Main content

European Elections: Katya Adler Q&A

What do you want to know about the European Elections?

BBC Europe Editor (and Brexitcast presenter) Katya Adler joined Nicky Campbell on BBC Radio 5 Live to answer listeners' questions about the 2019 European Elections.

Click here to listen to the full programme.

(Photo: European Union)

When will we get the results of the election? - Annie in London

Katya says: "We will have to wait until Sunday night to get the results, so even though we go to the polls this Thursday, most of the EU will go to vote on Sunday, and all of the results will be coming out then on Sunday night..

"It won't be until late on Sunday night, it'll be probably 21:00 / 22:00 that we'll be getting the results coming in."

How will Brexit affect populist parties in other countries - are they likely to make gains? - Orhan in Aberdeen

Katya says: "After we held our referendum in June 2016 there was a feeling across the EU that there could be a domino effect... fast-forward to where we are now, and that has gone away.

"If you look at EU-wide polls, the EU has not been this popular since the early 1980's.

"EU citizens don't like the way the EU is run right now - many of them want change, but they don't want to leave...

"Rather than being encouraged by Brexit, they've been put off by Brexit."

Is the UK negotiating team willing to leave without a deal? - Chloe in Epsom, Surrey

Katya says: "Officially, negotiations with the EU are over.

"If Theresa May steps down as prime minister, as predicted this summer, and there's a new Conservative Party leader... they are within their rights to [go back to Brussels to negotiate], because we haven't left yet, we are still a member of the club, but the EU attitude is that the door is shut, they don't want to negotiate any further.

"Will we have a no-deal Brexit? At the moment every [leadership] hopeful inside the Tory party... there is a pressure on them to say 'a no-deal Brexit won't be such a problem'... Many of them privately believe it will be very problematic for the UK and we will definitely take an economic hit..."

"Of course the EU would prefer that the UK had voted to stay, if we leave, the EU would prefer that we leave with a deal... but if that's the way the UK chooses to go, to have a no deal Brexit, the EU would still sit down at a table with the UK to work out a future trade deal.

"But those issues that Parliament can't agree over, the famous backstop for the Irish border, or paying money owed to the EU before we leave, those issues will come back and the EU will probably say 'before we talk about future trade, we want to agree protecting Northern Ireland, and protecting the single market', so that's something similar to the backstop, and 'we want you to pay up your dues that you owed us when you left us as a member'."

"So leaving with a no-deal Brexit doesn't mean you leave those problems aside."

If we do take our seats, and then leave in October, how will the EU reallocate those seats? - Frank in Shipley

Katya says: "Hold on tight to your seat for this one...

"The UK has 73 seats, it's a proportional representation system for the European parliamentary elections, so the bigger your country, the more seats you get.

"When the UK voted to leave, the EU said 'we're going to try and slim down the European Parliament, when the UK goes, we're going to cut the number of seats'...

"They decided to divide those seats out among some existing countries that they felt should have more seats, like Ireland, and also holding some for new countries that are waiting to join the EU."

What happens after the EU Elections?

Katya says: "If and when the UK leaves, and those MEPs do go away from the European Parliament, take for example Ireland, an MEP who got enough votes to take a new seat but couldn't take them because we're still there will simply take their seat in the European Parliament, so they're kind of waiting in the wings for us to go."

"It's very messy, and it's not ideal for anyone - not for the EU, not for the UK."

Are we seeing a rise in Green votes outside of the traditional countries? - Sharon in Lurgan

"The flavour of Green parties varies from country to country... So in Germany, the Green Party has been in national government and is seen kind of, almost like an establishment party.

"In other countries it's a party of protest. So some people are voting for the Green's because they're worried about environmental policies, others because they do worry about the environment but they also want to have a protest vote and not give their vote to the centre left and the centre right...

"So people are looking to the Greens for different reasons, but they do see themselves, ahead of the European Parliamentary elections, as a 'kingmaker'."

If nail polish was political, which colour would be the winner after Thursday? - Kevin in Belfast

Katya says: "I think my nails would have to be multi-coloured, because as Europe editor I wear my various hats, so certain colours for the United Kingdom and others for the rest of the EU, and what it will look like inside the European Parliament."

(Watch the video below for a Katya's full analysis on about how it might all play out)

See more from Brexitcast