EU's worst nightmare: A QUARTER of all MEPs to be anti-Brussels - Belgium PM quits, Macron holds snap vote and Scholtz humiliated

EU's worst nightmare: A QUARTER of all MEPs to be anti-Brussels - Belgium PM quits, Macron holds snap vote and Scholtz humiliated
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 10/06/2024

- 07:32

Updated: 10/06/2024

- 11:18

The exit poll projected that pro-European centre-right, centre-left, liberal and Green parties will retain a reduced majority of 460 seats

Hard right anti-Brussels parties made the biggest shock in the EU elections over the weekend, and are now set to hold almost a quarter of the seats in the European Parliament.

In a blow for French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz, the results are expected to help shift the European parliament towards a more anti-immigration and anti-green stance.

President Macron shocked France calling a snap election for the National Assembly after exit polls gave Marine Le Pen's Rassemblement National more than double the vote share of Macron’s centrist alliance.

The hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) shrugged off a string of scandals to take second place, making gains in particular among the young, while Chancellor Scholz's Social Democrats scored their worst result ever.

Macron, Le Pen, Scholz and de Croo

Anti-EU parties surged in the European elections


While the centre, liberal and Socialist parties were set to retain a majority in the 720-seat parliament, the vote raised questions about how the European Union's major powers can drive policy in the bloc.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced his resignation after the defeat of his Flemish Liberals and Democrats party (Open VLD).

The exit poll projected that pro-European centre-right, centre-left, liberal and Green parties will retain a majority of 460 seats, but one which is slimmed down compared to their 488 in the outgoing chamber of 705 deputies.

Europe's Green parties in particular suffered heavy losses, subsiding to 53 deputies from 71 in the outgoing parliament.


\u200bAlexander De Croo has resigned as Belgian PM

Alexander De Croo has resigned as Belgian PM


In Austria, the count of votes cast in polling stations plus a projection for postal ballots confirmed Freedom Party won but by a smaller margin than had been forecast, national broadcaster ORF said.

Estimates in the Netherlands based on most of the votes counted confirmed exit polls that showed a Labour/GreenLeft combination was set to have won eight seats, slightly ahead of the anti-immigration party of Geert Wilders' six seats.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk's centrist Civic Coalition (KO) was set to win the vote, taking a step towards establishing itself as the dominant force in the country after a campaign dominated by security concerns.

In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's nationalist Fidesz party came first but posted its worst result in a national or EU election in nearly two decades, as support surged for the pro-European Tisza party, which is led by political newcomer Peter Magyar.

Viktor Orban's Hungary could be set for an EU punishment.

Viktor Orban'


Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's hard- right Brothers of Italy group won the most votes in the European parliamentary election.

With 96 per cent of the ballots counted, Brothers of Italy won 28.8 per cent of the vote, more than four times what it took in the last EU election in 2019 and exceeding the 26 per cent it secured in the 2022 national ballot, when it rose to power.

Meloni said: "I am proud that Italy will present itself to the G7, to Europe with the strongest government of all. This is something that has not happened in the past but is happening today, it is a satisfaction and also a great responsibility."

However, voter participation in Italy came in at just below 50 per cent, initial data suggested, a record low in a country that has had historically strong voter participation.

Giorgia Meloni

Italy's Prime Minister and leader of the hard-right party Brothers of Italy (Fratelli D'Italia - FDI) Giorgia Meloni


Spain's centre-right People's Party (PP) came out on top in the European election, garnering 22 seats out of the 61 allocated to the country, and dealing a blow to the Socialist-led government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Progressive Slovakia, a liberal, pro-Western opposition party in Slovakia, beat the SMER-SD, the largest party in the leftist-nationalist government led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, who survived an assassination attempt last month.

In the Czech Republic, the populist opposition ANO beat the centre-right Spolu group, which leads the government.

The ruling coalition of leftist Social Democrats (PSD) and centre-right Liberals (PNL) in Romania won 54 per cent of votes in which they ran on joint lists, an exit poll showed.

Exit polls had AUR, a hard-right group that was founded five years ago and which opposes migration and military aid for Ukraine, ranked second in European polls, with 14 per cent of votes.

Ursula von der Leyen

Lead candidate for the European conservatives in the EU election Ursula von der Leyen


The early results suggest current European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is likely, but not certain, to retain her position.

In 2019, she was elected with votes from the EPP, the S&D and Renew Europe. The same coalition could theoretically provide her with another majority.

However, these votes are done in secret and some EPP parties have said they will not support her.

Five years ago, the 440 lawmakers belonging to the three centrist groups voted her into power, however she got just 383 votes. This time, the three groups will account for more than 400 of the 720 lawmakers in the hemicycle.

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