Eurosceptics, greens and liberals make major gains in EU elections

From Science|Business

Shifting political landscape could cause trouble for big spending programmes like Horizon Europe

By Nicholas Wallace and Éanna Kelly

Centrist parties lost seats to Eurosceptics and environmentalists. Image: Results projection from the European Parliament, last updated 15:38 CET, 27 May

Last updated 15:36 CET, 27 May 2019

A surge in voter turnout across most of Europe saw centre-left and centre-right parties lose scores of European Parliament seats to Eurosceptics and environmentalists, but liberals also made major gains.

Manfred Weber, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) candidate for Commission president, lamented on German television as early voting results arrived that the “the middle, the democratic centre, is weakening in Europe.”

That could make it harder to pass big-package legislation, such as the proposed €94.1 billion Horizon Europe R&D programme. A newly-enlarged Eurosceptic group has vowed to push back against what they see as Brussels largesse. At the same time, a surge in Green parties could complicate legislation over the even-bigger Common Agricultural Policy – which French Green leaders, for instance, have pledge to make more eco-friendly.

For the first time in the history of the European Parliament, the combination of the EPP and the centre-left Socialists & Democrats (S&D) is not expected to constitute a majority of MEPs, though they are expected to remain the two largest groups.

The liberal Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) group is on track to finish third overall – in part because of the decision of French President Emmanuel Macron to throw his En Marche party’s votes in with other liberals.

The loss of the EPP-S&D majority raises the possibility of a new three-way alliance, but also of new rivalries, and complicates the political geometry for anyone wanting more big-package legislation.

In a European Parliament press conference at midnight on 27 May, Weber appeared to cast doubt on the prospect of an alliance with ALDE and instead hinted at cooperation with the Greens, who will be the fourth-largest group. Weber also ruled out cooperation with “extremists from the left and from the right.” On the other hand, Frans Timmermans, the S&D’s lead candidate, talked of a possible “progressive alliance” that would exclude the EPP.

ALDE and Emmanuel Macron have been critical of the so-called Spitzenkandidat process, an informal arrangement whereby the lead candidate of the largest political group – in this case, Weber – goes on to become president of the European Commission. The incumbent Jean-Claude Juncker is the only Commission president to be chosen in this way.

But the most significant results may not be in the who’s up-who’s down outcomes – but rather in the sheer numbers who turned out to vote. Since direct voting for MEPs began in 1979, turnout through most of Europe has slowly dropped – to less than a quarter of registered voters in some countries. Turnout is estimated to be 50.94 per cent, the highest in 25 years, as voters on left and right decided to make their opinions known.

Eurosceptics gain strength

The European Conservatives and Reformists group – which is pro-EU but opposes deeper integration – is projected to drop from third to fourth largest group in the Parliament, greatly diminished by the near-wipeout of British Conservative MEPs.

A new alliance of nationalists and Eurosceptics is projected to come fifth, just one seat behind the ECR.  Though such groups have thus far been a small minority in the European Parliament, support has grown in many countries for anti-immigration parties since the 2014 election, which took place before the 2015 migration crisis.

Italy’s League party, led by deputy premier and interior minister Matteo Salvini, has joined forces with other right-wing groups including Germany’s Alternative for Germany party, France’s National Rally, the Finns Party and the Danish People’s Party to create the European Alliance for People and Nations. The League topped exit polls in Italy.

A second Eurosceptic alliance led by Nigel Farage, the European Freedom and Direct Democracy Group, is projected to be only a few seats smaller than Salvini’s alliance.

An enlarged eurosceptic minority could make its presence felt most strongly in the next legislature, particularly in committees, which have a strong hand in drafting positions for the whole assembly to adopt.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party came first in the UK by a very wide margin, with an estimated 32 per cent of the vote. Britain’s governing Conservatives, meanwhile, are predicted to come fifth, with just nine per cent of the vote, behind the Liberal Democrats on 20 per cent, Labour on 14 per cent, and the Green Party on 12 per cent.

Green wave

The news wasn’t all bad for EU integrationists. In the Netherlands, Eurosceptics in the Forum for Democracy and the Party for Freedom appear to have fared poorly. The pro-EU Labour Party of Frans Timmermans, who hopes to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as Commission president, is projected to win the most seats.

The Greens are riding a wave of concern over climate change, is projected to receive more than 20 per cent of the vote, putting it in second place behind Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU/CSU. The latter’s vote share is projected to have fallen to less than 28 per cent, down from 35 per cent in 2014. The centre-left SPD is projected to have fallen even further, with less than 16 per cent of the vote compared to 27 per cent in 2014.

In Ireland, a swell of votes for the Green Party put it in line to secure two seats, and finish third behind the two main centre parties. The Greens had 52 seats overall in the last EU legislature, making it the fourth biggest political grouping, and are expected now to gain around 10 more of the Parliament’s 751 total seats.

ALDE also made gains in Romania with the rise of the new Save Romania Union, and in the UK, where the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats bounced back after years in the doldrums.

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74 thoughts on “Eurosceptics, greens and liberals make major gains in EU elections

  1. 751 seats?! No wonder the EU is a mess. There shouldn’t be more than about one-tenth of that total.

      • 751 seats for MEP’s. Then there are the translators, security, cleaning staff, cooks etc etc etc etc…trillions of $’s! In a country that has the most extensive lit road network in the whole EU.

        • You’ve missed the costs of moving the whole circus between Brussels & Strasbourg every few months.

          • It is actually once every month, just so the French don’t feel as left out of the decision making process as they actually are. The EU itself estimates the cost at a remarkably low €114m/year, I cannot find a more realistic costing of this fiasco anywhere.

            The Europarl site itself admits “This is a significant amount, though it corresponds to just 6% of Parliament’s budget, or 1% of the EU’s administrative budget or just 0.1% of the entire EU budget.” Of course it fades into insignificance in comparison with the overall waste and corruption within the administration of the EU and the way our money is distributed.

            In terms of “representative democracy” each MEP (in the UK) has a constituency of approximately 850,000. Which is why you will probably have some difficulty finding their constituency office.

    • The EU has 513 million people, the United States 330 million (+/-30 million illegals). I’d say that 435 members of the House and 100 Senators are about right, and that the EU’s 751 is as well. Are either systems right? I know nothing about the EU, but ever since the ratification of the 17th Amendment to the US Constitution (to have Senators elected by popular vote instead of by the several states legislatures), the two-house system in the US has been irreparably broken.

      • Those are good points.

        The question to ask is why are there two Parliament buildings in two different countries with the costs of moving between them twice a year.

        • The French insisted that the European Parliament spend some of the year in Strasbourg, whatever the expense and inconvenience.

      • “The question to ask is why are there two Parliament buildings in two different countries with the costs of moving between them twice a year.”

        These people practically live on the plane.

        They let set up offices and apartments in Brussels.

        To the apartments in Brussels, there will be transported at the expense of taxpayers selected furniture and valuables from freight forwarders.

        After 4 days in Brussels, possibly interrupted by visits to UN or AU talks, they fly to Strasbourg, each one for themselves, after which most, each for themselves, fly to their homeland.

        On Sunday evening, each one of them will fly back to Brussels.

        When they give up their apartment in Brussels, they have their selected furniture and valuables transported back to their home country by freight forwarders and set up there in the preferred apartment.

        Must be exhausting.

        • Don’t you think that life must be much less exhausting when everything you do is paid for with OPM?

        • Peter, shore you know sarkasm.

          – the sarcasm here is you’re using a contribution as staircase.

          Have fun anyway.

        • Sounds like a very CO2 neutral way of life.

          And don’t forget their long holidays to recover from all that moving around.

      • I’ve been advocating increasing the size of the House of Representatives by at least a factor of 10 for years. Each district is so large that it practically mandates all Representatives be professional politicians.

        • II think our House should become functionaries like the electoral college, administering e-petitions for new laws, scheduling votes on them, and voting according to the results of a three-factor authenticated e-democracy vote.

          We have an upper chamber that can do the thinking and elitism, the House however is supposed to be democracy and technology finally facilitates the ultimate expression of it.

      • The EU Parliament doesn’t actually do anything. It has very little actual power and is just a very expensive talking shop. It’s main purpose is to make the proles think that the EU is a democracy.

      • But getting back the topic of accounting for the elections results, I read and hear that the splintering head count, related here, distorts the Truth. Eurosceptic s and nationalist s impacts are large because in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Austria, major anti-immigration or pro-sovereignty policies of the Right have been adopted by traditional center-Right parties. This is also true of Germany and after a fashion, France as well. This important fact that gets denied by purveyors of Fake News.

    • The EU is a Big Brother organisation where We The People no longer count. They took away the power of our vote (EU parliament) and of our money (EU central bank).
      Slavery was never abolished it just changed its appearance but in europe we have even less value and freedom than slaves.

      • You said the truth ! EU is a new USSR. The European parliament is a Rump Parliament who has not the legislature. All the power is in the hands of the Commission and any change of the treaties needs the unanimity of the State Members !
        The results are catastrophic for all european peoples, especially for us, in France, with the 3rd place for the green activists. The stupid green policies will go faster : the Commission will have the support of the greens for its “ecological transition” and the “sustainable development” which is mentioned in the article 3 of the Lisbon Treaty.
        EU means war, not peace , sustaining the NATO’s provocation against Russia even when Europe needs russian gas, aluminium and others commodities ! EU is madness in action !
        Happy British who will leave the EU with “no deal” ! I hope that France will follow the same way. But French people, intoxicated by the euro-green propaganda, don’t understand anything about the EU…

    • They never turn up except to claim the daily allowance and they have no real power. It’s democracy as virtue signalling.

      In theory the worst they can do is block legislation indefinitely – or if they get 100% unanimity, sack the EU commission entirely, which is where all real decisions are taken and policy is made.

      Nevertheless it’s a bellwether of how Europe as a people feel about the EU’s apparatchiks and secretariat.

      The game that is being played out here is how much the people can be fooled, and what, if anything, they can do if they find out they have been.

      Democracy is being taken to new limits, but it may yet still have the teeth to prevent itself being turned entirely into a post communist DINO. The former Eastern bloc countries in particular are in no hurry to re-enter vassalage.

  2. Still another 5 years until the next vote. We need the Eurosceptics to gain an outright majority before we see a return of the Sovereignty Brussels has quietly usurped over the years.

    Can Europe hold out for another 5 years ? Will the EU allow Europe to be overrun between now and 2014? Will it be too late by then to save the Nation States of Europe and their cultures , traditions and heritage.

    • Europe will be fine and is not really interested in the self-destructive cancer that is nationalism. We had enough of that in two world wars, thank you very much.

      • Nationalism is a cancer?
        Really?
        Why stop at the EU, if nationalism is a cancer, then a one world government is the only solution.
        Heck, why stop there, just anoint Gods to rule over us pitiful humans so we don’t have to think for ourselves anymore.

      • True. The EUP may only vote on matters put forth by the appointed executives, the commissioners of the Council of Europe.

      • Yes, the Evil – I say EVIL! Nationalism of Mohatma Ghandi, Joshua Nkrumo, Nelson Mandela and George Washington would destroy the Peace of Europe!

        Nothing more for me he mass of Globaliziet fascists to learn here.

        (I am becoming a citizen of Hungary, praise be to PM Orban and Fidesz, also an EU member.)

    • To think that sovereignty or any power will be returned from Brussels is to fail to understand the EU project. It was always designed to be undemocratic so that it can never have its powers reduced bar the whole edifice collapsing. The EU defines democracy as ‘participation’ and so the parliament allows people to vote and the EU holds lots of consultations but in the end the Commission backed by the Council does what it wants. To try to improve the low turnouts the parliament was give a greater role but should it become a problem then that power will be reduced by the Commission. No commissioner can be anti-EU – you have to pledge to uphold the EU virtually to death since to claim your pension – fat pension – you must never speak against the EU.

      • Your last sentence there, Gerry, is a bit of a throwaway, but it is one of the many things about the EU which would change a lot of people’s minds if they knew about it.

        Mandelson was an EU commissioner for about four years. Not an onerous task, lots of €300/head dining, all expenses paid, an annual salary of £182,000 (2009 value) with a very low preferential rate of EU tax (no tax in UK). He received a severance payment of more than £400,000 (paid over several years), the one-off resettlement payment of £15,000 fades into insignificance. He now draws an index-linked pension, currently worth about £37,000, also subject to preferential taxation (the UK average wage in now approximately £26,500). There are also many other benefits to the job in the form of “allowances”.

        It is estimate that Kinnock received over £10m from the EU, but such is the secrecy that it is very difficult to derive exact figures. There are very nearly 200 current and past commissioners.

        With the total lack of accountability and the massive amounts of other people’s money sloshing around it is no wonder that our political elite and their hangers on are blocking the UK attempt to leave. When they are no longer fit for purpose here they simply jump onto the EU gravy train, the snouts need never leave the trough.

  3. Its the usual swing of the pendulum, the discontent over the influx of so
    many so called refugees has of course moved a lot of people to the right
    wing parties.

    Wait for the usual remarks from the left that Europe is going Pro Nazi ,
    despite the fact that the Nazi Party was officially a Sciolist Party.

    The very inefficient French farmers as usual are voting strongly for EU
    subsidies. This is on or many reasons why the UK should leave the EU .
    British farmers are highly efficient at extracting the maximum from their
    small land area.

    MJE VK5ELL

  4. keep in mind that the “bureaucrats” really run things…
    …”once hired, can’t be fired” folk.

  5. EU Parliament is largely a toothless, rubber stamp, by design out of the Treaty of Lisbon that went into force in 2009. The Central Committee of the EU Politburo EU Commission retains control of European Union. The Commission alone has legislative initiative in the EU. Only the Commission can make formal proposals for legislation for approval by the EU Parliament.

    This will change nothing. Brexit will change the EU, as it will show other members like Poland and Hungary that there is Life after the EU.

    • I should add:

      The democratically-elected EU Parliament exists for one reason, and one reason only. That reason is the EU Parliament gives the illusion to the people of Europe that the EU is a democratically governed institution.

      The old money power elites of Europe would never allow that in practice. Hence the EU is set up as it is with all the real power in the commission.

      The EU Parliament’s analog in Russia is the modern Duma. The Duma is democratically elected. But does anyone really think the Duma wields the real political power in Russia over Putin and his circle of deputies?

      The Duma also existed in Russia during the time of the Tzar. According to Wikipedia: “At this first meeting of the Duma members proposed that political prisoners should be released, trade unions given rights and land reform be introduced. Nicholas II rejected these suggestions and dissolved the assembly in July, 1906.” And we know what eventually became of the Tzar and his family after his “original sin” of actually letting the Russian people think their voice mattered.

      The EU formers and the Power elites of Europe learned from this fundamental mistake of 1906 Russian Duma, and today the EU Parliament cannot propose any new legislation to be voted on. All legislation must first come from the Commission. I’ll leave it to the interested WUWT’er to learn on their own how EU Commissioners are selected and seated.

      • In essence the EU is ruled by old money, powerful bankers, and crony-capitalists.
        All the expensive polling is nothing but window-dressing hiding that truth.

      • I’ve often said that the EU is what we’d have had BY NOW if the NAZIs had won WWII. That is to say, whilst the NAZIs would have started with total state control and then given their subjugated citizenry the illusion of a say, the EU started with a large amount of democracy and is moving toward NAZI-style state control with only an illusion of democracy.

          • Surprised it took so long. It usually arrives much more quickly in discussions about the EU. Can’t imagine why.

          • Nope. He didn’t call anybody a Nazi, nor did he compare anyone to Hitler. Discussing Nazi politics or what would have happened had Germany won WWII, is perfectly valid and does not meet Godwin’s criteria.

          • “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1” – Wikipedia.
            Mike made a comparison with what might have happened – involving Nazis, so it fits.
            On the other hand, of course, convention is that when the Godwin point occurs the thread finishes. As the thread continues perhaps it was not a Godwin point after all.

    • +1 The EU will still have the same government that pretends to be democratic when in reality it’s nothing but a quango. How the people were duped into believing this is a government representative of the voting public is beyond me.

    • That’s funny considering Hungary’s economy is highly dependent on EU cohesion funds and German car manufacturing companies. Leaving the EU would mean losing access to both and the economy would definitely sag into recession. And where would we go anyway? As a tiny country right between EU and Russia, it has little hope of staying truly independent. After living through 40 years of Soviet occupation, that is not something people would welcome again.

      It’s also not a particularly Eurosceptic country. According to an April 30 poll, 79% of the population supports remaining and only 11% would leave. https://24.p3k.hu/app/uploads/2019/04/ni_unio_osszes_adat_kilepes_megitelese-1024×573-1024×573.jpg (“magyarok”, blue line is stay, red is leave)

      • That’s funny considering Hungary’s economy is highly dependent on EU cohesion funds and German car manufacturing companies.

        Hungary is the happy members of the EU. What they do not like is unelected commissioners from Brussels telling them how to run their own country, for example widely open borders for illegal migration from the Middle East. For some reasons Brussels and folks as Soros think that such kind of things are the biggest blessing for each county in the EU.

    • Europe has never existed as an entity in any time in history … except in its original form, which is when it was used by Greeks to mean the mainland of Greece as opposed to Asia (Turkey) and Africa.

      Indeed, Britain was never part of Europe …. instead we were an island in the Ocean beyond Europe.

  6. I was waiting for someone to post something on this today. Looks like Europe is drinking the Greta Kool Aid …
    I sure hope the USA doesn’t go this route…

  7. It is appalling to see the Green populism on the rise. Great to see Farage on the rise. At least the UK can get out of that bloody mess, with some dings and dents, but out means OUT.

    • Farage isn’t rising.
      UKIP won 25 seats, last time around. I’d say it’s fair to say that TBP has inherited those seats, as UKIP has slid into an irrelevant BNP clone.
      He’s thus added just 4 seats.
      Nearly 17.5 million people voted to leave the EU, in the 2016 referendum. 5,248,533 voted for TBP, with another few 100K for UKIP.
      That is not a mandate for a no deal, crash out Brexit.

      • If you count the people who didn’t vote because by rights we left the EU on the 29th March and so this was an invalid election … there’s no doubt pro-Brexit parties had the majority of support.

        Indeed, the whole point of these scam elections … which give us absolutely no control over the EU officials … is to give us the illusion of “voting for the EU”, to make the gullible fools think they voted for the Eurocrats over whom they have absolutely no power.

      • In the 2014 “EU” elections, under it’s party leader Farage, UKIP won 24 out of 73 seats or 27.5% of the votes. UKIP has almost vanished by now.
        The Brexit Party, founded some 6 weeks ago under the aegis of Nigel Farage, raked in 31.7 % of the votes. That is more than any other party, considerably more.
        To say that Farage isn’t on the rise is, mildly speaking, a D. Nial of the facts.
        The results of the EU membership referendum was clear: 51.89% voted OUT, just 48.11% were Remainers. OUT means OUT. I am happy with that, very happy.

      • Adam. that is stupid math. The math of losers lacking gumption to face the truth. And it will get worse for you….. Brett Keane

  8. Thanks for the analysis. I was beginning to suspect that anti-integrationist parties had done well but the press were not willing to report it.

    I had even thought: “now if only WUWT did political reporting as well …”

  9. All you have to know about the EU is 2.7 trillion euros in fake/QE have been printed and failed to make any impression on the sclerotic eurozone. France is about to sink into more debt than the EU.

    The UK by comparison is doing better. Not surprising when only 6% of Uk companies export to the EU and the Uk now trades more with the rest of the world than the EU.

  10. “Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party came first in the UK by a very wide margin, with an estimated 32 per cent of the vote.”

    And what happens to this group when Brexit inevitably does occur? Besides giving other countries the options of exiting the EU?
    What does Brexit do to EU’s alliances?

  11. The information contained in ” In Ireland, a swell of votes for the Green Party put it in line to secure two seats, and finish third behind the two main centre parties.”
    is probably based on an incorrect exit poll or bias media, the Green Party has won 1 European seat (as of noon today), the second seat has yet to be won depending on vote transfers, and if it is, it may well be substitute seat reserved for October when the UK leaves the EU, also the Green Party finished 4th, 5th if you included independent votes in the European elections. The swell was exaggerated by exit poll data plus a very bias Irish media.
    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/european-election/results-hub

    In regards to local elections within Ireland, the greens in Ireland had a similar vote percentage in 2007 (around 5%) when the party entered into government with one of the main centre parties, only to get annihilated ( they returned NO members) in the 2011 election. In 2016 election they returned 2 members. Results from the weekend indicate that the greens have returned to there 2007 levels, so a general election in the next 12 months could get the greens up to there 2007 power levels, given all the right conditions for them.

    The green swell (sarc),
    1 in 10 people voting in Ireland voted green for Europe.
    1 in 20 people voting in Ireland voted green in local Irish elections.

  12. The modern democracies are not as they were created in the city where they were first practiced.

    In Athens, a citizen was seconded for two years to perform a task.

    Every citizen knew what he disliked in the country – road construction, water supply, food management etc.pp

    now he was in charge – organizing, splitting, scheduling appointments for urban workers, technicians, departments.

    In 2 years you will not build corrupt networks.

    And after 2, his fellow citizens knew how to judge him and let him feel it.

  13. The modern democracies are not as they were created in the city where they were first practiced.

    In Athens, a citizen was seconded for two years to perform a task.

    Every citizen knew what he himself disliked in the country – road construction, water supply, food management etc.pp

    now he was in charge – organizing, splitting, scheduling appointments for urban workers, technicians, departments.

    In 2 years you will not build corrupt networks.

    And after 2, his fellow citizens knew how to judge him and let him feel it.

  14. The modern democracies are not as they were created in the city where they were first practiced.

    In Athens, a citizen was seconded for two years to perform a task.

    Every citizen knew what he himself disliked in the country – road construction, water supply, food management etc.pp

    now he was in charge – organizing, splitting, scheduling appointments for urban workers, technicians, departments.

    In 2 years you will not build corrupt networks.

    And after 2, his fellow citizens knew how to judge him and let him feel it.

    The whole area was divided into 4 quarters.

    every 4th had to put deputies.

    an urban dweller could live at home and live with his family.

    a farmer from the country had to go to the city, usually on foot, and take an apartment there.

    Wife and children had to cope with the farm work. With support from neighbors. or you paid a slave.

    Politics was a task.

    satisfactory if decently done.

    But also annoying – and exhausting.

  15. the failure with modern ‘democracies’ is:

    No one cares about any misery, no one ‘sees’
    any bad – no one is held responsible.

    After the end of the legislature period, those who are thriving best are being wooed, it’s their votes that count – That’s All.

  16. As some have noted, but is widely misunderstood on the internet outside the UK, these were dead elections (in the UK) from the start because the “winners” should only have a very short stay in office before Brexit happens. So it allowed for a one-off national protest vote such as rarely happens.

    The result was obvious in that the Brexit Parties scored very very heavily compared to the two major parties that contest regular UK elections.

  17. So I read the breakdown of parties. However, can anyone put in plain language what each of the parties stand for without all the bs labels?

  18. OK, the elections are over, the votes are in, candidates have stopped torturing us with their bullshit and either get ready to move into their newly won cushy positions in order to snore off for another term or they go away. Now, let’s get real. About half of the countries in the EU have not built one single new windmill in 2018. Subsidy programs are running out little by little and looking at how things are, many will not be renewed as the cost of them has become crushing. So, the Greens will posture and move nothing. The Nationalists will oppose anything and move nothing. And we all will continue to foot the bill for this sad show of freaks. Europe has voted – and why would that matter?

  19. The EU has 55.000 employees of whom 10,000 earn more than the UK Prime Minister. It is a monster trough on top of the bloated national governments of the 28 soon hopefully soon to be 27 member states.

      • Any form of supplication is adequate, you should have watched our Prime Minister Theresa May.

  20. I’m told the ‘Green Swell’ amounted to an extra seventeen seats in the European Parliament, ten of them from German voters and seven from all the other countries combined, not much of a ‘Swell’. And it seems the Greens lost votes in Sweden, of all places!

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