Analysis of the 2024 European Elections in Germany

Catrina Schläger, Christos Katsioulis, Jan Niklas Engels

Majority for the stable centre despite a strong right wing

The 2024 European Parliament (EP) elections were a mixed bag. With results varying greatly from country to country, there is no uniform trend across Europe. Despite slight losses, the democratic party families continue to constitute Europe’s stable middle ground. The European People’s Party (EPP) is clearly the strongest force and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) remains in second place while the Liberals and the Greens have suffered significant losses. At the same time, the right-wing fringes of the party spectrum have gained substantially. Yet this is mostly accounted for by three of the EU’s founder member states. The right-wing parties’ gains in parliament come primarily from Germany, France and Italy. Right-wing parties did not have the same success in Scandinavia or, Italy apart, southern Europe. So the middle of Europe’s democratic spectrum held overall. But there are marked shifts between the parties within that fold.

To an extent, the results for Germany reflect the European trends:

  • The Christian-democratic CDU/CSU (the ‘Union’) made slight gains in the European elections and held its ground as the strongest force.
  • The parties making up the ‘traffic light’ coalition were hit by disillusion with the government and lost overall, with the Greens especially shedding a lot of votes compared to 2019.
  • The Social Democratic Party (SPD) came third and recorded its worst-ever European election outcome.
  • Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is establishing itself as a permanent feature in the German party landscape. It is no longer merely a protest and disillusion choice, either, with voters also endorsing its far-right positions. 
  • The Bündnis Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW, the ‘Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance’) achieved an impressive outcome from scratch and also has the potential to displace the left-wing Die Linke in the German Bundestag.
  • Smaller parties once again benefited from the lack of the five per cent threshold that applies in German national elections and gained more seats than in 2019.
Analysis of the 2024 European Elections in Germany

Schläger, Catrina; Katsioulis, Christos; Engels, Jan Niklas

Analysis of the 2024 European Elections in Germany

Majority for the stable centre despite a strong right wing
Berlin, 2024

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