03 Februar 2023

European Parliament seat projection (February 2023): The centre-right extends its lead – could there be a majority without the S&D?

By Manuel Müller

EP today3871146102176636445
Dec. 2251441369316679643735
Feb. 2350421359616878653734
Baseline scenario,
as of 01/02/2023.

Dynamic scenario,
as of 01/02/2023.

The 2024 European elections are still well over a year away, but the first pre-election skirmishes are slowly gathering momentum – both among the European Socialists and the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP).

Rumours about Sanna Marin

On the one hand, rumours intensified in January that many in the European Parliament’s socialist S&D group would be happy to see Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP/PES) stand as their leading candidate in the European elections.

And indeed, Marin (whom this blog had on a shortlist of possible leading candidates already a year ago) ticks many boxes: She is young and charismatic, has experience as a head of government, enjoys international recognition for her clear stance on the war in Ukraine – and she could lose her job as prime minister in the Finnish parliamentary election in April, even while her party gains votes. Whether she is really interested in a European career, however, will only become clear after the Finnish election.

Weber brings Metsola into play

On the other hand, EPP leader Manfred Weber (CSU/EPP) himself contributed to the pre-election speculation by mentioning in an interview that both the incumbent Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen (CDU/EPP), and the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola (PN/EPP), would be “excellent leading candidates”.

This statement came as a surprise, as von der Leyen is widely seen as something of a natural candidate for the EPP – should she wish to run for a second term. So far, however, she has avoided declaring herself. With his comment, Weber is thus increasing the pressure on the Commission president (who, of course, only came into office in 2019 because Weber, as the EPP’s leading candidate, failed to secure a majority in the European Parliament for himself).

Rapprochement of EPP and ECR

At the same time, the Maltese Metsola also represents another of Weber’s ambitions: the rapprochement between the EPP and the European Conservatives and Reformists’ Group (ECR), which includes the governing parties of Italy (FdI) and Poland (PiS), among others. An FdI MEP recently described Metsola as a possible “bridge figure” who could credibly represent the “conservative” values shared by both groups.

That Weber is seeking this rapprochement with the ECR may have much to do with his party’s weakness in the European Council: At present, only 9 of the EU’s 27 heads of state or government belong to the EPP, and none in the five largest member states. But cooperation could also give the EPP additional power options in the European Parliament. Consequently, Politico.eu recently raised the question: Could the next Commission president be elected by a centre-right coalition – consisting of the EPP, the ECR, and the liberal Renew Europe (RE) group, without the participation of the S&D?

An EPP – ECR – RE alliance?

To cut a long story short: According to all experience, this is extremely unlikely. The consensus orientation and the “permanent grand coalition” at the European level are so firmly anchored in the political culture and institutional practice of the EU that anything other than an agreement between the three largest groups – EPP, S&D, and RE – for the election of the Commission president is almost impossible.

Looking at the numbers alone, however, a Commission based only on the centre-right alliance would indeed be within the realm of possibility. According to art. 17 (7) TEU, a qualified majority in the European Council and an absolute majority of MEPs are required for the election of the Commission president. In the European Council, the representatives of EPP, ECR and RE would currently fall just short of this quorum, but that could change with the upcoming national elections in Finland and Bulgaria in April.

A centre-right majority

In the European Parliament, on the other hand, the centre-right alliance has lost ground after the 2019 European elections. In the current Parliament, whereas a centre-left alliance of S&D, RE, Greens and Left narrowly achieves an absolute majority (355 out of 705 seats), EPP, RE and ECR – even when voting together – are always in need of supporters from other groups (341 seats).

However, this could be reversed after the 2024 elections: According to the new seat projection for the European Parliament, even in the dynamic scenario (which also takes into account the possible accession of parties not yet represented in the European Parliament), the four centre-left groups together would only have 340 seats. With 357 seats, the EPP, ECR and RE together would have an absolute majority, albeit a narrow one.

Normalisation of the ECR?

As mentioned above, it is very doubtful that this centre-right majority will already be relevant for the election of the Commission president. In the medium term, however, it could still play an important role in the next legislature. The European Parliament makes decisions with majorities that change depending on the issue – and the mere fact that the EPP has an option to build majorities without cooperating with the S&D could shift the political window for possible compromises to the right.

This presupposes, of course, that the rapprochement Weber seeks between the three centre-right groups is politically realistic. One obstacle in this regard is the deep rift between PO (EPP) and PiS (ECR) in Poland. Donald Tusk, Weber’s predecessor as EPP leader and now Poland’s opposition leader, is unlikely to be very happy with his successor’s course. In the RE group, which sees itself as centrist and pro-European, enthusiasm for close cooperation with the ECR is bound to be even more limited.

Nevertheless, it is already clear that debates on the normalisation of the ECR as a major political force will be an important issue for the next European Parliament. Rather than the long-discussed large unified right-wing group with the ID, building a bridge to the EPP could be the way to open the doors to the European establishment for the national-conservative ECR.

Seat projection: Small increase for the EPP

In the current seat projection, the centre-right parties can make slight gains, while the parties to the left of centre fall back somewhat. Overall, however, there are only minor changes compared to the last projection from December 2022.

In the baseline scenario, the EPP group rises to 168 seats (+2). Slight gains in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovenia, among others, are contrasted by losses in Slovakia and Latvia. In almost all cases, however, these represent only minor fluctuations in single polls. Conversely, the S&D fall back to 135 seats (–1). While they made slight gains in Germany and Luxembourg, among others, they have lost ground in Denmark and Portugal.

The main winner of the last weeks is the liberal RE group, which in Denmark and Portugal benefits from the weakening of the socialists. In Slovenia, by contrast, the liberals are slightly down compared to December. In total, RE would now hold 96 seats (+3).

Slight losses for the ECR

The ECR group suffered slight losses (78 seats/–1). Its Italian affiliate, the FdI, has seen the end of its honeymoon after coming to power last autumn and is now suffering its first setback in the polls after more than four years of almost uninterrupted growth. Nevertheless, with 25 seats, Giorgia Meloni’s party would still be the second largest single delegation in the European Parliament – ahead of Emmanuel Macron’s RE (RE) of France and only behind Germany’s CDU/CSU (EPP).

The second right-wing group ID remains almost unchanged (65 seats/+1). Here the Italian Lega is slightly up in the seat projection, but only within the framework of minor polling fluctuations.

Greens a bit weaker

On the left of the political spectrum, the Greens/EFA group suffered slight losses (42 seats/–2). Next to the German Greens, who have dropped to third place behind the social democrats at national level, the Pirate Parties of the Czech Republic and Luxembourg have gone down in the polls – the latter falling back below the threshold required to enter the European Parliament. The Greens are gaining ground only in Denmark, where they are attracting social democratic voters disillusioned with the country’s newly-formed grand coalition.

In the Left group, there are hardly any changes, with only the Spanish UP falling slightly in the polls. All in all, the Left now stands at 50 seats (–1).

Nothing new among the non-attached parties

There are no changes at all among the non-attached parties compared to the last seat projection in December (37 seats/±0).

A little more movement can be seen among the “other” parties, which are currently not represented in the European Parliament and do not belong to any European party. The right-wing populist Konfederacja from Poland and the conservative Most from Croatia make small gains in the seat projection, but these are due to only marginal changes in the polls. On the other hand, there are slight losses for the left-green Možemo from Croatia and the small right-wing parties BV from Bulgaria and LT from Lithuania, both of which would no longer enter the European Parliament. All in all, the “others” would now have 34 seats (–1).

The overview

The following table breaks down the distribution of seats in the projection by individual national parties. The table follows the baseline scenario, in which national parties are each attributed to their current parliamentary group (or to the parliamentary group of their European political party) and parties without a clear attribution are labelled as “others”.

In contrast, the dynamic scenario of the seat projection assigns all “other” parties to the respective parliamentary group to which they are politically closest, and also includes possible other future group changes of individual national parties. In the table, the changes in the dynamic scenario compared with the baseline scenario are indicated by coloured font and by a note mouseover text.

In the absence of pan-European electoral polls, the projection is based on an aggregation of national polls and election results from all member states. The specific data basis for each country is explained in the small print below the table. More information on the European parties and the political groups in the European Parliament can be found here.

EP today3871146102176636445
Dec. 2251441369316679643735
Feb. 2250421359616878653734

DE 5 Linke 17 Grüne
1 Piraten
1 Volt
19 SPD 6 FDP
2 FW
27 Union
1 Familie

13 AfD 2 Partei 1 Tier
FR 10 LFI 6 EELV 7 PS 23 Ens 10 LR
19 RN 4 Rec

14 PD 6 Az-IV 7 FI
25 FdI 8 Lega 15 M5S
1 Bildu
1 ERC 17 PSOE 1 Cʼs
20 PP 10 Vox
1 JxC 1 MP

4 Lewica 5 PL2050
17 KO
2 KP
20 PiS

4 Konf

14 PSD 3 USR 9 PNL

NL 2 PvdD
2 SP
3 GL
2 PvdA 5 VVD
3 D66
1 CU
2 JA21
EL 7 Syriza
8 ND 1 EL
1 KKE 1 MeRA25
BE 3 PTB 1 Groen
1 Ecolo
2 Vooruit
2 PS
2 MR
1 CD&V
1 LE
3 N-VA 3 VB


7 PS 2 IL 7 PSD
3 CH

2 Piráti

1 TOP09

5 DK

12 Fidesz
SE 2 V 1 MP 8 S 1 C
4 M
1 KD
4 SD

2 Grüne 5 SPÖ 2 Neos 4 ÖVP



4 PP
2 V
DK 1 Enhl. 2 SF 4 S 2 V
2 LA
1 K

1 DD
1 M
FI 1 Vas 1 Vihreät 3 SDP 2 Kesk 4 Kok
3 PS


3 Smer-SSD 1 PS 1 OĽANO
1 Spolu
2 SaS 1 SR 1 REP 3 Hlas-SD

3 FF 4 FG



1 Možemo
2 Most
1 DP


1 AP!
2 JV
1 NA

1 Prog
1 S!

1 SD 3 GS 3 SDS
1 N.Si


3 RE
1 KE

1 E200


1 Gréng


4 PL
2 PN

Development (baseline scenario)

01/02/2023 50 42 135 96 168 78 65 37 34
06/12/2022 51 44 136 93 166 79 64 37 35
12/10/2022 52 42 127 100 169 79 63 35 38
20/08/2022 52 47 134 98 170 75 63 27 39
22/06/2022 54 44 133 101 165 77 64 31 36
25/04/2022 59 39 139 97 157 78 64 38 34
01/03/2022 53 36 139 98 158 78 62 45 36
04/01/2022 51 39 142 99 165 73 62 34 40
08/11/2021 50 42 144 96 155 75 72 36 35
13/09/2021 54 42 141 98 160 70 75 33 32
21/07/2021 52 45 133 97 167 71 74 31 35
24/05/2021 50 50 125 95 167 74 73 33 38
29/03/2021 52 46 136 96 164 71 73 34 33
02/02/2021 52 45 135 94 184 70 71 21 33
09/12/2020 52 47 136 93 188 67 73 20 29
12/10/2020 51 49 127 96 193 67 71 21 30
14/08/2020 50 53 145 88 196 65 64 20 24
25/06/2020 48 55 143 91 203 64 63 20 18
26/04/2020 47 53 151 88 202 66 66 19 13
10/03/2020 51 58 138 88 188 67 82 21 12
09/01/2020 49 58 135 93 186 65 82 24 13
23/11/2019 48 57 138 99 181 62 82 22 16
23/09/2019 49 61 139 108 175 56 82 24 11
30/07/2019 47 64 138 108 180 57 82 22 7
EP 2019 40 68 148 97 187 62 76 27

The “EP 2019” line indicates the distribution of seats as of July 2, 2019, when the European Parliament was constituted following the election in May 2019.
The table shows the values of the baseline scenario without the United Kingdom. An overview of the values including the United Kingdom for the period up to January 2020 can be found here. An overview of older projections from the 2014-2019 electoral period is here.
The full names of the parliamentary groups and of the national parties appear as mouseover text when the mouse pointer is held motionless on the designation in the table for a short time. If a party is attributed to a different parliamentary group in the dynamic scenario than in the baseline scenario, this is also indicated in the mouseover text.

Attribution of national parties to parliamentary groups

Baseline scenario: For the projection, parties that are already represented in the European Parliament are assigned to their current parliamentary group, unless they have explicitly declared that they will change group after the next European election. National parties that are not currently represented in the European Parliament, but belong to a European political party, are attributed to the parliamentary group of that party. In cases where the members of a national electoral list are expected to split up and join different political groups after the election, the projection uses the allocation that seems most plausible in each case (see below). Parties for which the allocation to a specific parliamentary group is unclear are classified as “others” in the baseline scenario.
According to the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, at least 23 MEPs from at least a quarter of the member states are required to form a parliamentary group. Groupings marked with an asterisk (*) would not currently meet these conditions according to the projection. They would therefore have to win over additional MEPs after the European elections in order to be able to constitute themselves as a parliamentary group.
Dynamic scenario: In the dynamic scenario, all “other” parties are assigned to an already existing parliamentary group (or to the group of non-attached members). In addition, the dynamic scenario also takes into account other group changes that appear politically plausible, even if the respective parties have not yet been publicly announced them. To highlight these changes from the baseline scenario, parties that are assigned to a different parliamentary group in the dynamic scenario are marked in the table with the colour of that group; moreover, the name of the group appears in the mouseover text. The attributions in the dynamic scenario are based on a subjective assessment of the political orientation and strategy of the parties and can therefore be quite uncertain in detail. From an overall perspective, however, the dynamic scenario may be closer to the real distribution of seats after the next European election than the baseline scenario.

Data source

If available, the most recent poll of voting intentions for the European Parliament is used to calculate the seat distribution for each country. In case that more than one poll has been published, the average of all polls from the two weeks preceding the most recent poll is calculated, taking into account only the most recent poll from each polling institute. The cut-off date for taking a survey into account is the last day of its fieldwork, if known, otherwise the day of its publication.
For countries where there are no specific European election polls or where the last such poll was taken more than a fortnight ago, the most recent poll available for the national parliamentary election or the average of all polls for the national or European Parliament from the two weeks preceding the most recent poll available is used instead. For countries where there are no recent polls for parliamentary elections, polls for presidential elections may be used instead, with the presidential candidates’ polling figures assigned to their respective parties (this concerns France and Cyprus in particular). For member states for which no recent polls can be found at all, the results of the last national or European elections are used.
As a rule, the national poll results of the parties are directly converted to the total number of seats in the country. For countries where the election is held in regional constituencies without proportional representation (currently Belgium and Ireland), regional polling data is used where available. Where this is not the case, the number of seats is still calculated for each constituency individually, but using the overall national polling data in each case. National electoral thresholds are taken into account in the projection where they exist.
In Belgium, constituencies in the European election correspond to language communities, while polls are usually conducted at the regional level. The projection uses polling data from Wallonia for the French-speaking community and polling data from Flanders for the Dutch-speaking community. For the German-speaking community, it uses the result of the last European election (1 seat for CSP).
In countries where it is common for several parties to run as an electoral alliance on a common list, the projection makes a plausibility assumption about the composition of these lists. In the table, such multi-party lists are usually grouped under the name of the electoral alliance or of its best-known member party. Sometimes, however, the parties of an electoral alliance split up after the election and join different political groups in the European Parliament. In this case, the parties are listed individually and a plausibility assumption is made about the exact distribution of seats on the joint list. This concerns the following parties: Italy: SI (place 1 and 3 on the list) and EV (2, 4); Spain: Más País (1-2), Compromís (3) and Equo (4); ERC (1, 3-4), Bildu (2) and BNG (5); PNV (1) and CC (2); Netherlands: CU (1, 3-4) and SGP (2, 5); Hungary: Fidesz (1-6, from 8) and KDNP (7); Bulgaria: DSB (1-2) and ZD (3); Slovakia: PS (1) and Spolu (2).
Since there is no electoral threshold for European elections in Germany, parties can win a seat in the European Parliament with less than 1 per cent of the vote. Since German polling institutes do not usually report values for very small parties, the projection includes them based on their results at the last European election (2 seats each for PARTEI and FW, 1 seat each for Tierschutzpartei, ödp, Piraten, Volt and Familienpartei). Only if a small party achieves a better value in current polls than in the last European election, the poll rating is used instead.
In Italy, a special rule makes it easier for minority parties to enter the European Parliament. In the projection, the Südtiroler Volkspartei is therefore always listed with its result at the last European election (1 seat).
The following overview lists the data source for each member state. The dates refer to the last day of the fieldwork; if this is not known, to the day of publication of the polls:
Germany: national polls, 19-31/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
France: national polls, 4/11/2022, source: Europe Elects.
Italy: national polls, 22-30/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Spain: national polls, 12-25/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Poland: national polls, 13-23/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Romania: national polls, January 2023, source: Wikipedia.
Netherlands: national polls, 15-16/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Greece: national polls, 13-24/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Belgium, French-speaking community: regional polls (Wallonia) for the national parliamentary election, 29/11/2022, source: Wikipedia.
Belgium, Dutch-speaking community: regional polls (Flanders) for the national parliamentary election, 29/11/2022, source: Wikipedia.
Belgium, German-speaking community: European election results, 26/5/2019.
Portugal: national polls, 11-17/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Czech Republic: national polls, 5/12/2022, source: Wikipedia.
Hungary: national polls, 4.11/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Sweden: national polls, 19-27/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Austria: national polls, 19-26/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Bulgaria: national polls, 8-20/12/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Denmark: national polls, 29/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Finland: national polls, 3-13/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Slovakia: national polls, 16/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Ireland: national polls, 17-25/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Croatia: national polls, 25/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Lithuania: national polls, 15-24/12/2022, source: Wikipedia.
Latvia: national polls, December 2022,  source: Wikipedia.
Slovenia: national polls, 5-12/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Estonia national polls, 23-27/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Cyprus: national presidential election polls, 16-26/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Luxembourg: national polls, 28/11/2022, source: Wikipedia.
Malta: national polls, 1/12/2022, source: Wikipedia.
Images: All graphs: Manuel Müller.

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