Greens on the Rise; Far-Right Not as Strong as Expected in EU Elections

The 2019 European Parliament elections held few surprises overall, with a rise of Green parties, a moderate rise in far-right parties and traditional center parties losing considerable ground.

Europe’s far-right extremists, nationalists and euroskepticists did not have as strong of a showing as expected, but the far-right definitely showed its muscle.

In Germany, Angela Merkel’s CDU and the Social Democrats (SPD) coalition suffered losses, while the Greens gained ground. The extreme rightist party AfD lost power as well.

President Emmanuel Macron of France lost by a small margin to Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National party. Still, Le Pen had been expected to garner many more votes.

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his conservative party came first in Sunday’s EU vote despite a recent scandal involving his far-right coalition partner.

In Spain, it was a convincing win for the ruling Socialist Party of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, which took 33 percent.

The Democratic Rally Party took first place in Cyprus, with 29 percent of the vote, and opposition Communist party Akel came in a close second with 27 percent. Cyprus also made history by voting in its first Turkish Cypriot MEP, academic Niyazi Kizilyurek.

In Denmark, eurosceptic populists the Danish People’s Party (DF) lost almost two-thirds of their votes. Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s Liberal Party overtook the DF to become the largest Danish party in the European Parliament.

Italy’s populist League party, led by nationalist Matteo Salvini, had a clear win in Italy. Stressing his anti-immigration stance, the party leader declared after the plebiscite, “A new Europe is born.”

Likewise in Belgium, the separatist Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) party also made significant gains with its far-right  policies.

In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban with his nationalist party Fidesz won 52 percent of the vote, leading him to term his anti-immigration platform a success.

Similarly in Poland, the ruling conservative, anti-immigration Law and Justice party came out on top with 44 percent.

The newly-formed Brexit Party was the big winner in the elections in the United Kingdom, trouncing both the Conservatives and the Labour Party. Its leader Nigel Farage is now demanding a seat at the Brexit talks.

There was another great upset in Greece, with the conservative opposition New Democracy Party coming out well ahead of the ruling leftist Syriza Party by over 9 percentage points, with the prime minister being forced to call snap elections.

There were no major surprises in the European Parliament elections in the rest of the EU countries.

Spokesperson for the European Commission Margaritis Schinas told CNN that overall, the  European elections results were pro-EU, and the new European Parliament will be a constructive affair.

“It is the pro-EU political forces across the political spectrum that won the day,” she said.

Since July of 2014, there have been 751 seats in the European Parliament.