European Parliament elections: Key for politics and agriculture

RaboResearch considers the consequences

What will the outcome of the coming elections for European Parliament mean for the course of Europe and, more specifically, for the food and agricultural sector? RaboResearch investigates.

The upcoming European Parliament elections could be a decisive moment for the course of Europe. A recent RaboResearch publication – the first in a series – stresses the event’s importance. Considering eight key questions, the report describes the workings of the European Parliament and its influence on the food and agriculture sectors.

A decisive moment

In May 2019, elections will be held in all member states to elect the new members of the European Parliament (EP). The vote takes place amidst growing support for anti-establishment parties and could prove to be a decisive moment for the course of Europe. The European Parliament has been granted more powers on a wide range of subjects in recent years. Additionally, several key positions at European institutions need to be filled in the coming year and the Parliamentary elections will influence these decisions.

According to recent polls, the dominant groups (Christian Democrats, Social Democrats) are set to lose a significant amount of seats in the European Parliament. Such an outcome may reflect growing popular discontent, which is already visible in recent national elections, about issues ranging from wages to migration, from taxes to pensions.

Koen Verbruggen, Economist at RaboResearch: “The European Parliament has become increasingly important for EU policymaking. The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 granted the European Parliament with more powers over a wide range of subjects. It is therefore quite remarkable to see that voter turnout is declining steadily.” Several countries even report voter turnouts below twenty percent. This voter apathy can be seen as an indicator for a lack of trust in EU politics or the perception that voters do not have any influence on EU policy.

”It is remarkable that voter turnout is declining steadily”

- Koen Verbruggen, RaboResearch

Consequences for food & agri

Ruud Schers, Analyst at RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness: “The European Parliament has a major influence when it comes to the agriculture and food sectors. They have a key role in determining the legislation, EU’s Common Budget as well as trade agreements with third countries, all of which are key topics for farmers and the food industry.”

The election results will also indirectly influence the choice for the position of president of the European Commission, as the European Parliament must approve the nominee. Next year several other key positions within EU institutions will become vacant: new leaders for the European Commission, European Council, European Parliament and the ECB will be appointed.

Given the importance of these elections, RaboResearch is releasing a series of publications considering potential consequences and implications for European policy. You can read the first in the series here.