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The New European Parliament and Its Role in EU Trade Policy: Reset or Repeat?
In May 2019, elections took place to elect Members of the European Parliament (MEP) for the ninth legislature (2019–2024). The elections produced a Parliament with new features. Against a turnout of more than 50%, voters elected a record number of politicians new to the European Parliament and a record number of female MEPs. The elections also marked the first time in the European Parliament’s electoral history that the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) did not win enough votes to form a majority and an obvious new ruling coalition has not yet revealed itself. This chapter will consider whether this new Parliament with these novel features will promote a revised trade policy or whether it will remain as supportive of trade policy as the eighth legislature. This chapter will first look at the formal and informal powers of the European Parliament for each of the instruments that together constitute EU trade policy. It then looks at whether the new legislature is likely to change trade policy by examining three questions: (a) has the new European Parliament gained institutional strength?; (b) has the numerical strength of a trade-friendly coalition changed?; (c) is it likely that new political ideas or priorities within the political groups lead to a revision of their views on trade policy?
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