30 März 2023

European Parliament seat projection (March 2023): EPP lead over S&D is shrinking

By Manuel Müller

EP today3872144101176646446
Feb. 2350421359616878653734
March 2344421379416278683842
Baseline scenario,
as of 27/03/2023.

Dynamic scenario,
as of 27/03/2023.

Fourteen months before the 2024 European elections, the EU’s second-largest member state France is gripped by strikes and demonstrations against the centrist-liberal government. The protests were triggered by a national issue – the controversial pension reform – and there is no sign that they will spread to other countries. Nevertheless, they are reflected in the seat projection for the European Parliament.

If the European elections were held now, the liberal RE group, which includes the French governing party Ensemble, would fare worse than in the last projection at the beginning of February. Conversely, the far-right ID group would make strong inroads, mainly thanks to the gains of its French member, Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN). After the German CDU/CSU (EPP) and the Italian FdI (ECR), the RN would again be the third largest single national party in the European Parliament.

At the same time, the race for first place is becoming a little more exciting: the lead of the European People’s Party (EPP) over its Socialist and Democrat (S&D) rivals is shrinking a little, to just 25 seats in the baseline scenario (–8 compared to the February forecast). While it would be premature to speak of a neck-and-neck race, the gap is certainly narrower than at the last European elections.

EPP on a one-year low

Looking at the groups in detail, both the EPP and the S&D show mixed trends depending on the member state. The EPP is losing slightly in France and Lithuania, and several smaller member parties from Central and Eastern European countries (UDMR from Romania, KDU-ČSL from Czechia, OĽANO from Slovakia and N.Si from Slovenia) would now narrowly miss entering Parliament. On the other hand, the conservatives made small gains in Sweden and Malta.

All in all, the EPP now stands at 162 seats (–6) in the baseline scenario, its worst result for about a year. The weakening poll numbers raise the question of how hard the EPP should try to attract new parties to defend its place as the largest group after the European elections. Therefore, EPP leader Manfred Weber’s (CSU/EPP) attempts at rapprochement with the Italian government party FdI (ECR) earlier this year caused some controversy. At the beginning of February, Markus Söder, Bavarian Prime Minister and leader of Weber’s national party, the CSU, explicitly denied rumours that FdI might joint the EPP.

By comparison, the BBB, a Dutch agrarian-conservative party founded only in 2019, has received much less public attention. But after its recent landslide victory in the national provincial elections, it too could become an interesting recruitment target for the EPP. The catch is that the BBB owes much of its current success to its role as a populist protest party – including against EU-mandated limits on nitrogen emissions. Two years after the departure of Hungary’s Fidesz, the EPP is once again facing the question of how far it should open up to (right-wing) populist parties of various stripes, or leave them to the right-wing ID and ECR.

S&D gains in Southern Europe

Meanwhile, the social-democratic S&D group has benefited from developments in southern Europe in the last weeks: in Italy, the victory of charismatic left-wing activist Elly Schlein in the PD leadership election led to a surge in the polls; in Spain, a failed no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez gave a boost to the governing PSOE. The social democrats also made small gains in the Netherlands and Estonia. Some other S&D gains in the seat projection are of a purely technical nature: Slovakia’s Hlas-SD is now counted as part of the S&D group not only in the dynamic, but also in the baseline scenario.

In other countries – such as Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Malta – S&D member parties have performed slightly worse in recent weeks than at the beginning of February. All in all, the S&D group therefore made only a small gain in the baseline scenario (137 seats/+2).

Setbacks for RE

For the centrist-liberal RE group, the last weeks have brought setbacks in several large member states: Both the French protests over the pension reform and the Dutch farmers’ protests over nitrogen rules are directed against liberal governments and dragging the respective RE parties down in the polls. Also in Italy, the liberal alliance Azione/Italia Viva, led by ex-prime minister Matteo Renzi, has suffered losses, at least in the short term, to a resurgent PD (contrary to Renzi’s own expectations, who described the PD's leftward shift under Elly Schlein as the “best possible result” to distinguish himself in the political centre).

Meanwhile, the Liberals have made small gains in Romania and Bulgaria. Moreover, the Danish Moderaterne are now counted as part of the RE group also in the baseline projection, having recently won their first MEP (resulting from a defection from Venstre, another Danish RE member party). Nevertheless, this still leaves the RE with only 94 seats (–2), one of its worst projections in this legislature.

Greens stagnate, Left loses ground

There are also slight losses on the left of the political spectrum. The Greens/EFA stagnate at 42 seats (±0) in the baseline projection. This is partly due to Germany, where the Greens have been on a slow downward trend since last autumn, and Sweden, where they have now slipped back below the national 4% threshold. Only the Lithuanian LVŽS has recently made gains in the polls.

Further gains for the Greens/EFA result from small corrections in the calculation of the seat projection: Firstly, the Latvian Progresīvie (which joined the European Green Party last summer) is now also allocated to the Greens/EFA group in the baseline scenario. Secondly, the projection now takes into account the likely candidacy of a candidate of the Catalan green party Catalunya en Comú on the list of Unidas Podemos (Left).

For the Left, the losses are even more pronounced than for the Greens. Neither in France nor in the Netherlands can their member parties benefit from the protests against the government; in fact, they are losing seats slightly compared with the February forecast. In Belgium and Portugal, too, left-wing parties have recently performed weaker than before. All in all, the Left group now falls back to only 44 seats (–6), its worst projection in the entire electoral cycle.

Right-wing groups on the rise

On the right side of the Parliament, the right-wing ECR group is also treading water. Its Romanian member party AUR has recently made strong gains, but given the volatility and low reliability of many Romanian polls, this should not be overestimated. The Czech ODS also made small gains. In the Netherlands, on the other hand, all right-wing parties have lost to the populist newcomer BBB, and the Christian-conservative SGP is now unlikely to win any seats in the European Parliament. Overall, the ECR group thus remains at 78 seats (±0).

In the far-right ID group, strong gains were made by the French RN in particular, but also the German AfD and the Portuguese Chega continued their upward trend of recent months. On the other hand, the Estonian EKRE lost significant support during the campaign for the national parliamentary elections in early March, and also the ID member parties from Czechia, SPD, and the Netherlands, PVV, slipped in the polls. With a total of 68 seats (+4), the ID parliamentary group nevertheless recorded its best result since the end of 2021.

In the dynamic scenario, which takes into account possible new group members after the European elections, the ID obtains even 84 seats and is ahead of the ECR group (81) for the first time in a long while. However, this assumes that the Hungarian ruling party, Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz, joins the ID after the elections – which is plausible but by no means certain.

Significant gains for ‘other’ parties

Among the non-attached parties, the left-wing populist M5S from Italy records slight losses, while the Slovak far-right party Republika made inroads. In total, the non-attached parties now stand at 38 seats (+1).

Finally, there has been a significant increase among the ‘other’ parties, which are not currently represented in the European Parliament and don’t belong to any party at the European level. In addition to the Dutch BBB, also the French centre-left alliance PRG/FGR made strong inroads and could now pass the national 5% threshold for the first time.

Also new to the table are the Hungarian satirical party MKKP and the Greek far-right party EK. The latter was founded in 2020 by the former party spokesman of the neo-fascist Chrysi Avgi (XA), who – like the rest of the XA leadership – is currently serving a prison sentence for forming a criminal organisation. Whether EK will actually be on the ballot in the next European elections in Greece is uncertain, however: Its participation in the upcoming national parliamentary elections was recently banned by the Greek government.

In total, the ‘other’ parties now account for 42 seats (+8) – almost six per cent of the total number of seats in the European Parliament. In terms of ideology, the newcomers represent a colourful spectrum of left, liberal, conservative and far-right parties. The composition of the Parliament after the next European elections will largely depend on which political groups manage to win them over.

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 today3872144101176646446
Feb. 2350421359616878653734
March 2344421379416278683842

DE 5 Linke 16 Grüne
1 Piraten
1 Volt
19 SPD 6 FDP
2 FW
27 Union
1 Familie

14 AfD 2 Partei 1 Tier
FR 8 LFI 5 EELV 6 PS 20 Ens 9 LR
23 RN 4 Rec 4 PRG-FGR

16 PD 5 Az-IV 7 FI
25 FdI 8 Lega 14 M5S
1 Bildu
1 CatComú
18 PSOE 1 Cʼs
20 PP 9 Vox
1 JxC 1 MP

4 Lewica 4 PL2050
16 KO
3 KP
20 PiS

5 Konf

12 PSD 4 USR 9 PNL

NL 2 PvdD
1 SP
3 GL
3 PvdA 6 VVD
2 D66
1 CU
1 JA21
EL 7 Syriza
8 ND 1 EL
1 KKE 1 MeRA25
1 EK
BE 2 PTB 1 Groen
1 Ecolo
2 Vooruit
2 PS
2 MR
1 CD&V
1 LE
3 N-VA 4 VB


7 PS 2 IL 7 PSD
4 CH

2 Piráti

1 TOP09

4 DK

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

2 Grüne 5 SPÖ 2 Neos 4 ÖVP



3 V
DK 1 Enhl. 2 SF 4 S 2 V
2 LA
1 M
1 K

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


3 Hlas-SD
3 Smer-SSD
1 PS 1 D
1 SaS 1 SR 3 REP

3 FF 4 FG



1 Možemo
1 Most
1 DP

1 Prog

2 JV
1 NA

1 S!

1 SD 4 GS 3 SDS


1 SDE 3 RE
1 KE

1 E200


1 Gréng


3 PL
3 PN

Development (baseline scenario)

27/03/2023 44 42 137 94 162 78 68 38 42
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: UP (1-2, from 4), CatComú (3); 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); Slovakia: PS (1) and D (2).
In France, several centre-left parties (LFI, PS, EELV, PCF) have joined forces to form the electoral alliance NUPES for the 2022 national parliamentary election. However, it is unlikely that this alliance will last in the next European election. In the projection, therefore, the poll ratings or electoral results of the alliance are divided among the individual parties according to the ratio of the average poll ratings of the parties in the most recent polls that showed them individually.
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, 10-23/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
France: national polls, 21/3/2023, source: Wikipedia; for the distribution among the member parties of the electoral alliance NUPES: national polls, 4/11/2022, source: Wikipedia.
Italy: national polls, 11-23/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Spain: national polls, 11-24/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Poland: national polls, 13-25/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Romania: national polls, 19/2-3/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Netherlands: national polls, 26-27/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Greece: national polls, 7-20/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Belgium, French-speaking community: regional polls (Wallonia) for the national parliamentary election, 29/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Belgium, Dutch-speaking community: regional polls (Flanders) for the national parliamentary election,29/1/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Belgium, German-speaking community: European election results, 26/5/2019.
Portugal: national polls, 15/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Czechia: national polls, 3-7/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Hungary: national polls, 8-16/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Sweden: national polls, 6-16/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Austria: national polls, 9-11/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Bulgaria: national polls, 12-22/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Denmark: national polls, 13-19/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Finland: national polls, 23/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Slovakia: national polls, 12-22/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Ireland: national polls, 14-22/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Croatia: national polls, 20-24/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Lithuania: national polls, 18-28/2/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Latvia: national polls, January 2023, source: Wikipedia.
Slovenia: national polls, 15-23/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Estonia: national polls, 17-20/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Cyprus: First round results of the national presidency election, 5/2/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Luxembourg: national polls, 28/11/2022, source: Wikipedia.
Malta: national polls, 10-16/3/2023, source: Wikipedia.

Pictures: All graphs: Manuel Müller.

4 Kommentare:

  1. Les couleurs en dehors du bleu, jaune, rouge et vert sont peu visibles et pretent a confusion

  2. Le probleme est le peu de difference entre le bleu clair et le brun.
    Bien cordialement

  3. Hallo nochmal lieber Herr Müller,

    Entschuldigen Sie die Störung, aber ich verstehe den NI-Abfall von 38 auf 35 in der dynamischen Version nicht.

    Vielen Dank für deine Antwort.
    Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

    Gerald Orlow-Andersen

    1. Manuel Müller17/4/23 15:03

      Im dynamischen Szenario kommen 9 "sonstige" MdEP (5 Konf, 1 EK, 2 MHM, 1 MKKP) zu den fraktionslosen Abgeordneten hinzu, 12 MdEP (Fidesz) treten der ID-Fraktion bei. Unter dem Strich sinkt dadurch die Zahl der Fraktionslosen um 3.


Kommentare sind hier herzlich willkommen und werden nach der Sichtung freigeschaltet. Auch wenn anonyme Kommentare technisch möglich sind, ist es für eine offene Diskussion hilfreich, wenn Sie Ihre Beiträge mit Ihrem Namen kennzeichnen. Um einen interessanten Gedankenaustausch zu ermöglichen, sollten sich Kommentare außerdem unmittelbar auf den Artikel beziehen und möglichst auf dessen Argumentation eingehen. Bitte haben Sie Verständnis, dass Meinungsäußerungen ohne einen klaren inhaltlichen Bezug zum Artikel hier in der Regel nicht veröffentlicht werden.