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Europe

FACTBOX-Party time: EU election line-ups

General view of the plenary hemicycle at European Parliament ahead of the EU elections in Brussels, Belgium, May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

EU citizens will elect a new European Parliament this week. National parties line up in pan-EU groups. These could change after the vote, but in the outgoing legislature the eight groups are:

EUROPEAN PEOPLE’S PARTY (EPP – 217 seats)
Lead candidate: Manfred Weber, 46, German, EPP parliamentary leader
Centre-right: favours free trade and business
Notables: German Chancellor Angela Merkel; outgoing European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker; Italian ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi; Polish EU summit chair Donald Tusk; Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, at risk of being expelled for anti-EU nationalism.

SOCIALISTS AND DEMOCRATS (S&D – 186)
Lead candidate: Frans Timmermans, 58, Dutch, deputy head of European Commission, former foreign minister
Centre-left: favours worker’s rights, minimum corporate tax
Notables: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez; Italian ex-premier Matteo Renzi; Swedish and Portuguese premiers; French ex-finance minister and EU economy commissioner Pierre Moscovici.

EUROPEAN CONSERVATIVES AND REFORMERS (ECR – 76)
Lead candidate: Jan Zahradil, 55, Czech, MEP since 2004
Eurosceptic: founded in 2009 when British Conservative leader David Cameron quit EPP to oppose deeper EU integration
Notables: Polish ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski; Flemish nationalist N-VA leader Bart de Wever; Jimmie Akesson of anti-immigration Sweden Democrats; and – for now at least – British Prime Minister Theresa May

ALLIANCE OF LIBERALS AND DEMOCRATS (ALDE – 68)
Lead candidates include: Margrethe Vestager, 51, Danish, EU antitrust commissioner, former economy minister; Guy Verhofstadt, 66, Belgian, ALDE leader, former prime minister
Liberal centre: favour free trade, stronger EU integration
Notables: French President Emmanuel Macron, though he is yet to formally link to ALDE; Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte; premiers of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Estonia

GREENS (52)
Lead candidates: Ska Keller, 37, German, MEP since 2009; Bas Eickhout, 42, Dutch, MEP since 2009
Ecology: left-leaning, seek clean energy and environment
Notables: no national leaders; one high-profile government figure was Joschka Fischer, German foreign minister 1998-2005

EUROPEAN UNITED LEFT (GUE – 46)
Lead candidates: Nico Cue, 62, Belgian, trade union leader; Violeta Tomic, 56, Slovenia, actor, Slovenian parliamentarian
Far left: anti-austerity, want more spending, trade control
Notables: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

EUROPE OF FREEDOM AND DIRECT DEMOCRACY (EFDD – 45)
No lead candidate; expect group to reshuffle after election
Anti-EU: formed in 2014 by Nigel Farage, then leader of UK Independence Party, now of the Brexit Party; key ally Italy’s 5-Star expect to shift to more centrist group after election
Other notables: Italian deputy premier Luigi Di Maio of 5-Star; Joerg Meuthen, co-leader of Alternative for Germany

EUROPE OF NATIONS AND FREEDOM (ENF – 37)
No lead candidate; expect group to reshuffle after election
Anti-immigration: founded in 2015 by French National Rally’s Marine Le Pen and Dutch Freedom Party’s Geert Wilders
Other notables: Matteo Salvini, Italian deputy premier from The League, forecast to be biggest far-right party in new Parliament; Austrian vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache; Steve Bannon, former aide to U.S. President Donald Trump, who is trying to promote a broad eurosceptic alliance


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