Next European Parliament more pro-Israel?

EU Israel

By Yossi Lempkovicz / European Jewish Press. June 14, 2024

For Israel, the most important question is who will succeed Josep Borrell as EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Since the military offensive in Gaza against Hamas following the massacre committed by Hamas in Israel on October 7, Borrell, a former Spanish Socialist Foreign Minister, has become increasingly anti-Israel in his statements.

‘’The results of the European elections seem to indicate that the next 720-member European Parliament has the potential to become more pro-Israel,’’ said  Tomas Sandell, Director and Founder of the European Coalition for Israel (ECI) as he assessed for European Jewish Press the impact on Israel of last week’s votes in the 27 EU member states which showed a clear shift to the right, be the ‘’soft’’ or the ‘’hard’’ right.

The European People’s Party (centre-right) and the S&D (Social-Democrat) will remain the largest political groups in the parliament but with the important gains of the European Conservative and Reformist (ECR) and extreme-right Identity and Democracy (ID) groups, together with the losses registered by the Renew group (center, liberal), especially in France, as well as by the Left and the Greens,  future alliances may change and will have an impact on the nomination of the top EU posts such as President of the EU Commission, President of the EU Council, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (particularly important in terms of EU’s relations with Israel) and President of the European Parliament. An informal dinner of EU leaders on Monday will be a first occasion for them to discuss the future positions which need their agreements as well as a majority within the new European Parliament.

In France, the National Rally party of Marine Le Pen surged to 30% of the vote, while French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party dropped to 15% down from 22% in 2019. The president immediately dissolved the national parliament and called for new elections at the end of June.

In Germany, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) took the second place with an estimated 16.5% of the vote in Sunday’s EU election, while Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats scored their worst result ever.

In Italy, Prime Minister’s Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy received more than a quarter of votes.

The Prime Ministers of two of the most anti-Israel member states, Spain and Belgium, suffered a heavy setback in the elections. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who had called for a review of the EU’s trade relations with Israel, resigned following parliament elections in his country that saw the Flemish nationalists and French-speaking liberals become the first parties in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels.

The election results are a great victory for parties calling for a strong policy on immigration, while the left-leaning parties who ran on climate change and support for Ukraine suffered great losses.

‘’Instead of dismissing these far-right parties that made electoral victories, I think we should at least give them a chance and relate to them party by party, country by country, and not generalize,’’ said Tomas Sandell, whose organization earlier this year published an EU ranking on Israel which clearly showed that the biggest support for Israel can be found among parties on the right of the centre in the European Parliament, the most pro-Israel of all political groups being the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), followed by Identity and Democracy (ID), the European People’s Party (EPP) and the center-liberal Renew group.

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