The new international balance between Europe and the G7

Just after the polls closed for the European parliamentary elections, it was clear who the winners and losers were in the 27 member states of the European Union. In almost all countries, conservative and sovereigntist parties performed well, increasing their number of seats, even though the composition of the next parliament will not be much different from the current one. Overall, the European Parliament has shifted slightly to the right without profoundly altering the structure of the hemicycle, contrary to what several pre-election estimates had suggested. It is highly likely that a cross-party majority will form, bringing together center-right, center, and center-left parties, as was the case in 2019 with the coalition that supported the current Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen. However, the so-called “Ursula majority” will have fewer seats than the outgoing parliament. Any majority must control more than 361 seats, which is half plus one of the 720 seats in the European Parliament. Previously, the Populars, Socialists, and Liberals controlled 419 seats; in the next parliament, according to projections, they will control 401. This will be a problem for von der Leyen, who is aiming for a second term.

Among the most important results in individual countries is the victory of the far-right Rassemblement National in France: for this reason, shortly after the release of the exit polls, President Emmanuel Macron announced the dissolution of parliament and new legislative elections. In Italy, however, two political forces emerged victorious: the main party of the governing coalition, Fratelli d’Italia (FdI), which obtained 28.81% of the votes and confirmed itself as the leading party in the country, improving its percentage compared to the last parliamentary elections in 2022 (when it had 26%); and the Democratic Party with its leader Elly Schlein, who managed to establish herself as the second-largest party in Italy and the main opposition party, with 24%.

Earthquake or settling shock, the election results echo the ongoing changes in Europe. With voters concerned about immigration, inflation, the war on Europe’s doorstep, and the cost of environmental reforms, it is not difficult to understand why Eurosceptic parties have gained support. Less clear is how much and how they will actually be able to influence future European policies.

A first answer is being given these days in Puglia, where the G7 under Italian presidency is taking place, the meeting of the heads of state and government of the seven most influential democracies in the world. The meeting opened on Thursday with a particularly delicate issue, on which an agreement has been reached in recent days and which will be formalized and discussed during the three-day meeting: the granting of a large loan of more than 50 billion euros to Ukraine, which will be used to finance military resistance and the reconstruction of the country’s energy infrastructure, which has been fighting against the Russian army’s invasion for more than two years. The agreement was anticipated and mainly supported by the United States and the will of Joe Biden. Seeking his second term, the current American president also scores another diplomatic victory this week thanks to strong international support for his plan for a ceasefire in Gaza. The draft resolution, presented to the UN Security Council, passed with 14 votes in favor and Russia’s abstention. The three-phase project, announced by the American president on May 31 and shared with Israel, aims to end hostilities in the Strip. The ball is now in Hamas’s court, which, although not inclined to accept the proposed commitment, has not closed the door to negotiation, proposing amendments to the offer, including a new timeline for the release of hostages and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.