Briefing: How 2019 will set Europe on a new five-year political course

The European Parliament: One of the many European institutions facing change this year

This year will be one of significant political change in Europe. On 23-26 May, citizens across EU member states will elect the 705 MEPs who will form the first European Parliament after Brexit.

Following the elections, a new President of the European Commission and a new College of Commissioners will take office, while new presidents will also be appointed to lead the European Parliament and the European Council.

A new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will take the reins of the European External Action Service.

Besides the changes triggered by the European elections, the European Central Bank will also have a new president. In parallel, national general elections will take place in seven member states.

Combined with Brexit, Italy’s budget woes, the weakening of governments in some key member states like Germany and France and the rise of populism and anti-establishment sentiment, the elections and the resulting changes in the European institutions make 2019 an unpredictable year.

It will also be a year of internal focus as decision-making processes slow down and much political attention turns to the elections, the appointment of the next EU leaders and the formation of new priorities and internal organisation.

At the same time, 2019 will be an important year during which the political course of the EU will be set for the next five years both in terms of the key individuals and decision-makers in charge, as well as the political agenda to be pursued.

In this briefing, Hume Brophy looks at what will change across the three EU institutions and what the implications are for businesses and other stakeholders wishing to influence the EU’s policy agenda over the next five years.