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FILE PHOTO: Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni attend a European Union leaders' summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 27, 2024.

REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo

Austrian, Hungarian, and Czech far-right form new EU coalition

What is this, a Hapsburg revival? Right-wingers from the political core of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire announced Sunday they would form a new Russia-leaning alliance in the EU parliament. Austria’s Freedom Party, Hungary’s Fidesz, and the Czech Republic’s Action of Dissatisfied Citizens, aka ANO, have committed, but the “Patriots of Europe” alliance needs at least one MP from four other EU member states to become an official faction, which they seem confident of obtaining.

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Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni welcomes European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at Chigi Palace, in Rome, Italy, January 9, 2023.

REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Unlikely allies: Von der Leyen and Meloni's potential partnership

As the dust settles from last weekend’s EU Parliament elections, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is holding all the cards, and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is preparing to kiss the ring.

The EU undeniably shifted right in the election, with support for Meloni’s right-wing coalition climbing to more than 47%. Meanwhile, for von der Leyen, the center held — but barely. Her coalition of mainstream parties won a narrow 400-seat majority, but with many threatening to defect, so she will need to pull votes from Meloni’s camp to secure the 361 votes she needs to win a second term as commission president on July 18. For Meloni, supporting von der Leyen could further cement her influence in Brussels.

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European Union flags are seen outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels April 12, 2006.

Yves Herman via Reuters

How the EU Parliament elections work

We broke down how voters across the European Union’s 27 member states cast their ballots in European Parliament elections this weekend, but how exactly do these elections work, and why should you care?

The European Parliament is where the European Union writes bloc-wide laws. Members of the European Parliament, or MEPs, selected in this year’s election will determine Europe’s approach to everything from the war in Ukraine and immigration to the green energy transition for the next five years.

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