After the elections in 27 EU countries: rough climate in Europe

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Written By Maya Cantina

The right-wing camp is experiencing the expected revival. Ursula von der Leyen sees victory among the conservatives and is counting on a bastion against the right.

Ursula von der Leyen cheers

Ursula von der Leyen is cheering: she is counting on the next presidency of the European Commission Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

BERLIN taz | It had become clear and the predictions were now confirmed late on Sunday evening: the climate in the European Parliament is becoming increasingly grim. According to the preliminary final result, the conservative EPP party family wins 13 seats and is again the strongest faction with 189 of the 720 seats. S&D, the social democratic faction, loses 4 seats and is in second place with 135 seats. The Liberals, organized in the Renew Europe group, are sending 80 MPs, 22 fewer than last time.

The Greens have 53 MPs (minus 19), the right-wing EKR is represented with 72 seats (plus 3), the right-wing extremist ID with 58, which is 9 more than before. The left loses one seat and has 36 MPs. There are also several other parties with few seats in parliament.

In the 27 EU countries, around 373 million people were called to vote. Voting took place between June 6 and 9. 21 of the 27 countries voted this Sunday. President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola called the elections a sign of confidence for the next five years. Despite the gains that right-wing parties have made in many European Union member states. Parliament will meet for the first time on July 16.

But right-wing populists will shake up Strasbourg – and change the majorities. The topics in the election campaign: migration, the fight against the climate crisis, war and peace.

Shift to the right in Europe

Best example of the great electoral success for right-wing populists in the EU it is France. The Rassemblement National with party leader Jordan Bardella received more than 30 percent of the votes. An absolute low point for French President Emmanuel Macron. After the defeat of his Renaissance list, he felt compelled to dissolve the National Assembly and call new elections. These are scheduled for June 30. Macron’s decision will make serious waves – and just hours after the election results, it seems like a hasty and reckless decision. Bardella mainly scored points with sharp criticism of migration policy.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also emerged victorious in the EU elections with her ultra-right party Fratelli d’Italia. According to the first surveys after the elections, the FdI obtained between 26 and 30 percent, and the Partito Democratico between 21 and 25 percent. The Five Star Movement follows in third place.

In Austria, the right-wing populist FPÖ came first for the first time. It reached about 25 percent. They are followed by the conservative ÖVP with 23.5 percent and the social-democratic SPÖ with 23 percent. Germany is also moving to the right. The CDU obtained approximately 30 percent in the European elections. The SPD comes in second, but is followed by the AfD with 14.2 percent according to the Federal Returning Officer’s interim results shortly before midnight. It is even in the east of the republic by far the strongest force.

Von der Leyen is very happy

EPP top candidate Ursula von der Leyen was obviously very happy to see it on Sunday evening. “We are the anchor of stability and voters recognize our leadership of the past five years,” Von der Leyen said in Brussels. And she relies on a ‘bulwark against left- and right-wing extremists’ with this tailwind hope for a second term as President of the European Commission. However, for this the CDU politician needs a majority of the heads of state and government, because they can also nominate another candidate to parliament.

This is unlikely to happen, as the EPP is represented in the European Council by thirteen heads of state or government. To confirm Von der Leyen, only three other major member states need to vote for her. However, she received a lot of criticism – including from Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other Social Democrats – when Von der Leyen suggested that a collaboration with the post-fascist Meloni party Fratelli d’Italia cannot be excluded. She belongs to the right-wing conservative EKR group. The CDU politician would also need Macron to support her presidency of the European Commission. It could be a bumpy start for Von der Leyen.

When it comes to election turnout, the picture is mixed across the EU. A few hours before the last polling stations in EU countries closed, current parliament speaker Roberta Metsola called on citizens to exercise their right to vote. The latest results came from Italy. In Germany, turnout in European elections was probably higher than ever: about 65 percent of all eligible voters cast their votes. In previous years this was between 40 and 50 percent.

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