Wide Angle

How far-right gains in EU elections could affect Morocco-EU relations

The far-right was the big winner in the European elections, particularly in France, Austria and Germany. Will this move have an impact on Moroccan-European relations ?

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As expected, the June 9 European elections have turned the political landscape of the Old Continent upside down. The rise of far-right parties reshuffled the political deck in several countries. In France, the polls were right. The Rassemblement National (RN) list, led by Jordan Bardella, came out on top with 31.5% of the vote, giving it 30 MEPs in the European Parliament.

The friends of French President Emmanuel Macron, united under the banner of Besoin d'Europe (Need for Europe), which includes Renaissance, MODEM and Horizons, only managed to secure 14 seats in the European Parliament. A real debacle for the presidential majority. In the 2019 elections, the gap between the RN and Macron's supporters was very narrow: 21 seats for the République En Marche and 22 for the Rassemblement National.

Immediately after these results were announced, Emmanuel Macron decided to dissolve the National Assembly and call early legislative elections for June 30 and July 7. An attempt to stop the bleeding by betting on a surge of French democrats, as in the 2017 and 2022 presidential elections.

Spain is the exception

As in France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Socialists lost some ground on June 9th and came third in the EP with 14 seats, behind the Alliance for Germany (AFD, far-right) with its 16 MEPs and the Christian Democratic coalition (right) at the top of the podium with 30 MEPs.

Unlike France and Germany, Spain is an exception. As predicted by the polls, the tidal wave of the far-right did not materialize. Vox, with 7 seats, did better than the 3 it won in 2019. The Popular Party (PP) won 22 seats, up from 12 five years ago, and the PSOE won 20, repeating the result of the Socialist list led by Josep Borrell in 2019. 

The sweeping victory of the PP over the Socialists, hoped for by its president Alberto Núñez Feijóo, did not materialize. Pedro Sanchez's comrades endured a campaign in which there were no holds barred, as evidenced by the announcement, five days before the election, that the prime minister's wife would be questioned by a judge of the Audiencia Nacional on July 5 for "corruption".

Morocco and Polisario, differently affected 

The Spanish far-left, which took part in the European elections in scattered ranks, stalled: Sumar, only 4 MEPs for a 2023 coalition of 20 small parties, and 2 for Podemos. The list «Maintenant la république», which unites Basque, Catalan and Galician independentists under its banner, secured only two seats. Lost votes for the Polisario in the European Parliament.

The June 9 elections marked a turning point in the history of the European Parliament. The far-right and the right-wing (EPP) emerged stronger, while the Green group and the Renew Europe group, launched by the French president in 2019, lost ground.

Will this breakthrough have an impact on Moroccan-European relations ? The majority of far-right MEPs supported the Kingdom on Sahara issues and, for example, in the adoption of the resolution of 19 January 2023 calling for the release of journalists imprisoned in Morocco. Numerous written questions to the European Commission on the situation of Sahrawis in the Tindouf camps and on human rights in Algeria were submitted by far-right MEPs such as France's Nicolas Bay, Italy's Silvia Sardone and France's Dominique Bilde.

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