If nothing else, Europe’s fractured voters have made one thing clear — they want things to change.
On Monday morning, as results for the European parliamentary elections rolled in, it emerged that millions of voters had abandoned the traditional parties which have dominated Europe’s institutions for decades. Instead, they flocked to smaller groups like the Greens, the nationalists and the liberals.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition was soundly beaten, with the Greens scoring an astonishing second place. In France, Emmanuel Macron — a leader who has repeatedly pitched himself as the man to take Europe forward — was edged into second place by the nationalist Marine Le Pen. In the UK, support for the big two traditional parties, the Conservative Party and Labour, collapsed in favor of Nigel Farage’s pro-Brexit party on one side, and a variety of anti-Brexit parties on the other. In Italy and Hungary, hardline populists triumphed.
Across Europe, turnout was projected to be above 50% — a 25-year record.
Macron’s pro-EU centrists will join a bloc of liberals — set to be the third largest group in the Parliament — that will soon wield enough power to dictate its vision of Europe to others. Predictions that nationalist politicians would become a dominant force inside the European Union have faded.
However, while these results are good news for those wanting to keep the EU alive, they are bad news for the political groups currently dominating Brussels.