Written by Terken Umay Akbulut

As of the 9th of June, the European elections have officially come to an end. The citizens of countries within the European Union went to the voting stations to cast their ballots and elect their representatives for the European Parliament. 720 members, 15 more compared to the previous elections, were elected. Nowadays, the topic of discussion for EU citizens revolves around the results of the elections. But what about the non-EU citizens? Should they care, should I care, and if so, why? Some elections primarily influence domestic policies with limited international impact. However, the European Parliamentary elections are very much the opposite of that. With the EU’s borders having the potential to shrink or grow, the steps taken, and the decisions made through the voice of the citizens will have global repercussions. While the global economy performed better than anticipated in 2023, inflationary pressures are not yet under control.A poor economic performance during 2024, coupled with the enduring social and economic consequences of the pandemic and the wars within Europe’s borders, the climate crisis, and the increasing partisanship around critical policy issues, such as the unending politicization of migration, rendered greater societal polarisation, causing trouble for the EU in a year of elections. The issues around these matters have caused the right and the far-right parties to increase their platform in many EU countries. The elections yielded a heavily right-wing EU. This consequently can potentially affect the EU’s external policies and international relationships. As a citizen anywhere in the world, it will affect you!

            The number of MEPs (members of the European Parliament) is based on the principle of degressive proportionality, which means the number of MEPs from larger countries will be larger than the number of MEPs from smaller countries. This number is agreed upon before the elections and aligns with certain regulations. For example, countries such as Germany: 96, France: 81, and Italy: 76 will have more MEPs than countries such as Cyprus: 6, Luxembourg: 6, and Malta: 6. This is important, but why? Through the example of Germany, one can understand the importance of this better. In Germany, the results yielded mainly right-wing members who will be in the parliament for the upcoming cycle. AFD gained 6 more seats -apparently, lowering the voting age to 16 worked in their favor- which puts them second to the alliance of CDU/CSU.  Thus, out of 96 German MEPs that will be sent to the EU Parliament, more than 50 are right-wing. To put this into perspective, the number of right-wing MEPs sent by Germany is about the same number as all the MEPs sent from the Netherlands and Belgium combined. This means changes in immigration policies are probable. On top of this, the Green Party has seen a significant loss, which can also cause changes around the green initiatives.

            Environmentally, the European Union has been a leader in global climate policy. The EU's stance on climate change and green initiatives can drive global environmental policies, set standards, and have a more significant international influence. Thus, when the EU adopts strict environmental regulations, such as "The Green Deal," it can drive global industries to adopt cleaner technologies, impacting the environment worldwide, even in non-EU countries. It positively affects the air you breathe and the soil you depend on for food. Other than this indirect effect, there are also direct effects of EU politics on the rest of us. One glaring example is within the topic of migration. The EU's policies around migration will affect the lives of millions of people as well as diplomatic relationships. As is evident, a right-wing dominated European Parliament may result in stricter and less humane immigration policies. The EU’s approach to handling asylum seekers and refugees can make their lives harder. The treatment of refugees and migrants by the EU can either uphold human rights standards or contribute to their deterioration, depending on the policies enacted by the European Parliament. Changes in EU immigration policies can affect the social and economic integration of migrants in host countries, influencing their quality of life and ability to contribute to their new communities. Additionally, the EU’s stance on migration can influence its foreign aid and development policies. Thus, it might be harder for you if you want to go somewhere in the EU to work, study, or live. Thus, it is safe to say that EU elections are not just a matter of regional interest, they are also of global importance. The decisions made by the European Parliament affect international relations, global policies, and citizens.

            Thus, as the European Union continues to play a pivotal role in shaping global policies on trade, environment, security, and human rights, its elections and the resulting political shifts will undoubtedly influence the international community and impact lives worldwide.  The outcome of these elections could lead to changes in trade agreements, affecting tariffs, market access, and economic policies. By recognizing the interconnectedness of our global society we can better appreciate the significance of these elections and their impact on the international community.





de Castro, Ricardo Borges. "Europe in the world in 2024: From voting to geopolitics." (2024).

“Elections and appointments - institutions | European Union.” European Union,  european-union.europa.eu/institutions-law-budget/leadership/elections-and-appointments_en