Partner Insights

Partner Insights

EU elections: managing the challenge

April 2019

FTI Consulting Brussels provides an overview of what kind of European Parliament we might expect after the forthcoming elections and how this could impact the way Brussels has traditionally done business.

Three potential scenarios:

The Good: Improvement

  • Europeans move forward from Brexit with an increased positive sentiment toward the Union leading to a wider representation of pro-European parties in the European Parliament
  • Anti-establishment parties fail to deliver on expectations. Stability in the European Parliament with traditional pro-European political groups reenergized

The Bad: Paralysis

  • A more splintered European Parliament with a significant increase in the number of nationalist or populist MEPs. No governing majority and each legislative vote turns into an unpredictable political battle
  • The EU decision making process is slow. No real ambition for the Union. No country takes a leading role driving the agenda

The Ugly: Deterioration

  • Anti-establishment parties take control of the European Parliament. Negotiations are mainly based on national issues. Agreements hard to reach
  • Increasingly vocal calls from other Member States to follow UK out of the Union

Three trends to watch:

  1. Instability:
    Louder and stronger anti-establishment parties will disrupt.
  2. Divide:
    Increasing divergence between western and eastern Europe.
  3. Governance:
    Tough negotiations expected to define new governing majority.

FTI Key Takeaway: The elections remain an open race. Current polls suggest we are heading towards a hybrid. Brexit is undermining the European project but is also galvanising opinions about its priorities. A reinvigorated European project being pushed by politicians like French President Macron, could reconnect with voters. However this will be compounded by an influx of new anti-establishment MEPs representing the far left and right. The devil will be in the detail and the final numbers to see who, if any, will hold the balance of power in the new Parliament. For more information please go to our #yearofchange campaign website

The good, the bad and the ugly – preparing business for a year of change

20 February 2019

2019 is going to be a year of major change for Europe with a new Commission appointed in November, but the biggest game changer is likely to be the European Parliament elections in May. The replacement of up to 70% of MEPs could see the very real possibility of nationalist and populist parties holding the balance of power. The established ways of legislating and regulating could fundamentally change. Add into the mix the UK’s exit from the EU at the end of March, and we’re looking at a significant shift in the rules of engagement in Brussels. Is your business ready?

George Orwell once wrote that ‘in our age there is no such thing as keeping out of politics. All issues are political issues’. While companies have traditionally preferred to engage away from the limelight, the level of political uncertainty could well change this dynamic. Business may have to be prepared to take a much more public position. Orwell went on to write that ‘politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia’. Could this be about to come true or will it be business as usual?

As campaigning gets under way, FTI Consulting will be presenting new research at the forthcoming 2019 EU Election Executive Program – A Behind the Scenes View on 12 April. It will review how both SMEs and large company leaders across Germany, France and Spain are preparing themselves for the new reality. It will also assess their expectations from published political manifestos and aspirations for the new legislative agenda, emerging EU regulations, and future integration.

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