Centrists are poised to emerge as the biggest losers in the EU Elections. The center-right EPP (European People’s Party) and its center-left counterpart the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) will remain the two largest parties in the next EU Parliament, however they will no longer hold the majority. Both parties have sustained considerable losses. The EPP will have 173 seats in the new assembly, down from 216. S&D seats will drop from 185 to 147. The level of support historically held by the centrist bloc has diminished as smaller euroskeptic, and pro-EU parties have enjoyed a surge of support across the continent during this election cycle. The voting results, and projections make it clear that the EU Parliament will be even more fragmented over the next five years.
This weekend’s elections were quite different from the EU Parliament elections of the past. Turnout was over 50% and up seven percent from 2014. Supporters of the European Union, and its detractors both regarded this election as critical to the future of Europe. The biggest surprise, however, seems to be the emergence of the Pro-EU liberals and the Greens. Both parties have suddenly become crucial components to any attempts to create a stable majority.
Although the far-right surge did not materialize as many right-leaning politicians were hoping, inroads were made. Whether or not this election was a referendum on the EU is immaterial, no matter how left-leaning media outlets and politicians in Europe and beyond are claiming today. The more profound takeaway from the elections is the collapse of the political mainstream, and rejection of the ruling parties across the continent. The election results are going to bring consequences to the internal political systems of many European nations. The effects are already being felt from England, to Greece. At mid-week we will look closer at the fallout this election is having for individual EU member-states, and the union as a whole.