Power games ahead of the summit: who will govern the EU?

It is still unclear whether the EU member states will be able to agree on a proposal for the presidency of the Commission at this Thursday's summit. At the same time, the newly elected EU Parliament is under pressure to form political groups as quickly as possible. The lists of names must be presented by 15 July in order for groups to be recognised at the constituent meeting the following day. Europe's press is keenly following the developments at all levels.

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El País (ES) /

Pro-European majority must show united front

El País appeals above all to the mainstream parties:

“The fact is that there is still a clear pro-European majority in parliament and also in the national governments. ... It is therefore important that the EPP doesn't betray its pro-European history in favour of tactical agreements with the far-right defenders of the Europe of fatherlands. The pro-European majority should remain united and reject outright the push and influence of the far right aimed at reversing the green transition course or further tightening the migration system. ... Agreements must be reached within the European framework. This is the best way to defend the interests of European citizens in a world that demands that we reinforce the EU.”

Naftemporiki (GR) /

Von der Leyen's chance of winning could dwindle

Naftemporiki notes:

“The latest political developments, particularly the snap election in France, could impact Ursula von der Leyen's chances. The anticipated victories of Marine Le Pen's far-right party in the French elections and the Christian Democrats in next year's German elections mean that both Macron and Scholz are in a weakened position. They recognise the need for a strong figure at the helm of the EU to preserve the unity of the EU bloc. It may be that Draghi is the only true 'Western representative of democracy' who can be appointed to the highest level of European governance.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Meloni moving towards the EPP

The Italian head of government is determined to have her say, La Repubblica comments:

“It would be unthinkable for Italy, one of the founding countries of the European Community, to stay on the sidelines. There was no shortage of bitter disagreements behind the scenes. Rome demanded a leading role and top posts, but in the end it will get a little less. ... Perhaps a vice-presidential post. But the top priority for the Italian prime minister is to take a significant step towards the EPP, which is led by Germany, and to distance herself from the sovereigntists without making too much of a fuss. It looks as if she might succeed with this operation, albeit at the cost of breaking with the nationalist front.”

RFI România (RO) /

Too many contradictions in the ECR

RFI România predicts that the inclusion of new members will lead to internal disputes within the rapidly growing ECR group:

“How can the pro-Ukrainian stance of Georgia Meloni, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and the Polish PiS, for example, be reconciled with the anti-Ukrainian stance of France's Marion Maréchal [Reconquête party]? She has frequently spoken out against military aid for Kyiv and against sanctions against Moscow. The situation is even worse with Romania's AUR party, whose leader George Simion has been banned from travelling to Moldova and Ukraine, with officials in both countries justifying the move by claiming that the Romanian politician has links to the Russian secret services.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

The right is crippling itself

The Tages-Anzeiger attributes the friction in the far-right camp to one person in particular:

“The key figure here is Meloni, who is not Marine Le Pen's best friend and has now finally banished Viktor Orbán to the extremist corner. At any rate, Orbán's Fidesz won't find a place in Meloni's ECR group as long as Hungary continues to treat Ukraine like an enemy state. ... Meloni is diligently building walls between her ECR and the super-right 'Identity' group with the Dutchman Wilders, the French Le Pen and the Italian Lega. The German AfD has been disowned by all of them. The right-wing parties are not joining forces; they are crippling each other.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Climate policies could fall by the wayside

When it comes to trade policy, the growing influence of the far right will have less of an impact than the weakening of the Greens, economist Sébastien Jean comments in Le Monde:

“In such a constellation, the EU's ability to effectively defend its interests and values depends largely on its cohesion. ... From this point of view the European far right's focus on national interests is debilitating, but it says little about the directions that will be taken. The relative weakening of environmentalists at the European level could well have a greater impact, with the risk that climate protection ambitions will fall by the wayside in upcoming decisions.”