During the last weekend, from Friday 23rd to Sunday 26th May, the citizens of the 28 Member States of the European Union voted for the renewal of the European Parliament.
The 2019 European elections are characterized by a tough electoral campaign based mainly on issues such as immigration, nationalism and Euroscepticism. This has led most polls and journalists to consider Eurosceptic and far-right parties as favourites, especially even considering the results of recent elections in most EU member countries where these parties or are part of the coalition at government or they represent the main opposition. Even the Brexit factor, which has not yet occurred, has certainly influenced the European Eurosceptic electorate.
According to the results, the PPE party will have the highest number of seats in the Parliament, followed by the S&D party, but they don’t reach the majority that would allow them to rule the Parliament. PPE has 180 seats and S&D has 145 seats, in the last elections in 2014 they had 221 and 191 seats. In the majority of the countries the turnout increases especially in Belgium where 88.47% of those eligible participated in the vote.
The Eurosceptic and populist right is gaining seats, but it does not have the success that polls were expecting before the vote. It gains seats especially in Italy with Lega (28) and Fratelli d’Italia (5), Poland with Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (23), France with Rassemblement National (22), Germany with AfD (11), United Kingdom with Brexit Party (29), Estonia with Eesti Reformierakond, Spain with VOX (3), Greece with the neo-Nazi party Albadorata (2) the Czech Republic with SPD (2) and Belgium with Vlaams Belangs (3).
The Green party, perhaps thanks to the “Greta Thunberg effect”, gains seats in almost all EU countries, with the exception of Sweden, Latvia, Hungary and Slovenia.
The exploit of the ALDE party, which exceeds 100 seats in the European Parliament, puts an end to the bipolarity between the PPE and the S&D and marks the beginning of a multi-party system that sees it among the main protagonists.
In Eastern Europe countries, the Eurosceptics parties gain seats in many countries and in some countries as Latvia, Romania, Croatia and Greece the ruling parties have lost many votes in favour of the opposition parties. The Green doesn’t take seats.
What future for the EU?
The future of the European Union is uncertain. The lack of majority with the union between PPE and S&D, will force the two parties to create an even bigger coalition either with the liberals of ALDE or with the Greens.
The considerable increase of eurosceptic parties and the entry of other Eurosceptic MEP and extreme right in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, will force the European institutions to review EU policies especially in the field of European integration, finance and immigration.
The increase in the seats of the Greens underlines how in Europe the awareness towards important issues such as climate change has increased and how European citizens want these issues to be treated urgently in the EU institutions and they want the EU to find real solutions to the problem.
Over the next five years, the EU will face major challenges that will be crucial to its survival, its development and the political situation of the entire continent.