The European elections of May 2019 have been labelled 'a fateful election for Europe'. Although the outcome was disappointing for Eurosceptic and populist forces, polarisation and politicisation will make life in the ninth (2019-2024) European Parliament (EP) more complicated. The article shows that, while the EP might not be more Eurosceptic after the elections, it is certainly more complicated. First, hard Eurosceptics became the fifth political force in the EP, falling just behind the Greens, which is likely to give them a stronger voice and more leeway in parliamentary life. Second, polarisation makes it more difficult to build stable coalitions, which has a direct impact on the EP’s chances to be effective in inter-institutional negotiations. Third, although mainstream parties continue to use the 'cordon sanitaire' to exclude those deemed 'undesirable', with the increase of populist forces inside mainstream groups, it has become more difficult to define who belongs to this group. Finally, it considers the implications of polarisation for the role of the EP within the broader political system of the EU, especially now that it has ceased to be a phenomenon unique to Parliament. Polarisation poses a major challenge for the future life of the European Union and prompts us to think in terms of partisan alliances across EU institutions rather than see institutions as monolithic black boxes.
European Parliament, Elections, Euroscepticism, Populism, European Union
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