Articles by Ana Martínez on the GC Blog and GC analysis
Ursula von der Leyen’s narrow win on Tuesday - just nine seats above the required majority – has widely been interpreted as a sign of trouble ahead for her commission and its ability to push through legislation. But is this right? There are some reasons to think it might not be.
During the Eurogroup meeting on February 11th, the European Commission is expected to present a detailed account of its decision to halt the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) against Italy. The back and forth between Brussels and Rome at the end of last year kept some of us at the edge of our seat. But the EDP was not only an existential crisis for Rome and the euro zone as a whole, but also for pro-Europeans in other member states, particularly the Netherlands.
I have just spent an interesting week in Madrid talking with people from every part of the political spectrum. There was a lot of talk of Spain flexing its muscles more in Europe. In the background to these conversations, Spain was pushing hard for – and got – concessions from the UK over Gibraltar that prompted Pedro Sánchez to trail the prospect of co-sovereignty for the territory. Everyone notes that Spanish MEPs will have a uniquely strong presence across all of the main pan-European political groupings after June. The Ciudadanos centrists in particular anticipate playing a pivotal role as a broker between the ALDE and Macron’s En Marche. People point out that Spain remains exceptional in not having any significant Eurosceptic political party and some of the highest levels of pro-Europeanism in the EU. These are firm signs of a potential end to long relative marginalisation that followed the 2012 rescue package. But there are also some tests ahead for Spain.
In Sweden’s general election this weekend, the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) are projected to win approximately 20% of votes. This will make them the second largest party in the country – the result of a swift rise that will dramatically impact Sweden’s political landscape. It echoes a similar surge from anti-establishment and Eurosceptic parties seen in the recent German, Austrian, Dutch and Italian elections.