With each passing election, the European Parliamentary elections becomes more divided and more volatile over domestic and foreign policy issues. While the main competitors were center-right and center-left in the past elections, today there are more varying groups in the parliament from far-right and eurosceptics to eco-left and anti-establishment parties. This trend is a spillover of the local politics which has gotten more fluid and changeable in the past decade.
Main topics of the election wereformed by migration, unemployment, climate change, the future of the EU, and the Brexit. While some parties opposed previous EU policies, now there are many parties who are openly against the EU. Prior to the election formation of the new far-right group European Alliance of People and Nations (EAPN) also renewed the efforts of the far-right in the elections. On the other hand, pro-EU case was also strengthened by French President Emmanuel Macron's proposals to rejuvenate the EU spirit and his En Marche movements alliance with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group.
This split and fraction is a direct result of the progressive and reactionary split in the country level politics. In many countries the political parties can be divided into two groups, those who are in support of globalisation and free market and those who had losses due to globalisation. In France, the National Front based its campaign on the abolishment of common agricultural policy, revoking free movement for workers from other EU members, and reestablishment of the national border controls, all of which was rationalized as giving priority back to France instead of the EU. Other right wing parties have similar proposals, like the German AfD, and gathered votes from farmers who cannot compete with imports, from workers who lost their jobs due to cheap goods from other countries or due to privatization and etc. In most countries the battle against the reactionary parties fell to either liberals or to the Greens. However, while Danish Venstre was able to topple Danish People's Party, in France President Macron's En Marche failed to repeat its success against the National Front.
As the only country with 96 seats, German elections, combined with French, has always been the center of European Parliamentary elections. However, 2019 proved that it can be very different from the German general elections. Of the parties represented in the Bundestag, the Union got %28.8, the Greens %20.5, the SDP .8, the AfD .9, the Linke %5.5 and the FDP %5.4. Several smaller parties that are not represented in the Bundestag also entered the EU Parliament, as Germany has no threshold in the EU Parliament elections. Die PARTEI, Freie Wählers, Tiershutztartei, Volt Europa, Piratenpartei, Familienpartei, and Ökologisch-Demokratische Partei all entered the European Parliament from Germany.
Despite losing seven percent, the Union kept its position and hauled itself as the won. However the true winner in Germany is the Greens. The Greens surged an incredible 9 percent, and not only surpassed the SDP as the main opposition party, it also became the second party in Germany. Compared to many other countries where the far right made substantial gains, German politics derived from the general tendency in Europe. While, Alternative für Deutschland increased its votes compared to 2014 elections, its percentage is lower than the 2017 German Federal Elections, so in a way, it can be seen as a lose. While mentioning the votes, the voter turnout should also be mentioned. In the past years, the interest in the European Parliament elections were getting lower with each election and dropped to %48 in 2014. However, this year it rose to %61, passing %60 for the first time in the last 25 years. This can be seen as a result of the issues that are concerning the whole of Europe and the interest of the far-right in European Parliament elections and the reaction against them. Issues like migration, the Brexit, the future of the Schengen Area and many other problems were the main drives behind sudden voter engagement in the election.
The Green Party
Formed in 1993 by the union of the Green parties of the unified Germany, the Bündnis 90 - Die Grünne is a political party that advocates more eco friendly politics and is positioned on the left of the political spectrum. Since its foundation party has been split into two groups; realos, the center wing of the party, and fundis, the fundementalist/idealist part. While fundis group promotes a more ideological and uncompromising stance, the realos are in favour of compromises and coalitions in order to get into coalitions and challenge the center right parties' policies. This culminated with the Greens formation of a coalition government with the SDP in 1998. However, since then the Greens did not manage to get into coalition in the federal level again. Yet, in states like Baden-Württemberg and Hessen the Greens have established themselves as permanent coalition members.
While the Greens does not garner the favor of the liberals and the conservatives due to their demand for a migrant friendly open society and a green economy, in the past decade it became the main party among the German youth. According to Statista, among the voters who are aged 30 or below, nearly one in every three people votes for the Greens. One of the main reasons for this trend is the perceived weakness of the Union and the SDP in front of the AfD. Young voters who are not affiliated with those established parties turned to the Greens as a more serious opponent against the rising far right. If the Greens can keep this trend, they can easily take the place of the SDP as the main representative of the German left.
After the Elections
After the elections, the far-right parties in the parliament found the Identity and Democracy (ID) group. However, the elections were not as successful as they hoped and the initial number of MEPs in the ID is just 73. Furthermore, the ID was not able to all of the European far right, like the Polish Law and Justice Party. Similarly, En Marche and Alde's union was not able to meet the expectations as En Marche fall behind the National Front in the elections. However, although not as significant as in Germany, in many prominent EU countries green parties saw an increase in their votes. Also center parties which did not include topics like climate change to their agendas started to integrate some green policies to their election campaigns.
After the elections, the EPP initially suggested German politician Manfred Weber as its candidate for the President of the European Parliament. However, neither liberals nor the socialist parties supported Weber. Major groups later agreed upon the Italian David Sassoli from socialists. It should also be noted that after the elections Weber said he was ready to sit and talk with the Greens for support. This was the exact opposite of his party, the CSU, which ruled over the Greens in Bavaria and formed a coalition with Free Voters. Main reason for Weber's failure was shown as his lack of experience, which made many reluctant. Among the most important topics that is awaiting Sassoli is the Brexit. Since the referendum from three years ago, Britain's quit has become an unsolvable problem. Other issues like the future of Schengen Area or an immigration ban are not expected to make into headlines due to far rights relative failure in the elections.
The elections also confirmed the fears about rising populism on both left and right and the shift to the wings of the political spectrum. Italy shifted to the right wing populist Northern League, however despite losing votes the left populist Five Star still maintains a strong presence. In Germany, both the AfD and the Greens passed threshold in every state. This historic landmark destroyed the perception that only the Union and the SPD were national level parties, and the rest were rising and falling on regional level.