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European elections: Pro-EU parties hold their ground against far-right

By Caoimhe Toman

Date: Monday 27 May 2019

European elections: Pro-EU parties hold their ground against far-right

(Sharecast News) - An alliance of pro-EU parties held their ground across the continent on the Sunday elections as massive boosts for Greens and Liberals kept the far-right anti-establishment gains at bay.
Although some pro-EU parties have faced losses, most significantly the narrow defeat of Emmanuel Macron's En Marche France by its Eurosceptic counterpart National Rally, led by Marie Le Pen and Nigel Farage's Brexit Party victory in the UK, crushing both the Tories and Labour.

Turnout rose for the first time in 40 years and early estimates produced by the European Parliament suggest voters returned a more fragmented pro-EU majority, with traditional centre-ground parties losing seats to Greens and Liberals.

Nevertheless it was enough to fight against the gains made by Eurosceptic and far-right parties that were popular in France and Italy.

Eurosceptic, anti-establishment and hard-right parties were also expected to top polls in the UK, Italy, Poland, and Hungary.

If these estimates are correct it could be the end of the centre-left and centre-right majority that has been held in the parliament since 1979 and resulting in a more divided bloc.

The centre-right European People's party will hold on to 180 seats in the EU parliament, down from 221 in 2014. The Socialist group will fall from 191 to 152 seats and the traditional centre-ground pan-EU parties lost ground to the Liberals, who are expected to rise from 67 to more than 100 seats. On the other hand, the Greens increased from 50 to 67, boosted by their performance in Germany.

The results across the EU's 28 member states will have a decisive impact on the political direction in Brussels for the coming five years. They signal that the EU is likely to broadly continue current policies: distancing itself from US President Donald Trump's protectionist trade policies, gradually integrating the euro area, finding solutions for the balancing of non-EU migrants in the bloc and denying the UK from any attempt to reopen the Brexit deal.

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