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Some lessons from Europeans

(B2) When we see the European election results, the results are clear: the European Parliament is sliding even further to the right. The left (PES, Greens, Ultra Left and Communists) only has around 35% of seats. The classic right (European People's Party, new eurosceptic party, liberals and democrats) gathers 61% of the seats. NB: These are figures to be validated later with a provisional ranking of certain parties.

As for theabstention, it is less pronounced than expected. Two points less compared to 2004. But the slide remains continuous. And it will be necessary to study without delay the means of making this election more “attractive”, the issues clearer.

The overall winner is undoubtedly the European People's Party. It widens the gap with the Socialist Party (around 120 seats, compared to 70 today). And it is only with the announced split of the Eurosceptics (British Conservatives, Czechs) that this gap would be reduced to 90-100 seats. He therefore has a wide choice of alliances. And can reach almost an absolute majority with just the Liberals or the Eurosceptic Party.

On the right, always, the new eurosceptic party could become the fourth largest party – everything will depend on its “pickup field”. It would thus reach around 90 seats.

THEfar right which manages to establish itself in several countries, particularly in the United Kingdom (with 2 seats), could constitute a group. Even if in France and Belgium, two of its usual strongholds, it is clearly declining (-5 points in Belgium, – 3 points in France). Everything will in fact depend on the ability of the different extremist parties to get along. They could then
cross the bar of the 25 deputies necessary.

Libertas lists don't work. 0,92% in the Czech Republic, less than 5% in Ireland. All this noise for nothing.

On the left, the fall of the PS weighs down the results.

Le Socialist Party crashes almost everywhere, especially in large countries. In the United Kingdom, there was a spectacular collapse, going from 22% to 15%, with 11 seats (-8 seats) (**). The Brown government suffered the wear and tear of time and the MPs' spending campaign which harmed it. The fall is general wherever it is in power, alone, or in coalition: brutal in Portugal (-5 seats) and in the Netherlands (-4 seats), serious in Spain (-4 seats, -5 points), in Belgium (- 2 seats) and in Germany (-1 seat but from an already bad 2004 result). The PES is only progressing in Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic and Greece. The surprising fact is also France, where the PS in opposition, which had until now more or less won all the last local elections (regional, departmental, municipal), normally had the way clear. But, as in 2002, as in 2007, he failed in the national election. A failure as serious as that of the British. Because it only barely reaches 16%, preceding the Greens by a small head... In fact, the result is quite simply reversed compared to 2004 (the PS had achieved almost 29% and the UMP 16%).

The Green are the big winner on the left, now clearly ahead of the ultra-left, with good progress in several countries: spectacular in France where the Cohn Bendit list is
equal game with the PS (14 seats), but also clear in Belgium (+ 1 seat), in Sweden (+ 1 seat), etc. The group in the EP could reach (or exceed) 50 seats.

THEultra-left derives little benefit from the crisis. His group remains with a similar workforce: just over 40 seats.

Comment: Although there is not yet a clear European electorate, we can identify a few trends: faced with the crisis, voters chose a reassuring choice, the choice of the good father of the family, the Christian Democrats; the personalization of lists (Cohn Bendit in France, Dedecker in Belgium, etc.) makes it possible to attract votes. And we also identify territorial differences. In this context, the choice of the PSE – by not presenting an alternative to the EPP, which had clearly indicated its choice for Barroso, or even by rallying behind this candidate – is a serious error: because it gives the assent that we shares the same policy, and it goes against the electorate. By refusing the personalization of the ballot, believing that with a few ideas distilled here and there, that would be enough.

(**) BBC forecast


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).