Inför EU-valet2009-04-08

EU-valet kommer inte att leda till några stora politiska förändringar, spår den brittiska forskaren Simon Hix i en undersökning som presenteras på en ny, intressant webbplats.

På den nya webbplatsen samlas nationella opinionsundersökningar och resultat från tidigare val till Europaparlamentet.

Det är med andra ord en nyttig och intressant sida för alla som intresserar sig för valet - besök den här:

Sammanställningen av hittills gjorda opinionsundersökningar visar att den konservativa gruppen kommer att behålla sin starka ställning i Europaparlamentet också efter valet i juni.

Eftersom parlamentet efter valet blir mindre - dagens 785 platser blir enligt Nicefördraget 736 - kommer dock många grupper ändå att få färre antal ledamöter än idag.

EPP väntas få 249 platser ( något mindre än dagens 288), socialisterna 209 ( också något mindre än 217 idag), liberalerna 87 ( jämfört med 100 idag).

Inte heller de högerextrema partierna förväntas gå framåt, utan behålla sina nuvarande 45 platser - vilket i och för sig innebär en relativt något starkare position.

Däremot kommer vänstergruppen enligt den här sammanställningen gå framåt, medan den gröna gruppen också kommer att behålla sin nuvarande ställning.

Undersökningen är gjord av en av Europas främsta EU-forskare, professor Simon Hix, statsvetaren vid London School of Economics.

Han tror inte att den ekonomiska krisen kommer att leda till fler platser för socialistblocket - och inte heller till ett uppsving för de EU-kritiska partierna.

"That protest [vote] is going to different parties. Five years ago, it seemed to go more to the anti-Europeans", säger Simon Hix till

"The economic crisis is making this even more of a national election than usual as voters look to their governments and ask ‘how are you going to address this economic crisis?'"

Och EU-observers artikel fortsätter:

" As a whole, the London professor predicted that the "progressive bloc" – in reference to issues such as immigration and the environment - in the parliament would be "slightly bigger" while the economically liberal bloc would be "slightly smaller."

Inside the parliament, the politics between groups and MEPs is to be shaken up however. This is due in part to the fact that the EPP is expected to be "a lot less German and a lot more Polish" something that "may change the colour or nature of politics in the EPP."

Currently, MEPs from the new member states are "marginalised" according to the academic, and do not hold many positions of power in the EU assembly, such as committee chairs.

Another factor shaking up the way the parliament works is the likely formation of a new group, the European Conservatives, by the British Conservatives. It is expected to host the Czech Civic Democrats and some of the parties of the nationalist UEN group, which is not expected to survive after June.

The European Conservatives are expected to be the fourth biggest group in the parliament with 58 seats, followed by the leftist GUE group with 48 seats (up from the current 41), the Greens with 39 seats (down from 43) while the current eurosceptic Independence/Democracy group is also expected to fizzle out after June, getting only 17 seats, less than the threshold needed to form a political group.

Professor Hix, whose research with Professor Michael Marsh from Trinity College Dublin was commissioned by PR firm Burson-Marsteller, admitted that predicting elections is a "pretty mad thing to do" and noted that if the average turnout is much lower than in previous years (it reached a low of 45.47% in 2004) "everything is up for grabs" and his predictions could "change enormously."

A significantly higher turnout, meanwhile, will likely mean governing parties will do better.

The research has already come in for criticism. The UK Independence Party said the figures are "skewed and based on false data" while the Party of Europea Socialists said it was "too early" to make predictions about the vote outcome and insisted its aim is to be the biggest group in the parliament."