Citizens across 28 Europeans countries headed out last week to cast their votes in the European Union elections. The results are still being finalised, but there are a few key takeaways so far.
The two biggest blocs in the European parliament, the European People’s Party (EPP), made up of centre-right parties, and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), made up of centre-left parties, both lost seats in this election – and with them, their majority.
For the S&D, the only bright spot was in Spain, where Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’ Socialist party earned a comfortable win.
But despite being weakened, the EPP and S&D still remain the two biggest blocs in the EU.
The Liberals and Greens both made big gains in this election. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) party is now the third-biggest bloc in the European parliament, breaking up the monopoly that the EPP and S&D once held.
Meanwhile, the Greens/European Free Alliance party, boosted by the growing call for action against climate change, are now the fourth biggest bloc in the EU. They performed especially well in Germany.
Despite fears of a far-right surge, far-right nationalist parties have only made slight gains in this election.
In France, the far-right National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, beat French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party, but Le Pen actually performed better in the 2014 EU elections. The latest polls show that Macron is only one point behind Le Pen, so both parties will receive the same number of seats (23) in the EU. Far-right parties also lost support in Spain and Denmark
The one exception is Italy, where Matteo Salvini’s far-right Lega party won by a clear majority.
Ultimately, despite gains for both the left and the right, the traditional centre has managed to retain its hold in the EU. But the parliament is more fragmented than before, with no clear monopoly. The best news from the elections was the turnout itself; more voters showed up than in the past two decades.