EU Parliament election: skeptics boom may open to an intergroup alliance

The Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) won once again the majority in the European Parliament. With an overall turnout of 43,09%[1], European citizens gave them 213 seats. 191 seats will be allocated to the group of Socialists & Democrats. To follow the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats and elected members not allied to any of the political groups both with 64 seats, The Greens (52), the European United Left (52), Non-attached Members (41), Europe of Freedom and Democracy (38).

The number of seats attributed to the EPP should not deceive and let think Europeans rewarded them with stability and continuity. It should be noticed, in fact, that the strongest political message sent to the leaders of the European Union is the success of those political forces which, though in different ways, have shown their euroskepticism. A skepticism shown sometimes towards the EU itself as overcoming of national sovereignty or towards the Euro, and in other circumstances by a strong dissent against the policies implemented by the European institutions during the year of economic crisis.

Several political earthquakes shook Europe at the opening of the polls. Le seisme, le tremblement de terre (earthquake indeed), as several French and European newspapers[2] defined the triumph of Marine Le Pen National Front in France, is maybe the most shocking for its domestic consequences too. President Hollande will be surely forced to change the course of his government policies to regain consensus and stem the advance of Marie Le Pen. Immediately after the formalization of the results she asked for new elections to claim greater representation into the national Parliament.

The success of the UKIP in the United Kingdom is sure an historical one if we consider that neither Tories nor Whigs have won a national election for the first time since 1908[3]. Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, has been conducting for years a tough campaign against the European integration asking that the British would be given the opportunity to go out the EU by a referendum. This instance, the same Marie Le Pen would enact if elected as Head of State, is putting strong pressure on the Prime Minister David Cameron[4] just one year before the election in which he will run for a second mandate.

Euroskeptics from the right wing also won in Poland and Denmark, while Greece was the oasis of the left wing because Syriza, led by Alexis Tsipras, conquered the majority of the seats. Given that some of these parties have always been hostiles to the integration, seen as the loss of some important prerogatives of the national sovereignty, one can argue that the most of them just want to reshape the EU policies in order to make them closer to the citizens’ needs. It’s the case of Syriza, the Five Star Movement in Italy or several movements in Spain (Coalicion Izquierda Plural, Podemos, Union Progreso y Democracia). Particularly in Spain, where the crisis hit very hard, the outcome of the polls showed a highly fragmented scenario[5].

The European bureaucracy cannot avoid to take into account the strength of the outcry that comes in particular from the Mediterranean countries but will also have to take into account the presence of the protest movements in the countries of northern Europe such as the Scandinavian countries. Germany, the pillar and the pin of the European Union will have to reconsider the economic and social measures it has imposed (although it may not seem politically correct talking about imposition by Angela Merkel) to the EU members. When you go to see the requests that come from parties that have registered more success (the French National Front) or just a growth of their consents (the Italian Northern League), you can notice how important is the issue of immigration.

The socio-economic difficulties caused by the economic crisis have tightened up some positions on immigration policies. A historical coincidence, that between the crisis of the old continent and the political changes in Africa, which made the flow of desperate people who arrive on the shores of southern Europe, especially in Italy, seemingly unsustainable[6]. This is just one of the issues that Bruxelles has to deepen in order to strengthen the tie between the EU countries, not allowing to the defects of the union to definitely compromise the dream of the founders.

A coherent and sincerely shared foreign policy, an effective and humane migration one, an economic view that takes better care of its citizens are only few of the challenges the new Commission and the new Parliament are going to face. And the appointment of the Commission President is the first political node the European leaders have to deal with. For the first time these elections introduced the possibility to indicate the President before the vote but the result, with no absolute majority for any group, seems to damage both Juncker and Schulz. An intergroup alliance should be found in the Parliament, or once again the decision will be taken by the Council of Heads of State and Government.


Francesco Angelone

Master’s degree in International Relations (LUISS “Guido Carli”)



[1] Official figures are available at

[2] Corriere della Sera (2014), Terremoto Francia: le Pen al 25%. Boom euroscettici in Gran Bretagna, 25th May,; T. Oliveau (2014), «Choc», «séisme», «big bang» : les mots qui accompagnent la victoire du FN, Le Figaro, 27th May,

[3] P. Wintour, N. Watt (2014), Ukip wins European elections with ease to set off political earthquake, The Guardian, 26th May,

[4] B. Emmott (2014), La vittoria dell’Ukip? Un pugno in faccia da un partito da pub, La Stampa, 27th May, p. 21.

[5] C. E. Cué (2014), Pierde el bipartidismo tras el fuerte castigo de los electores a PP y PSOE, El Pais, 26th May,

[6] F. Panzetti (2014), La politica di immigrazione e asilo dell’Unione europea: i ritardi, le esitazioni e le svolte necessarie, Italianieuropei, n.1.