Romania's influence in the EU, at stake in the next European parliamentary elections. The role of strong political delegations | ANALYZE

The sending to the new European Parliament of a large number of MEPs from the main European political families is an element that will weigh a lot in the influence that Romania will have in the coming years at the EU level.

Iohannis will be able to play an active role in the negotiations for only a few months PHOTO Adevărul

Almost ignored by a large part of the population, given that only 4.7% of Romanians believe that the election for the European Parliament is among the most important, according to the latest INSCOP survey, the legislative elections in Brussels have an increased relevance in political games from the EU. Because following them, according to the results, the drawing of the new European architecture takes place, both the European Commission (ie the Executive), but also the management positions in the European Parliament.

Political sources stated for “Adevărul” that the number of Romanian MEPs from the most powerful political families, i.e. the European People's Party and the European Socialist Party, represents a first element that will count in the word that the Romanian MEPs have in Brussels and Strasbourg. In the new legislature, the number of MEPs will increase from 705 to 720. Romania will not receive any additional MEPs, having already received one more (and thus reached 33 MEPs) after the exit of Great Britain from the EU.

Romania currently has, but will also have in the new legislature, the sixth largest delegation of MEPs, after Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland. In the case of the European People's Party, which includes PNL (10 MEPs), PMP (2) and UDMR (2), Romanians have the third largest delegation, after Germans and Poles. In an optimistic scenario, those from the EPP will have 12-13 MEPs, if the UDMR also makes the threshold. But in a negative scenario, the number of MEPs would decrease to 10 or even 9. However, the “chance” of the popular Romanians is the same as in other large countries, such as the case of France (where Marine le Pen's party is on the rise) or Italy (where the parties of Meloni and Salvini break from the mandates of the people), those of their political family to obtain ten mandates. So they will remain among the first political families.

PSD could increase

Among the socialists, the Romanians currently have 11 MEPs (10 from PSD and one from Pro Romania), the Romanian delegation being exceeded only by Spain, Italy and Germany. According to PSD calculations, the number of mandates could go up to 12, still remaining influential and even being able to advance to the top 3 at the PES level.

Political sources have stated that the problem with mandates for those who are either in the Conservative (ECR) or ID (Identity and Democracy) group is that they are isolated and do not participate in any political negotiations at all. Exactly between the two groups, AUR oscillates. Instead, through the strength of their groups, but also of their own qualities, some Romanian MEPs had to manage the EU budget (Siegfied Mureșan for 2024, and Victor Negrescu will follow for 2025) or the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (Siegfried Mureșan and Dragoș Pâslaru were co-reporters).

The second factor of influence at the EU level is representative of the people at the top of the state: president and prime minister. And in this case, seniority matters a lot, which in the negotiation of the next Commission will be an asset for Romania, having the longest-serving head of state, but along the way this will be diminished, because Iohannis leaves office at the end of the year. Sources from the EP stated for “Adevărul” that no matter how small the country is, the length of the mandate is important, because over the years there have been all kinds of compromises and understandings in which a leader took part, and in turn this can request things in favor of his family.

In the case of Ciolacu, although he has been president of the PSD for four years, the prime minister's mandate is less than one year. Therefore, in the case of both the PSD and the PNL, liaison people at the European level will matter a lot in the coming years, i.e. people like Siegfried Muresan (a close friend of Manfred Weber, the head of the PPE, and a former close friend of Joseph Daul) and Victor Negrescu, MEP having good relations especially with the Spanish and German socialists, i.e. the groups that matter a lot at the European level.

Failure of Renew Europe

Another strong pro-European family is Renew Europe, the third largest in the EP and part of important EU negotiations, but now losing speed. As for Renew, the Romanians also had a substantial delegation. With nine elected, at the beginning the Romanians had the second largest delegation, after the French (with 24 mandates, of which 11 are from Macron's formation, from where the group leader, Valerie Hayer, recently appointed after Stephane Sejourne departed minister), initially leader of the group being Dacian Cioloș.

Currently, the chances of capturing Parliament for REPER, a formation that has five MEPs (Ramona Strugariu, Dragoș Pâslaru, Dacian Cioloș, Dragoș Tudorache and Alin Mituță), are very small, given that the party is at 1-2%. The formation led by the co-presidents Strugariu and Pâslaru decided just four months before the elections that it is ready for an alliance, but the doors are closed, both in the area of ​​Power, where there is a large crowd of candidates for seats in the PNL, as well as in the area of ​​the Opposition, i.e. the United Right Alliance, where the bridges are destroyed from the moment the former colleagues broke the USR, in 2022. The USR now has only one MP left, and the most optimistic expectations are that the United Right Alliance will take 8 mandates, but only 6 will belong to the party led by Cătălin Drula, and the others to Eugen Tomac (PMP/PPE) and Violeta Alexandru (from Forța Dreptei, without affiliation to a political family). Instead, the realistic option is to obtain six mandates (of which 4 of USR).