Political betting and Ursula von der Leyen's EU mandate (2019-2024)

The European Commission's roadmap for 2019-2024, under Ursula von der Leyen's leadership, aimed to tackle major issues from climate change to digital transformation. But how did her performance affect political betting, and what insights can we gain regarding the upcoming 2024 European Election?

2019-2024 Mandate - Expectations vs Reality

European Green Deal and Climate Initiatives

  1. Initial Commitments: Ursula von der Leyen pledged to position Europe as the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, launching the European Green Deal within her first 100 days. This included proposing a European Climate Law to legally bind the 2050 climate-neutrality target.

  2. Reality Check: Despite ambitious starts, the 2030 emissions reduction targets were missed. Moreover, the expansion of the Emissions Trading System to include maritime sectors and traffic did not materialize as planned, reflecting gaps between initial goals and practical outcomes.

Economic Reforms and Digital Transition

  1. Economic Strategies: The agenda aimed to fortify the EU's economy by enhancing the roles of SMEs, advancing the Capital Markets Union, and establishing a public-private fund for SME IPOs. Additionally, deepening the Economic and Monetary Union and introducing a Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness were prioritized.

  2. Digital Ambitions: Investments were planned in cutting-edge technologies like blockchain and quantum computing, with the development of joint standards for 5G networks.

  3. Implementation Challenges: Progress in both economic and digital spheres has lagged, with significant initiatives like the digital single market strategy facing hurdles, and the ePrivacy Regulation remaining unadopted.

Societal and Security Aspects

  1. Protecting European Values: Initiatives were launched to uphold the rule of law through a comprehensive European Rule of Law Mechanism and to modernize the asylum system with a New Pact on Migration and Asylum.

  2. Security and Education: Efforts to secure borders and reform migration and asylum policies have progressed slowly. Similarly, initiatives in education, culture, youth, and sports have not seen the expected advancements.

  3. Observations: The slow progress in these critical areas highlights a disconnect between ambitious policy declarations and their practical execution, impacting the perception and effectiveness of the EU's governance.

Ursula von der Leyen Leadership and Acceptance Rating

Her Presidency of the European Commission has been marked by a complex web of support and contention among EU leaders and member states. Notably, ambiguous support from France, as led by President Emmanuel Macron, seems to be a strategic move to secure more favorable terms in bilateral dealings.

This cautious stance is mirrored by her own party, the European People's Party (EPP), where support has been described as lukewarm. These dynamics are critical as von der Leyen prepares for a potential second term, facing a European Parliament increasingly influenced by the far-right, which could complicate her confirmation.

Her leadership has also been challenged internally, with notable incidents such as the controversial appointment of Markus Pieper to a lucrative envoy role, sparking rebellion from four top commissioners. This internal dissent within the Commission underscores a period of instability that could affect her standing. Moreover, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into von der Leyen's direct negotiations over vaccine contracts via text messages, a scandal that has not only raised eyebrows but also questioned her decision-making processes.

Von der Leyen's potential re-election poses a significant test, with her party, the European People's Party (EPP), leading polls but facing lukewarm internal support and a challenging confirmation landscape in a European Parliament with a growing far-right influence. The geopolitical stance she has cultivated, focusing on external challenges like the Global Gateway policy and the need for a comprehensive migration pact, continues to shape the EU's political landscape, setting the stage for her legacy and the EU's strategic direction in the coming years.

Impact on Political Betting Markets

Ursula von der Leyen's tenure as European Commission President has notably influenced the political betting markets, particularly during key moments of her leadership. The slow start to her campaign, attributed to her reliance on the advantages of incumbency, and the critical role of the European Parliament in her re-election bid have heightened interest and activity in political betting circles. Here are some of the major impacts observed:

  1. Increased Betting Activity: There has been a notable rise in betting volumes during pivotal periods of von der Leyen's presidency. This includes times surrounding her appointments, policy announcements, and during the intense scrutiny of her leadership capabilities.

  2. Market Sensitivity to Political Moves: Decisions made by von der Leyen, from high-stakes appointments to policy shifts, have led to immediate reactions in the betting markets. For instance, significant volatility was noted during her selection as President and subsequent policy implementations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  3. Correlation with Public Statements and Events: Her public statements, especially during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit negotiations, have shown a direct correlation with shifts in betting odds. This reflects the market's sensitivity to her leadership's perceived stability and effectiveness.

Market analysts have also observed fluctuations in EU political stability betting markets, particularly during rule of law disputes with member states like Poland and Hungary, and during the Brexit negotiations. These events have underscored the interconnectedness of EU politics and betting markets, with each of von der Leyen's moves closely monitored for implications on future EU directives and stability.

Missed Opportunities for Political Betting

During Ursula von der Leyen's time as President of the European Commission, big changes happened in the EU. These could have been great chances for people to bet on politics, but they were often ignored. For example, when COVID-19 first hit, the EU acted fast, but not many people saw this as a good chance to bet on what would happen next. Also, when some countries in the EU didn't follow the rules, like Poland and Hungary, there was a chance for people to bet on what might happen next, but not many did.

The talks about Brexit were another missed chance. At each stage, people could have bet on what would happen, but not many did. This means there were gaps in the betting market.

Conclusion and Future Outlook

During her mandate, Ursula von der Leyen has navigated the European Union through a myriad of challenges, from the COVID-19 pandemic to geopolitical shifts, imprinting her leadership style on the EU's approach to crises and policy-making.

The difference between Ursula von der Leyen's ambitions for the EU, like the European Green Deal and digital changes, and the problems in making them happen, shows how hard it is to lead a group of countries with different needs.

Looking ahead, odds are that the 2024 European Election winning party will have to deal with increased challenges, both global and domestic. These include navigating the environmental and agricultural trade-offs associated with free trade agreements like Mercosur, responding to heightened migratory pressures, addressing Turkey's pursuit of EU membership, and managing the effects of two wars or “special operations”.

The next mandate will not be short of betting opportunities so stay tuned for our upcoming 2024 European Election Odds and overview.

  • Last updated: May 21, 2024
  • Author: Gio