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Right at the centre

From behind the scenes of the European People’s Party congress, Eleni Courea reports on the hot topics for the political group and what they could mean for research.

On the night of 28 March, a few hours before the European People’s Party congress was due to begin in Malta, the last few blue-suited delegates boarded an airport shuttle bus headed to St Julian’s. They joined hundreds of other conservative MEPs descending on the tiny Maltese fishing village that was about to play host to the EU’s top triumvirate—the presidents of the European Council, the European Commission, and the European Parliament—and a smattering of powerful heads of state.

Now is a good time to be a member of the EPP. This bastion of established European conservatism—whose members include German chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s Partido Popular—holds 216 of 751 seats in the Parliament.

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