15 September 2023

European Parliament seat projection (September 2023): Socialists are catching up

By Manuel Müller

EP today 3772143101176666149
July 23 41481369416079703641
Sept. 23 42+146144+390+1157+57772+235+141+2
dynamic 44+150144+395+1165+689+187+231+1
Baseline scenario,
as of 19/09/2023.
(Bar and pie charts correspond to the 720-seat projection.)

Dynamic scenario,
as of 19/09/2023.
(Bar and pie charts correspond to the 720-seat projection.)

Will she run or will she not? On Wednesday, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (CDU/EPP) gave her fourth and final State of the European Union address of this parliamentary term. She even briefly touched the European elections at the beginning of her speech. But as had been expected, she didn’t answer the question on the minds of most European political observers. Whether or not von der Leyen intends to be the European People’s Party’s lead candidate for a second term in the Berlaymont is something we will not know until later this year.

But even if von der Leyen does run, it is looking less and less certain whether the EPP will actually win the election so that she can keep her job. According to the latest polls, the EPP is still the strongest force in the EU, but its lead in the seat projection over the social-democratic S&D group has shrunk to one of the lowest levels of the entire legislature. The only time it was closer was in the winter of 2021/22.

On the other hand, it is also uncertain who the European Socialists will put forward. Some of the most plausible potential lead candidates have signalled in recent weeks that they have other plans: Pedro Sánchez (PSOE/PES) is fighting to remain prime minister of Spain, Frans Timmermans (PvdA/PES) has left Brussels to become his party’s national leader in the Dutch general election in November, and Sanna Marin (SDP/PES) has retired from active politics for the time being. So there should be plenty to talk about at the European Socialists’ congress in Málaga in November.

Fifteen additional seats

But back to the seat projection, where there has also been a technical change: This week, the European Parliament approved a Council proposal to redistribute the national seat quotas in the European elections. Art. 14 (2) TEU prescribes a “degressive proportionality” for these seat quotas: Large states have more seats than small states, but small states have more seats per inhabitant than large states. As the population of some countries has changed, the quotas have to be adjusted.

However, as no member state wants to give up some of its own seats, the Council agreed to increase the total number of spots in the Parliament. From 2024 on, there will therefore be 720 MEPs instead of 705, with France, Spain and the Netherlands gaining two seats each and nine other countries gaining one seat each. A decision by the European Council is still needed for these changes to come into force, but this is considered a mere formality.

Consequently, the seat projection will also be based on a 720-seats Parliament from now on. To make the changes easier to follow, both figures are given in today’s edition. Among the parties, it’s the EPP who benefits most from the new seats in the projection: It gains five MEPs, the S&D three, the right-wing ID and the “other” parties two each, and the liberal RE, the Left group, and the non-attached parties one each. However, this effect is not systematic – with only slightly different poll results, the distribution could look quite different.

EPP in decline

In detail, the EPP now stands at 157 seats in the baseline projection (–⁠3 compared to the last projection of mid-July / new composition with 720 seats: 162), its worst figure in over a year. The centre-right is slightly down in the polls in France, Sweden, Finland and Austria, among others, and the venerable Dutch CDA would no longer be represented in the European Parliament at all. In other countries, however, such as Portugal and Lithuania, the EPP’s member parties are showing a slight upward trend.

Still, most of these recent developments are only due to minor fluctuations in national polls. Perhaps more problematic for the EPP than its losses in recent weeks is the fact that it has not been able to reverse the slow decline it has been experiencing since the beginning of the year.

S&D with significant gains

The social-democratic S&D group, on the other hand, has recently made significant gains and would now win 144 seats (+8 / new: 147). While the German SPD remains weak, the Spanish PSOE, the Portuguese PS, the Finnish SDP and the Lithuanian LSDP, among others, could all make improve their standing. In the Czech Republic, SOCDEM (formerly known as ČSSD) could narrowly cross the national five per cent threshold for the first time in a long while.

All in all, this is one of the best seat projections for the European Socialists in this parliamentary term. If they achieve the same result in the 2024 election, they would slightly increase their number of seats compared to the current Parliament – not a matter of course for a party that has lost ground in almost every European election since 1994.

Liberals divided in Italy

Meanwhile, the liberal RE group suffers significant losses, dropping to 90 seats (–⁠4 / new: 91) – its worst result in over three years. While both Finland’s Keskusta and French President Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble have made slight gains, the German FDP and the Czech ANO, among others, are performing slightly worse now than in July. But again, these are only minor fluctuations in the polls.

More relevant are the developments in Italy, where two small centre parties, Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva and Carlo Calenda’s Azione, had a rapprochement in the spring but have now fallen out again. Although the RE leadership is apparently trying to bring the parties back together, it now seems likely that they will contest the European elections on separate lists – and that both may then fail to clear the national four per cent threshold. Only an electoral alliance between Azione and Più Europa, a third small centrist party, is still on the cards. This alliance would probably be strong enough to enter the Parliament and win at least a handful of seats.

Greens somewhat weaker

The Greens/EFA group also suffered some setbacks, particularly in Germany and France. In addition, the Dutch Volt, the Portuguese PAN and the Luxembourg Piratepartei now all fall just short of the threshold needed to enter the Parliament. Conversely, the Swedish MP would again pass the national four per cent threshold, the Lithuanian LVŽS has stabilised and the Latvian Progresīvie are now the second largest force in their country. All in all, the Greens/EFA stand at 46 seats (–⁠2 / new: 46).

After significant losses in the July projection, the Left group is now recovering some support in Germany and France, but declining further in Portugal. In total, it would now win 42 seats (+⁠1 / new: 43).

ECR and ID almost neck-and-neck

On the right of the political spectrum, the ECR group takes a hit and goes down to 77 seats (–⁠2 / future: 77). While Poland’s PiS is gaining in the polls and Italy’s FdI is benefiting from the Liberals’ disunity, several other member parties are struggling: Spain’s Vox is riven by internal conflicts after its poor showing in July’s national election, the Finnish PS’s racism scandals are dragging them down in the polls, and the Dutch JA21 has lost its voters to other, more dynamic right-wing parties and wouldn’t enter the European Parliament any more.

Even further to the right, however, the ID group is able to continue its upward trend, especially due to the continued strong performance of the German AfD, and now stands at 72 seats (+2 / new: 74). The race for fourth place in the Parliament – and for dominance of the spectrum to the right of the EPP – is thus becoming even tighter.

Newcomer from the Netherlands

There is little news for the non-attached MEPs, who remain unchanged at 36 seats (±⁠0 / new: 37). While the Lithuanian DP falls below the national five per cent threshold, Hungary’s Jobbik would now have a chance of winning a seat again. The expansion of the Spanish seat quota could also bring the Catalan separatist party Junts back into the Parliament.

The “other” parties, which are currently not represented in Parliament and cannot be clearly assigned to a parliamentary group, see some more movement (41 seats / ±⁠0 / new: 43). Among them, the far-right parties Konfederacja from Poland and Vazrashdane from Bulgaria are performing somewhat weaker than in July, while populist ITN from Bulgaria is back on track to win a seat in the Parliament.

The biggest change, however, has been taking place in the Netherlands, where the agrarian populist BBB has plummeted in the polls. At the same time, the centre-right NSC party led by Pieter Omtzigt has entered the scene – a spin-off from the Christian Democratic CDA that was only founded this August and could emerge as the strongest force in the national parliamentary elections in November.

In the dynamic scenario, the EPP is slightly stronger

These changes also affect the dynamic scenario, in which the “other” parties are each assigned to one of the existing parliamentary groups, and possible group changes of other national parties are also taken into account. Since Pieter Omtzigt’s NSC effectively takes the CDA’s place in the Dutch party system, it seems very plausible that it would join the EPP. The BBB, on the other hand, has recently toughened its Euroscepticism, moving closer to the ECR group.

As a result, the EPP’s lead over the S&D is somewhat more comfortable in the dynamic scenario (21 seats / new: 24) than in the baseline scenario (13 seats / new: 15). However, when it comes to the question of which lead candidate will be considered legitimate for the first chance at the Commission presidency, the impression on election night plays an important role. If the EPP were to become the largest group in the Parliament only a few days or weeks after the election as a result of the accession of new member parties, this would hardly help its claim to leadership.

The group should therefore take care that the gap between the baseline and the dynamic scenario doesn’t become too large. Also for the sake of transparency, it would be preferable to announce the accession of new parties before, not after the European elections.

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 each national party is attributed to its current parliamentary group (or to the parliamentary group of their European political party) and parties without a clear attribution are labelled as “other”.

In contrast, the dynamic scenario of the seat projection assigns each “other” party to the parliamentary group to which it is politically closest, and also takes into account other possible future group changes of individual national parties. In the table, the changes in the dynamic scenario compared to the baseline scenario are indicated by a coloured font and a mouseover text.

The fifteen additional seats are indicated by superscript numbers. For example, the figure 20+1 for the Spanish PSOE means that in the projection the party wins 20 out of 705 seats, and 21 out of 720.

In the absence of pan-European election 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. For more information on European parties and political groups in the European Parliament, click here.

EP today 3772143101176666149
July 23 41481369416079703641
Sept. 23 42+146144+390+1157+57772+235+141+2
dynamic 44+150144+395+1165+689+187+231+1

DE 5 Linke 13 Grüne
1 Piraten
1 Volt
16 SPD 6 FDP
2 FW
26 Union
1 Familie

21 AfD 2 Partei 1 Tier
FR 8 LFI 7 EELV 8 PS 20+1 Ens 7 LR
23+1 RN 6 Rec


17 PD 5 Az-+EU 7 FI
25 FdI 8 Lega 14 M5S
ES 5 Sumar
1 Bildu
3 Sumar
20+1 PSOE
22 PP 7 Vox
0+1 Junts


5 Lewica 2 PL2050
16+1 KO
2 KP
21 PiS

6 Konf

13 PSD 4 USR 7 PNL

NL 2 PvdD 3 GL 3 PvdA 6 VVD
2 D66

7+1 NSC
3+1 BBB
BE 3 PTB 1 Groen
1 Ecolo
2 Vooruit
2 PS
2 MR
1 CD&V
1 LE
3 N-VA 3+1 VB

3 Piráti
1 TOP09
EL 4 Syriza
9 ND 1 EL
2 KKE 1 PE
1 Spart

4 DK

10 Fidesz

1 Jobbik
7 PS 2 IL 7 PSD
3 CH

SE 2 V 1 MP 9 S 1 C
4 M
4 SD

2 Grüne 5 SPÖ 2 Neos 4+1 ÖVP



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

1 DD

3+1 Smer-SSD
2 Hlas-SD
2 PS 1 D
FI 1 Vas 1 Vihreät 4 SDP 2 Kesk 3+1 Kok 3 PS

IE 6+1 SF

3 FF 4 FG



2 Možemo
1 Most
1 DP

2 Prog

2+1 JV
1 NA

1 S!

1 SD 4 GS 3+1 SDS


1 SDE 2 RE
1 KE
1 Isamaa



1 Gréng 2 LSAP 1 DP 2 CSV


3 PL
3 PN

Development (baseline scenario)

11/09/2023 42+1 46 144+3 90+1 157+5 77 72+2 36+1 41+2
17/07/2023 41 48 136 94 160 79 70 36 41
22/05/2023 49 50 137 92 162 79 67 33 36
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. Until September 2023, the seat projection is based on 705 seats, thereafter on 720 seats. In the figures for September 2023, the transition is marked by superscript numbers.
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 “other” 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. After the European election, they would therefore have to win over additional MEPs 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 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: ERC (1, 3-4), Bildu (2) and BNG (5); PNV (1) and CC (2); Poland: PL2050 (1, 3, 5 etc.) and KP (2, 4, 6 etc.); Netherlands: GL (1, 3, 5 etc.) and PvdA (2, 4, 6 etc.); Hungary: Fidesz (1-6, from 8) and KDNP (7); Slovakia: PS (1) and D (2). Moreover, it is assumed that among the members of the Spanish political alliance Sumar, two thirds will join the Left and one third will join the Greens/EFA group.
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, 31/8-11/9/2023, source: Wikipedia.
France: European election polls, 19-31/8/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Italy: national polls, 24/8-4/9/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Spain: national polls, 28/8-9/9/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Poland: national polls, 23/8-5/9/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Romania: national polls, 31/8/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Netherlands: national polls, 24/8-9/9/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Greece: results of the national parliamentary election, 25/6/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Belgium, Dutch-speaking community: regional polls (Flanders) for the national parliamentary election, 6/6/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Belgium, French-speaking community: regional polls (Wallonia) for the national parliamentary election, 6/6/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Belgium, German-speaking community: results of the European election, 26/5/2019.
Portugal: national polls, 11/8/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Czech Republic: national polls, 8/8/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Hungary: national polls, 29/8/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Sweden: national polls, 20/8-3/9/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Austria: national polls, 31/8/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Bulgaria: national polls, 18/8/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Denmark: national polls, 23/8-3/9/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Finland: national polls, 5/9/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Slovakia: national polls, 31/8-6/9/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Ireland: national polls, 1/9/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Croatia: national polls, 25/8/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Lithuania: national polls, 19-29/7/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Latvia: national polls, July 2023, source: Wikipedia.
Slovenia: national polls, 17-24/8/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Estonia: national polls, 4/9/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Cyprus: first round results of the national presidential election, 5/2/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Luxembourg: national polls, 16/8/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Malta: national polls, 20/7/2023, source: Wikipedia.
Pictures: All graphs: Manuel Müller.

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