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SOFIA – For the first time, the Bulgarian News Agency reported the results of the European Parliament elections with direct reports from the 27 EU member states. In the large-scale event “BTA 24/27 EU”, the agency’s special correspondents and reporters connected via live video link, and their interlocutors were leading journalists, analysts, and scholars.

BTA tried to present a complete picture of the European elections from all EU member states to help Bulgarians see that Europe is united in diversity, as the EU motto says, stated BTA Director General Kiril Valchev.

The head of the EP’s office in Bulgaria, Teodor Stoychev, also attended the event at the agency’s headquarters. He described BTA’s initiative to deliver the pan-European dimension of the EP elections as important.

Expert and member of the European Economic and Social Committee from Germany Christian Mos highlighted the increased presence of extreme parties and, in light of the upcoming formation of the European Commission and the election of its president, called on democratic parties, which still have a clear majority in the new EP, to work together and avoid cooperating with the far right.  

The victory of the French “National Rally” and the good results of other nationalist parties across Europe undoubtedly change the context in the EP, they will have  over a quarter of the seats, commented Ognian Atanasov, Deputy Director of the “Legal and Institutional Affairs” department at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.  According to him, the nationalist parties will not form a majority nor a large coalition due to the division among them.

Dutch journalist Dirk van Hartten drew attention to the trend for higher voter turnout in national than in European elections, which is observed throughout Europe. The reason, he said, is that for many people, Europe is far away. They believe that European politics is on some more abstract level and is not related to the problems they see around them, said Dirk van Hartten. 

Regarding the rise of right-wing parties in Europe, journalist from the newspaper “Denik N” Tomas Linhart pointed out that in the Czech Republic, it is rather the opposite – a growth of left-wing parties.  One of the right-wing parties “Freedom and Direct Democracy” (in coalition with “Tricolour”) are among the big losers  in these elections. Previously they had two seats in the EP, and now they get one and are the last party that exceeds the electoral threshold, Linhart pointed out.

The political center will be the main factor in the new European Parliament, believes former Swedish MP and MEP and current political commentator Gunnar Hökmark.
The left in the EP has weakened, the nationalists are stronger but also very fragmented in terms of policies. The center – EPP, Social Democrats, and “Renew Europe” will remain the most important factor and will dominate the legislative process, said Hökmark.

There are many interesting trends in Europe. On one hand, we will retain the pro-European majority, but on the other hand, there are alarming things that should not be overlooked, said Prof. Dr. Ingrid Schikova, one of the founders of the “European Studies” department at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and pointed to France, Germany, and Italy as examples. Europe needs cool heads and warm hearts to be protected at this moment. We shouldn’t bury our heads in the sand like ostriches and think that everything is fine, said Schikova.

Journalist from “MaltaToday” Karl Azopardi did not rule out the possibility that Roberta Metsola could succeed Ursula von der Leyen as President of the EC. However, people in Malta want Roberta Metsola to be the new national leader, added the journalist. (10.06.2024)