People who worried about a demagogic avalanche of right-wing “populists” and Euroskeptics taking over the European Union after the four day European Parliamentary elections can rest easy as pro-union parties, spread out over more political groups, secured the great majority of the seats as motivated voters turned out in rates not seen in recent electoral contests.
While centrist-mainstream Christian Democrat and Social Democratic Parties did lose seats in the election, other pro-Union Green and Liberal parties increased their position in the parliament, making a coalition of these four entities more likely in the next governing session.
This progressive development, resulting from the rise of the Green and Liberal Parties, may finally yield results that benefit the many citizens on the continent who feel the elites in Brussels (where the European Union governing body is based) have ignored their needs for too long.
Meanwhile, right-wing populist anti-immigrant Euroskeptics, led by pro-Putin Demagogues did not fare as well as people feared they would. While there were isolated strong advances in Italy (the League Party led by Salvani), Hungary (Anti Democrat Orban’s party), and Britain (Farage’s new Brexit Party who were helped by the ill-timed resignation of Prime Minister Teresa May on the second day of the elections), their coalition did not fare as well in countries like Germany and Austria. Even in France, where Le Pen’s National Rally party did eke out a victory over Macron’s La République En Marche alliance, their voting share was less than the 2014 elections and their representation in the Parliament will actually decline.
Pro European forces, while rightfully encouraged by the election results, should also view the four-day voting event, evidenced by the rise of more progressive and liberal parties, as a sign to worry more about the people and climate policy within the union as much as “bottom line” balance sheets.
If this new coalition does not address the needs of the people (the 98 percent) and the environment, then the reactionary populists may feel emboldened with new recruits in five years.
Pro European forces should not throw this opportunity away.