Centre-right wins most EP seats, but anti-establishment parties score well
BRUSSELS – The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) won the most European Parliament seats, results on Sunday (26 May – 01:29 CEST) showed, but across Europe mainstream parties lost out to anti-establishment parties, with the biggest upset in France.
European Parliament projections gave the EPP 212 of the 751 seats, followed by the centre-left on 186 and the Liberals on 70.
The Greens were on 55, the far-left on 43, the anti-federalist ECR on 44, the eurosceptic EDF on 36, non-attached on 38. There are 67 MEPs from new parties.
But with negotiations still to take place about where the newcomers will sit and whether the eurosceptics or far-right will form a coherent political group in the EP, it could be weeks before the political foundations of the EU are settled.
Several of the groups – including the Liberals and the until-now British Conservative-dominated ECR – predict significant gains for their groups by the end of negotiations in late June.
The size and shape of the political groups affect the amount of money they are allocated, speaking times and ultimately the politics behind the voting in of the next European Commission President, who needs the support of over half all MEPs.
While politicians from the largest political groups noted that the pro-European parties still remained by far in the majority, the results in several member states showed swathes of voters either voting for outright eurosceptic parties or voting for parties that called for change.
France saw the biggest political earthquake. Voters in the founding EU member put the far-right National Front in the lead, beating the governing Socialists into third place.
Across the Channel in the UK, it was Ukip, the anti-EU party, which was celebrating after having scooped the most votes. Leader Nigel Farage noted that his party, previously seen as an “insurgent”, had never topped the polls before.
In Denmark, the upset came via the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party which emerged top beating the Socialist party of Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
Far-right parties came third in Austria, Greece and Hungary. And in Germany, the anti-euro AfD came from nowhere – it was only established last year – to gain seven percent.
In Italy, the anti-establishment Five Star movement, headed up by former comedian Beppe Grillo came in second place. The party has campaigned on taking Italy out of the Euro and giving Italians back their “monetary, economic and cultural sovereignty”.
Source: EU Observer