From my personal experience as a two-term Member of Parliament, about to enter a third term, I can testify that election night is a unique night.
The hard work of the previous months, combined with high levels of energy, optimism and excitement merge to create a special atmosphere. In this aspect, the last election night was no different from the previous two I had experienced.
The election morning, however, was.
While the first indications of the winners and losers of the 2014 European elections started emerging on Sunday evening, the complete results became clear on Monday.
Starting with the good news.. The 2014 elections saw (for the first time since 1979) an increase in voter’s turnout by 0.11%; this gives the average turnout across the 28 members at 43.11%.
On the other hand, the outcome of the elections is less than pleasing.
108 Members, or 1/7 of the next legislature, will be represented by MEPs who object to Europe and the values it stands for.
In France Marine Le Pen’s National Front came in first, ahead of the centre-right UMP and the Socialist Party, and is expected to win about 1/3 of the 74 seats allocated to France.
In the UK, for the first time since 1910 neither the Labour nor the Conservatives have won the election. The weekend’s victory belonged to Mr Farage’s UKIP party, who will get about 24 seats.
In Germany, the anti-euro (but pro-EU) Alternative für Deutschland AFD took 7 seats. That is 4 seats more than the pro-European FDP who suffered a defeat. The The German neo-Nazi NPD will be represented by one member in the next EP.
Speaking of neo-Nazi parties, the Greek Golden Dawn party is set to enter the European Parliament, winning 2 seats.
In my country Poland, the opposition Law and Justice (PIS) party, who sit with the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group won, took 19 seats. The new anti-EU “New Right” will have four representatives in the assembly.
In addition to the above mentioned countries, the next legislature will include seats for populist MEPs from Italy, the Netherlands (although Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party suffered a blow), Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Finland and Lithuania.
If there is a ray of optimism, it is in the fact that Eurosceptics are still divided between the left and right, and it remains to be seen whether they can reach the required 25 members from seven countries required to form a new political group.
But if they do reach this goal and unite, with 108 Members, they can form the 3rd largest group in the EP.
The implications of that are grave. Not only this will give them power to block legislation but imagine Ms Le Pen or Mr Farage sitting in the EP bureau, getting involved with the administrative decisions.
Imagine members of this group leading committees and delegations.
Not only would the Parliament’s credibility be at stake but so will our institution’s functioning and work as a whole.
Is this really the “new Europe” voters want…???
Greetings from the European Parliament,
Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg