After the European Parliament elections – what happens next?

European Union 2019

(European Union, 2019)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


Over 200 million Europeans voted in the 23-26 May elections, resulting in turnout increasing from 42,61% in 2014 to 51% in 2019. The new legislature will start on 2 July.

Before the first plenary sitting in July, political groups hold their constitutive meetings. A political group must consist of at least 25 MEPs elected in at least one-quarter of the member states (i.e. at least 7). To be officially recognised as of 2 July, political groups have to notify their composition to the President by 1 July.
Find more on political groups here.
Constituent plenary sitting 2-4 July – Elections
The newly elected MEPs will meet in Parliament’s constituent plenary sitting in Strasbourg from 2 to 4 July to elect their President, 14 Vice-Presidents and five Quaestors.
All you need to know about these elections, the procedures etc. here.
Parliament will also vote on the numerical composition of Parliament’s standing and sub committees – thereby launching the new legislative term. In the following weeks, the committees will then hold their first meetings to elect their respective Chairs and Vice-Chairs.
Election of the European Commission President
The first opportunity for the European Parliament to elect the Commission President is the July II session (15-18 July). He or she needs absolute majority in Parliament (half of the existing MEPs plus one, i.e. 376). If the candidate does not obtain the required majority, the member states need to propose another candidate within a month’s time (European Council acting by qualified majority).
In 2019, European political parties again put forward candidates for Commission president. In a statement on 28 May, the EP’s conference of presidents (EP President plus group leaders) committed to the “lead candidate process, so that the next Commission President has made her/his programme and personality known prior to the elections, and engaged in a European-wide campaign.”
Find more on the election of the Commission President here.
What about the Commissioners?
The Council, in agreement with the Commission President-elect, adopts a list of candidate commissioners, one for each member state. These Commissioners-designate appear before parliamentary committees in their prospective fields of responsibility (hearings will probably take place in October).
More information can be found here.
Unfinished business
All votes taken by Parliament before the elections remain legally valid for the next Parliament.
As regards legislative business that has not reached the plenary before the elections, the work done (e.g. in committee) during the previous parliamentary term lapses, unless the new Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (EP President and the political group leaders) decides to continue the work already done on those files.

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