EU still heading toward a cliff edge, but more slowly

Lukewarm beer for the lukewarm parties (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)


The revolution is postponed – but not necessarily cancelled. Now that the final results of the EU parliamentary elections are trickling in, it is time to assess what to expect for the next five years.

First, while there has been a shift to the Right it was not as massive as originally anticipated. Instead of opting for a Right-wing wave, the big winners are the “lukewarm” conservative parties that form the European People’s Party (EPP) in parliament. The two Right-wing factions, namely the Conservatives and Reformists group, and Identity and Democracy group, will have an additional 12 out of 720 seats, while the EPP will be stronger by 13 seats. 

This means that the most significant sign that change is coming to Europe will not happen. Ursula von der Leyen will remain the President of the European Commission, and many of the suicidal policies of the EU, from Green Deals, to mass migration and overregulation will continue.

Europe is driving towards a cliff, but instead of changing course the electorate decided to ever so slightly take the foot of the gas pedal. The direction is still the same, we will just get there a bit later.

Germany’s AfD, after almost self-destructing weeks before the elections tied in second place with the Social Democrats behind the Conservatives. Once almost at 22 per cent in the polls, the party now seems to have won around 14 per cent of the electorate, an increase of 3.2 per cent but still disappointing.

The party nearly imploded when the party’s top candidate Maximilian Krah had to suspend his campaign and the AfD was kicked out of the ID group in the European Parliament, due to Krah’s comments on the Waffen-SS and both spy and corruption allegations.

But what hurt the party probably even more was the emergence of a Left-nationalist party just six months ago, the Alliance Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW). Lead by Ms. Wagenknecht, a charismatic post-communist, this new party mirrors the AfD on migration and its stance on Russia (both countries want to reduce or stop aid to Ukraine and negotiate with Moscow), while being slightly more Left-leaning on economic issues.

While the Greens lost around 8 per cent, they will continue to set the agenda of German politics, especially since the Conservative Party under Friedrich Merz has not ruled out to govern with the Greens in a coalition government, after the next federal elections to the German Bundestag.

What is remarkable, however, is the youth vote. Especially the Greens can no longer take the youth vote for granted. Among 16 to 24 year olds the Greens lost 23 per cent, reducing them to only 11 per cent among that age group, while the AfD got 17 per cent (plus 12 per cent).

In Austria, where there already is a Green-Conservative coalition in power, the Freedom Party made it to number one for the first time in federal elections: However, expectations where that they would get between 27 and 30 per cent of the votes instead of the final count of 25.5 per cent, only 0.8 per cent ahead of the Conservative party. A strong result, but not a revolution at the polls.

The most resounding results come from France, where Marine Le Pen has garnered twice as many votes with her Rassemblement National (RN) than Macron’s Besoin d’Europe list. Macron has decided to call snap elections for June 30 and July 7, most likely hoping that in such a campaign the French will lose the courage of their own convictions and abandon Le Pen, or – which would make more sense strategically – without the Premiership and the Presidency even a very strong RN faction could not do much, almost certainly disappointing voters who then might turn back to Macron or a similar figure.

Things would be different if Le Pen’s party should manage to achieve an absolute majority, forcing Macron to appoint Jordan Bardella as Prime Minister. 

The trend of this election was one that strengthened the Right, but it is unlikely that it will lead to any significant change in the way politics is done in Brussels. It will still take some time for the consequences of this election to unfold, but there is a chance that those who were hoping for real change will be disappointed.