the Netherlands. According to the latest study by pan-European think tank the European Council on Foreign Relations, the economy and the rise of nationalism are the main issues on voters' minds. But Europe's press complains that the election campaigns haven't given enough attention to the issues that really matter.

Almost a dozen representatives of right-wing populist parties from across Europe met in Milan on the weekend. Thousands came to hear the address by Lega leader Salvini and several counter-demonstrations took place. Salvini wants to create a European Alliance of Peoples and Nations that brings together nationalist parties in the EU Parliament. Can such an alliance work?

With their votes in the European elections next week, citizens can send a signal for the future of Europe. Will they vote for pro-European forces who want cooperation, or will they opt for those determined to dismantle the union? Europe's media discuss ways in which Europeans could benefit from the expanding community.

The MEPs who will be elected between 23 and 26 of May will be responsible for EU legislation together with the Council of Ministers. But only the EU Commission can propose new laws. Critics bemoan the democratic deficit and would like to see more power for the parliament. Commentators also point to shortcomings in EU institutions.

The candidates for Macron's party La République en Marche are presenting their agenda for the EU elections this Thursday. Instead of governmental politics the focus has clearly shifted to environmental protection. The positions on immigration are also less tough than Macron's stance to date. Commentators question the credibility of this new direction.

The EU Parliament elections will decide whether EU member states move closer together or further apart. According to polls the right-wing populists stand to make major gains and, if they form a parliamentary group together, become the second-strongest force in the parliament. But not all observers are convinced they will be able to push through their agenda.

Italy's government made up of Lega and the Five Star Movement is at odds over what to do about a junior minister in the Transport Ministry who is accussed of corruption. Five Star has demanded the resignation of the Lega minister and the cabinet is to reach a decision this Wednesday. But the case of the junior minister is just a pretext, observers suspect.

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has withdrawn his support for the EPP's leading candidate Manfred Weber in the European elections. He gave as his reason Weber's comment that he would not want to become president of the EU Commission if it depended on Fidesz votes. Commentators interpret this as a final break with the EPP and speculate about the future for Orbán and Weber.

Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini wants to forge a right-wing alliance in the EU Parliament after the European elections. At a news conference on Monday he presented the European Alliance of Peoples and Nations in Milan. At his side were the leaders of the German party AfD, the Finns Party and the Danish People's Party. Commentators explain why they doubt the plan will succeed.

Four hundred million people are called on to vote in the European elections, but the turnout isn't expected to be very high. In the last elections it was 42.61 percent but it has never come anywhere near the record level recorded in 1979, when the citizens of Europe were allowed to elect their parliament for the first time. Commentators examine the causes and defend those running for election at the end of May.

Signs are growing that Orbán's Fidesz party will be expelled from the EPP after he refused EPP leader Manfred Weber's demand for an apology for anti-European statements and an anti-Brussels poster campaign. The EPP is to decide Fidesz's fate on 20 March. Hungarian commentators discuss the possibility of Fidesz choosing to leave the EPP of its own accord.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a fresh start for Europe, with member states working together more closely on matters of security, trade and social policy. His guest commentary appeared in leading newspapers across all 28 EU member states. The opinion pages are reverberating - with both positive and negative responses.

Thirty intellectuals and writers from all over Europe have published an appeal to Europeans urging them to resist the populists who want to destroy the EU. The European elections could be calamitous if a majority fails to fight back against the populists, they warn. We present an excerpt from the manifesto and the debate it has triggered.

Five months before the European elections observers are predicting heavy losses for the major groups in the European Parliament. They see the Liberals and Greens growing stronger but the conservatives and social democrats in trouble due to pressure from far-right parties. Commentators are at odds about the extent to which this could change Europe's politics.

The two major far-right parties in Italy and France have started their joint campaign for the European elections. Salvini and Le Pen announced in Rome that they would seek to establish a "Europe of nations" after the May vote. While some commentators see the end of the EU approaching, others say the right-wing populists' promises are doomed to fail.

Commentators have long been predicting that the European elections in May will be decisive for Europe's future - not least because the right-wing populists are forming alliances and the hard-right US strategist Steve Bannon has joined the fray with his organisation The Movement. Commentators discuss the populists' appeal and chances of success.

Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon announced at the conference of the nationalist Fratelli d'Italia in Rome that he plans to spend most of the next few months in Europe helping far-right parties with their campaign for the European elections. On Sunday he met Czech President Milos Zeman. Commentators explain why they believe his project will fail and how the EU needs to reinvent itself.

After the summer break political life has resumed in the EU and is dominated by the elections to the European Parliament next May. The haggling over the top EU posts has begun, and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is pressing ahead with plans to abolish daylight saving time. Commentators observe how two opposing camps are positioning themselves for battle.

CSU European politician Manfred Weber has announced that he will run for the post of EU Commission president after the European elections in 2019. The EPP will decide on November 8 whether it will name Weber, its current parliamentary group leader, as lead candidate. Europe's media are already weighing up the pros and cons of Weber becoming EU Commission President.

The groundwork is being laid and candidates are being selected across Europe for the European Parliament elections 2019. Not just since the announcement by US right-wing extremist Steve Bannon that he would support Europe's right-wing populists have fears been mounting that illiberal parties will make major gains. Journalists discuss what can be done to counter this trend.

Migration is to be the key topic of the European elections and the "1968 elite" must be voted out of office: these were the demands put forward by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the annual Tusványos Festival celebrated by Romania's Hungarian minority. Commentators are at odds about how seriously Orbán's words should be taken.

US President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon wants to support European right-wing populists with his foundation "The Movement" in a bid to instigate a "right-wing populist revolt" in the run-up to the European elections, according to media reports. How dangerous are his plans for Europe?