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Eurosceptic 'earthquake' rocks EU elections

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Eurosceptic 'earthquake' rocks EU elections

Eurosceptic and far-right parties have seized ground in elections to the European parliament, in what France's PM called a "political earthquake".

UK Independence Party and French National Front both performed strongly. The three big centrist blocs all lost seats, though still hold the majority.

The outcome means a greater say for those who want to cut back the EU's powers, or abolish it completely.

UK PM David Cameron said the public was "disillusioned" with the EU.

Mr Cameron said their message was "received and understood".

French President Francois Hollande has called an urgent meeting of his cabinet, as Prime Minister Manuel Valls promised tax cuts a day after the results which he described as "a shock, an earthquake".

Chancellor Angela Merkel - whose party topped the poll in Germany - described the far right victories as "remarkable and regrettable" and said the best response was to boost economic growth and jobs.

Jose Manuel Barroso, outgoing president of the European Commission, stressed that the pro-EU blocs still had "a very solid and workable majority".

He said a "truly democratic debate" was needed to address the concerns of those who did not vote, or "voted in protest".

EU supporters will be pleased that election turnout was slightly higher, at 43.1%, according to provisional European Parliament figures.

That would be the first time turnout had not fallen since the previous election - but would only be an improvement of 0.1%.

"The people have spoken loud and clear," a triumphant Marine Le Pen told cheering supporters at National Front (FN) party headquarters in Paris.

"They no longer want to be led by those outside our borders, by EU commissioners and technocrats who are unelected. They want to be protected from globalisation and take back the reins of their destiny."

Provisional results suggested the FN could win 25 European Parliament seats - a stunning increase on its three in 2009.



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