The Lowdown on The European Elections
The European election results are in and things don't look pretty. It sounds wrong to say it, but anti-Europe parties won the European elections in many European countries. But of course that's not the whole story. For your pleasure, your pain and your enlightenment, Cafébabel has conducted a colossal European vox pop...
Slovakia, Tomas Mrva
We did it again! For the third time in a row, Slovakia had the lowest turnout in the EU. This time, we sank to an incredible 13%. Apparently, Slovaks are interested in the EU only when it’s about getting EU funds. The politicians have again proved that they failed in explaining what the significance of the EU is and why the European Parliament matters. The 13 lucky new MEPs are perhaps quite content they secured a well-paid job without breaking sweat.
After the European elections, sadness and disappointment abound; sadness and disappointment at having been unable to speak to and convince the 25% who voted against the moderate parties and voted against a Europe which they don’t understand and which they don’t experience in day to day life. As a member of the European generation, this gives me an even greater desire to do everything possible to reach this section of the population, to listen to them and to convince them to see in Europe a future and in immigration an opportunity. I feel sad that our European generation lives side by side with this backwards-thinking generation that has folded in on itself. The impact of these elections won’t be visible in our everyday life in the short term, but it will make itself felt in the longer-term regarding peace; social peace and peace between states.
Scotland, Ceris Aston
My friends and I watched the results of the European elections with a sort of fatalistic horror. Far-right, Eurosceptic party UKIP gained its first ever seat in Scotland, with 10% of the vote (the SNP and Labour have 2 seats each, the Tories have 1.) Only about a third of Scotland’s electorate could be bothered to vote, so UKIP’s measly 3% was enough. More worrying still is the fact that UKIP came out ahead overall in Britain, beating both of the established parties. In Scotland, many left-wing and centrist voters are seeing this overall shift to the right as a compelling reason to vote Yes in the Independence Referendum. I hope people will actually turn out for that…
England, Chris Bond
UKIP is the largest British party in the European Parliament and the Lib Dems now have just 1 MEP. One hundred years ago, just before Europe tore itself apart, the Liberal Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey said prophetically, "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime." I hope sincerely that this election result is merely a temporary fit of absence of mind, rather than being indicative of the beginning of a return to the nationalism of Sir Edward's time that went on to destroy Europe twice in the twentieth century, but part of me cannot be sure. Lest people forget, the liberal consensus has guaranteed the peace and widespread prosperity of Europe for the longest continuous period in its history. I urge all those who cherish freedom, pluralism and peace not to abandon the cause. The lamp of liberalism must be kept alight, for while the shadows may grow long, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
Italy, Marco Frattaruolo
Renzi triumphs, Grillo falls back and Berlusconi disappears. There is an air of post-election excitement in the streets of Rome, where the kiosks are under assault by the left readers and voters who want to buy a copy of “LaRepubblica" and “L'Unità” to put in their room. After one of the loudest and most confrontational election campaigns of the last few decades, Renzi’s Democratic Party won with a resounding 40%. You can’t find a score like that for the Italian left in any history book.
Germany, Lilian Pithan
German voters can wipe the cold sweat from their foreheads! Compared to the European rupture to the right, the German polls come as soft as a cotton ball. The Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats came joint top. The liberals came at the very bottom, while lots of German voters still support the Green Party. Compared to other countries like France, Denmark and co., the advance of the eurosceptics in Germany is relatively tame. Do the Germans live in a multicultural bubble? If so, it is thanks to Angie Merkel superstar, a positive economic situation and a Europhile electorate in Germany ?
I did not even participate in the voting this year as I did not know who to vote for. I am utterly disappointed by the current government in Poland, whereas the parties that participated in the elections have been in power for the last 20 years or so and I knew they would win anyway. I am quite happy that the New Right won some seats in the EU parliament not because I am fond of Janusz Korwin Mikke and his highly outrageous views, but because I feel that the political scene in Poland (and in Europe in general) needs a breath of fresh air. The outcome of the voting proves that Europe is slowly moving away from the left wing.
Austria, Alicia Prager
The Christian Democrats topped the polls in Austria, the Social Democrats (SPÖ) came second – both won five seats for the European parliament. The extreme-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) were a long way behind, but could win 7% more than in 2009. Looking at the last national elections (Nationalratswahl) it could have even been worse. The Green Party won 15% of the vote. In Vienna they even came second behind the SPÖ. The Christian Democrats only came fourth in the capital, well behind the FPÖ. It was, however, surprising that the two liberal parties came last. The new NEOS party polled well below expectations.
Slovenia, Jasna Rajnar Petrovic
The results? Depressing and stale, they left a disgusting aftertaste in my mouth. Firstly because the Slovenian bureaucracy didn't let me vote, and then because the measly 16% that attended mostly voted for the party whose leader is a convicted criminal and Mr Lojze Peterle, who makes me gag everytime I see his creepy face, who wants to ban abortion again, is going to sit in the European parliament again. It actually makes me feel like I don't want to go back home.
Spain, Susanna Arus
In Spain the two main parties (the conservative People’s Party and the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) didn’t just slip up; they fell into a precipice. For the first time they got less than 50% of the vote. The evening’s revelation was Podemos, a left-wing party founded just a few months ago. They burst onto the scene, winning five seats. Not bad!? The other talking point in Spain was Catalonia, where the independence party Republican Left of Catalonia won. Catalan participation rose 10% and pro-referendum parties won 55% of the vote, a loud and clear message saying; we want to vote.
I didn’t vote because I forgot to deal with all the bureaucratic stuff before the elections- I live abroad and it's more complicated to vote. I don’t really know who won, but I like the results in Latvia - people I would have voted for are going to Europe i.e. Dombrovskis and not Zdanoka.