EU 2024: a busy start to a busy year

Home / News / EU 2024: a busy start to a busy year

The new year 2024 is a year of elections: citizens in the U.S., India, and of course Europe, will go voting. In the EU, the race for the European Parliament has already started, with elections due to take place in June. In January, the new Presidency of the Council took over with a clear goal in mind (to finalise as many legislative files as possible), current President of the European Council Charles Michel announced his candidacy in the European Parliament elections, and several lead candidates for national lists were announced. January was definitely a busy start for the European Union, with the pace expected to only accelerate further.

Busy start

As usual, with the new year, a new presidency kicked in. The Belgians, who took over after the Spanish, announced they want to finalise as many trilogue negotiations as possible before the June elections. In January alone, eight agreements were reached (including rules on urban wastewater and on anti-money laundering), while the Presidency continues holding multiple trilogues a week. Current European Council President Charles Michel announced he would lead the list of Belgium’s Mouvement Réformateur for EU elections, before pulling out of the race after significant backlash. While the current Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynolds expressed his disinterest to head the list, another Commissioner, Luxembourgish Nicolas Schmit (Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights) was nominated as the European Socialists Common Candidate for the European Commission top job. (More about the spitzenkandidaten process here). Further to the left on the political spectrum, Bas Eickhout was designated as lead candidate for the national joint list of Dutch Greens and Social-democrats, PvdA, a few days before he was confirmed to be one of the European Greens candidates for European Commission President, together with German MEP Terry Reintke.

Looking ahead at the potential outcome of the elections, the latest projections from January (which take into account the new number of 720 EP seats) place the far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) group third, nine seats ahead of the liberal Renew Europe, and eleven seats ahead of the other current right-wing EP group, the European Conservatists and Reformists (ECR). Furthermore, many national parties that still lack political affiliation at EU level will very likely join the ranks of one of these right-wing groups, further increasing their size and potentially leading ID to come in third in the next Parliament. The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the left Socialist and Democrats (S&D) are expected to remain the two biggest groups in the Parliament though, while the Greens are predicted to win 51 seats, over 20 seats down from their 2019 result, and the Left is predicted to hold 42 seats.

One month gone, four months to go: the elections countdown

As the prospective picture of the next European Parliament slowly emerges, being more right-leaning, a change in how issues are framed is becoming more apparent. With a more polarised Parliament and a lot of new faces entering the EU institution, out-of-box alliances need to be considered. On top of these overarching matters, legislative work on files still to be closed in the current mandate is not expected to slow down in coming weeks. Yet, with four months to go before the European elections, one cannot forget about election-specific advocacy opportunities, such as MEP pledges (today more a selfie or a tweet, rather than a signature).


If you are interested in knowing what other opportunities the EU 2024 elections present for your organisation, as well as how we can help you navigating the next EU Commission and Parliament and their work in the next mandate, and/or how we can help you with your advocacy at the EU level, please get in touch through the contact form.

For more EU-related news and developments, follow us on LinkedIn/Bluesky/Mastodon, where we also post our weekly EU Friday updates.