Econintersect: Parties opposed to the EU, to the euro, to austerity and to immigration made big gains in the once-every-five-years election for members of the European Parliament (EP). Socialist parties lost strength and right wing and even Nazi parties gained. The 751-seat EP will still be controlled by pro-Europe Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, but the increased strength of minority parties, some never before represented in the EP, will make the chamber far more contentious than in the past and produce impediments to the creation of a politically unified super state analogous to the U.S.
Among the winners:
- In the Great Britain the UK Independence Party (UKIP) appeared to be ahead of the ruling Conservative Party as well as the Liberal Democrats (3rd place). The UKIP has been calling for the UK to leave the EU-28.
- In France the ruling Socialist Party came in third behind second place UMP (party of former President Nikolas Sarkozy) and the National Front party, which is anti-EU and anti-immigrant, came in first with 25% of the vote.
- Germany saw gains by anti-euro parties but not enough to out-poll Angela Merkel’s Christain Democrats who are very pro-EU. A new party, Alternative for Germany, which wants to abolish the euro (EU-17) but continue the European Union (EU-28) won 7% of the vote and will have 7 parliament seats.
- Greece has the far-left Syriz party receiving roughly 30% of the vote to lead all parties and the far-right neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in third with about 10%. The current ruling party, the pro-austerity New Democracy party, received about 1/4 of the vote to place second.
- In Italy the ruling center-left Democratic Party of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi easily won but the Five Star Movement, led by former comedian Beppe Grillo still managed to garner almost 25% of the vote. Grillo has proposed a national referendumto endorse leaving the euro.
- The ruling Conservative Party easily won in Austria but the far-right Freedom party captured 20% of the vote.
- In Denmark the Danish People’s Part, a nationalist anti-immigration party, finished first.
- Anti-Euro, Euroskeptic parties win big in EU parliamentary elections (Eric Reguly, The Globe and Mail, 25 May 2014)
- That ‘earthquake’ in Europe? It’s far-right gains in Parliament elections (Catherine E. Shoichet and Jim Boulden, CNN)