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EU ELECTIONS 2019: MEP RUNNERS AND RIDERS Between 23 and 26 May, Europeans will vote to elect the 751 MEPs to represent them for the next five years. In this overview, we review the 10 MEPs most likely to make a difference during the next parliamentary mandate (2019-2024). Among them are candidates completely new to EU politics, in addition to current and returning Brussels heavyweights.


Placement at the head of party lists for the European Parliament elections is increasingly used in some Member States as a pitch for a role within the European Commission and some of these 10 will also be locking horns for the top jobs in the EU’s executive branch after the elections.


About Andrus Ansip (ALDE)

Josep Borrell (S&D)

Valdis Dombrovskis (EPP)

Nigel Farage (EFDD)

Commission Vice-President Ansip, currently in charge of the all-encompassing Digital Single Market portfolio, has been one the most prominent Brussels policymakers since 2009 – and he now wants to return to the European Parliament by standing in the upcoming May elections. Ansip, who will represent Estonia’s Reform Party, has promised to promote liberal values and hopes to offset the expected swing to the right in the new Parliament. However, with considerable support back home for him to continue on as Commissioner, his second stint as an MEP may be short-lived. The Spanish Foreign Minister and former President of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2007 is one of the heavyweights returning to Brussels this year. With Pedro Sanchez securing his place as Prime Minister in the Spanish general election in April, Borrell is a top candidate to become Spanish Commissioner, possibly in the role of high representative for foreign affairs. If not, as the lead for the Spanish Socialists list, he will be a big influence in the institution he once led. Current Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis is bidding to stay in Brussels for another five years, either for another term as Commissioner or as an MEP for the Latvian centre-right New Unity party. Having been in charge of Financial Services since the UK’s Commissioner Jonathan Hill resigned following the UK’s Brexit referendum in 2016, he intends to take on the Commission’s economic and financial affairs portfolio, or if successfully elected to the Parliament, to work in the economic and monetary affairs (ECON) committee or the budgets’ committee. With his newly-formed Brexit Party taking a strong lead in the polls for the European elections in the UK, Nigel Farage is almost certain to return to Parliament. Love him or hate him, his taunting speeches were a fixture at Strasbourg plenary sessions and he is expected to remain just as disruptive. For how long will depend on Brexit progress and whether he will have the chance to run in a UK general election.

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Silvio Berlusconi (EPP)

Mariya Gabriel (EPP)

Markus Ferber (EPP)

Francois-Xavier Bellamy (EPP)

Nathalie Loiseau (ALDE/En Marche)

The 82-year-old ‘Il Cavalliere’ never seems to stay away from politics for long. Free to run since a Milan court decision last year following a tax fraud conviction, he will lead his party Forza Italia’s list for the European elections. The infamous media tycoon has three separate tenures as Italian Prime Minister and a short stint as an MEP from 1999-2001. While Berlusconi falls in the pro-European camp and is a close ally of the Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani, his expected tenure is unlikely to avoid controversy. As one of seven top candidates for Bulgaria’s GERB party, Mariya Gabriel is likely to return to the Parliament in July. Gabriel was an MEP on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs from 2009 to 2017 before being catapulted into the Commission in 2017, where she held the key digital portfolio. Although Gabriel is little known in her home country, she has clout in Brussels, in the Commission and the Parliament, and within EPP, of which she has been a Vice-President.

Long-serving MEP Ferber – first elected in 1994 – is very likely to return to the Parliament, where he has been a member of the ECON committee since 2009. He has held rapporteur positions on important financial services files including MiFID II. If re-elected he is in a strong position to return to his current role as EPP Coordinator on the Committee or may wish to put his name forward as committee Chair or Vice-Chair.

The 34-year-old François-Xavier Bellamy was the surprise choice of the centre-right Les Republicains to lead their candidates list in May’s elections. The philosopher, award-winning author and high-school teacher is a novice in politics. His only stint in public office is that of deputy mayor of Versailles. However, he has become a rapidly rising star on the French right by formulating clear policy differences with Macron’s En Marche, including staunch opposition to a Eurozone budget. Macron’s choice to lead the En Marche’s ‘Renaissance’ list also came as a surprise. Former French Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau has only been a politician for a couple of years. Little known to the public, Loiseau is a career diplomat having served in Indonesia, Senegal, Morocco, Somalia, Cambodia and the US. Loiseau is also aiming to be far more than an average MEP and is a strong position to head the planned new centrist group that will succeed ALDE. Cicero Group | 2




Dacian Ciolos

The former Romanian Prime Minister and former European Commissioner for Agriculture under President Barroso. In 2015, President Juncker kept Ciolos on in Brussels as special adviser on international food security. With Romanian politics in turmoil, Ciolos heads a new centre-right party dubbed PLUS, which is expected to take six seats in the Parliament, though it is unclear with which group they will sit. Ciolos himself has hinted at both joining the centre-right EPP and a reformed ALDE group.

NOTABLE DEPARTURES: Almost 30% of current MEPs will be retiring in 2019. These include Parliament mainstays Elmar Brok (EPP) of Germany, Alain Lamassoure (EPP) and Pervenche Berès (S&D) of France, Veteran Scottish Labour MEP David Martin (S&D), centre-right and trade unionist Luxembourgish MEP Georges Bach (EPP) and Maria João Rodrigues (S&D) of Portugal are not running for seats this term.

If you would like to speak to the Cicero team about this document, or how we can support your organisation and its public affairs objectives in 2019, please do contact Helena Walsh: Helena Walsh Executive Director - Brussels and Dublin BXL: +32 (0)2 612 8152

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EU elections 2019 - MEP runners and riders  

EU elections 2019 - MEP runners and riders