August 23, 2019
Latest News

Seven key points to understanding the EU elections results

 An European flag hangs outside The Greens' party headquarters in Berlin, Germany, May 27, 2019. EPA-EFE/FELIPE TRUEBA

An European flag hangs outside The Greens' party headquarters in Berlin, Germany, May 27, 2019. EPA-EFE/FELIPE TRUEBA

By Laura Malvesí

Brussels, May 27 (efe-epa).- The concept of a united Europe is tarnished but still needs to be kept alive and there is an urgent necessity for a greener, more sustainable environment.

These two ideas came through as the voters' principal concerns in the European Union's parliamentary elections which garnered the highest turnout in 20 years.

Voters were not as Eurosceptic as many had augured but political support for the EU vision now rests on wider cross-party collaborations rather than the traditional left-right duopoly.

As predicted, Eurosceptic parties made gains but they did not consolidate their power in the European Parliament as much as they had hoped.

The center-right European People's Party and the center-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D), longtime bipartisan powerhouses in Brussels, were trimmed down and now must accommodate a growing Liberal Democrats (ALDE), which shares pro-European values.

The Greens also had a strong night, adding 19 seats to their previous haul to secure 69 overall in the 750-seat Parliament.

1. The time for multipartisan politics and collaboration has arrived

The EPP and the S&D will no longer boast a combined majority in the hemicycle for the first time in history.

The elections, held between May 23-26, have ended 40-years of bipartisan dominance where the two major parliamentary groups simply had to strike consensus between themselves to shift hefty policies through EU's legislative arm.

Now ALDE, which boosted its seat-share by 42, bagging 109, and the Greens will be key actors going into the next parliament.

2. The specter of Euroscepticism returns, but with less punch than anticipated.

Just as in 2014, whispers of an anti-EU Trojan Horse making its way into the bloc's institutions dissipated somewhat when the results came through.

Europhobes have bagged more than 50 seats in the chamber but lack sufficient numbers to form an influential coalition.

A question that remains to be answered is whether members of the shrinking European Conservatives and Reformists will abandon ship and align themselves with one of the two major Eurosceptic blocs, the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, chaired by Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage, or the far-right Europe of Nations and Freedom.

3. Choppy waters for Europhiles in Italy and France.

Although Eurosceptics remain far from any kind of majority in the European Parliament, right-wing, anti-Brussels outfits did manage to win national votes in France and Italy.

Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally (RN), formerly known as the National Front, beat the liberal coalition backed by President Emmanuel Macron with 22 seats to 21 in the French vote.

In Italy, Matteo Salvini's League party, which pushes far-right policies, also came out on top, buoyed by collapsing support for the old center-left/center-right order in the country.

His outfit, a member of Italy's coalition government, secure 28 seats, 10 more than its nearest rival, the Democratic Party (PD).

Farage's Brexit Party also won the UK vote.

Le Pen and Salvini are in favor of devolving EU powers to national governments and have used the migrant crisis to underpin their anti-EU propaganda.

4. Environmentalist policies on the up.

Germany and Denmark, among others, have fueled solid results for Green parties, which boosted their share of seats by almost 20.

The push for environmentalists politics, which has brought thousands of youngsters to the streets in continent-wide protests every Friday led by the young activist Greta Thunberg, arrived at the heart of the EU.

Along with the liberal ALDE group, the Greens will play a strong hand in the upcoming renewal of the EU's institutions as Parliament appoints and approves a new leader and members of the European Commission.

5. Conservatives fall despite a solid showing from Hungary's Viktor Orbán, suspended from the EPP

The EPP maintained its position as the largest group in Parliament following the elections but it no longer holds the S&D at an arm's length.

It fell from 221 seats in 2014 to 180 in 2019, which includes the 13 won by its Hungarian associate, the Fidesz party of PM Orbán, which had its voting rights in the EPP suspended on the lead up to the election over its anti-EU stance.

Orbán's nationalist force took over 50 percent of the Hungarian vote. If this enfant terrible of the EPP decides to abandon its group, the center-right union will remain the strongest part in the chamber but lose out on 13 seats.

The S&D took a total of 146 seats, 44 down from its last outing.

6. An alternative liberal-leftist bloc would not work.

Left-wing groups, Greens and liberals fall just short of the necessary 376 seats for a majority with around 366 between them, which means there can be no absolute majority without the inclusion of the EPP.

The EPP, however, could technically make a coalition with the far-right and populists although this would be unlikely.

This new balance of power in the chamber could stutter progress when passing legislation, as there are likely to be three main ideologies battling it out for influence.

7. Brits punish the mainstream parties over Brexit.

The UK Conservative Party, the party of former leader David Cameron, the prime minister who called the Brexit referendum in 2016, as well as Theresa May, the outgoing PM whose tenure was cut short by Brexit, slumped to fifth place in the national vote.

Farage's Brexit Party, however, secured 29 seats. EFE-EPA


News history
Bangkok backpackers' mecca to be revamped by Thai authorities

By Gaspar Ruiz-Canela.

Myanmar's Rohingyas living in 'appalling conditions,' says HRW

Yangon, Myanmar, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- The Rohingya population in Myanmar’s Rakhine state is living in "appalling" conditions, while those responsible for the...

North Korea 'ready for dialog or standoff' with the US

Seoul, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- North Korea's foreign minister said Friday that his country is ready for both dialog or standoff with the United States, who he...

Tokyo asks Seoul to reconsider termination of military intel-sharing pact

Tokyo, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- Japan on Friday lamented the decision by South Korea to pull out of a bilateral military information-sharing agreement and asked...

US, Vietnam censure China for interfering in Hanoi’s territorial waters

Washington, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- The United States on Thursday accused China of interfering with Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea and...

Trump returns to G7 with Johnson as ally, Iran and China on agenda

Washington, USA, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States will arrive at his second G7 Summit this weekend in Biarritz, France, with the new...

International community calls for saving of the Amazon, engulfed in fire

Bogota, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- The fires raging in Brazil's Amazon rainforest have fueled global fears of environmental devastation, the climate crisis and the...

Google deactivates hundreds of YouTube channels linked to Hong Kong protests

San Francisco, USA, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Google reported Thursday that it had disabled 210 YouTube channels that were part of a coordinated attempt to post...

Brexit, US trade deal on Abe's agenda ahead of G7 summit

By Antonio Hermosín Gandul.

Mexican president: Legal sabotage being mounted against new airport

Mexico City, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday complained that the political opposition has been engaging in...

4 dead, 100-plus injured by lightning in Poland

Warsaw, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Four people, including two children, died on Thursday and more than 100 were injured by lightning strikes during a thunderstorm...

Brazil's president doubles down on criticism of NGOs operating in Amazon

Brasilia, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- President Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday that while he did not have evidence that non-governmental organizations were behind the...

Giraffes get protection on international trade for 1st time

Geneva, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Giraffes were added on Thursday for the first time to a protection mechanism that restricts their international trade in response...

Protect Paradise, the hope to end plastic pollution in Venezuelan beaches

By Héctor Pereira

Hong Kong gov't: protesters ad campaign gross exaggeration

Hong Kong, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- A campaign launched by Hong Kong activists to rally international support for anti-Beijing protests that have gripped the city...

Macron: Irish backstop indispensable

Paris, Aug 22 (efe-epa) .- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met Emmanuel Macron in France Thursday for Brexit talks during which the French President...

Italy's president gives parties more time to form gov't

Rome, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- President Sergio Mattarella said Thursday that he will give Italy's political parties until early next week to try to form a new...

Seoul believes US, North Korea talks will soon resume

Seoul, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Seoul on Thursday said negotiations between North Korea and the United States may resume soon, following a visit to South Korea by...

North Korea not interested in talks amid 'military threats'

Seoul, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- North Korea said Thursday that it was not interested in dialog while the United States and South Korea were engaged in "military...

Still unsafe for Rohingyas to return to Myanmar, Amnesty warns

Bangkok Desk, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Human rights organization Amnesty International warned Thursday that it was still unsafe for members of the Rohingya ethnic...

Rohingyas refuse to return to Myanmar

Teknaf, Bangladesh, Aug 22 (EFE).- A second attempt to repatriate some 1,037 Rohingya refugee families who live in Bangladesh following a mass exodus from...

Police killings of civilians reaches new heights in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Rio de Janeiro recorded a 49 percent increase in civilian deaths at the hands of police in July compared to the...

Nur-Sultan, Aug 21 (EFE).- The foreign ministers of the five Central Asian countries met here Wednesday with US Under Secretary of State David Hale to...

Putin says Russia must respond to threat of new US missile

Helsinki, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Russian President Vladimir Putin made an appeal here Wednesday to the United States to resume arms-control negotiations even as...

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.