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The Far-Right Expands Its Turf in the EU Parliament

June 10, 20242:07

In the recent EU parliamentary elections, far-right parties made significant gains, including in France, Italy, Germany, and Austria. In reaction, French President Emmanuel Macron called for snap elections after his centrist party's poor performance against the right-wing National Rally. Other notable outcomes include strong opposition gains in Hungary and Poland, the resignation of Belgium’s Prime Minister, and significant backlash against green policies, especially from farmers who oppose the European Green Deal. 

Maša Ocvirk, Program Coordinator for the Global Europe Program, guides us through the historic results of the 2024 European Parliamentary elections. She covers the dissolution of the Parliament in France, why right wing parties have gained support in Europe, what it means for governing in the future, and what’s up ahead for the European Parliament.

Video Transcript

  • This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

    The main takeaways are that the polls were correct. We have seen a right-wing shift of the next European Parliament, with the center-right and the far-right gaining significant gains. On the other hand, the losers can be considered the centrist and the center-left parties, where the Green and the Liberal Renew political group saw significant losses. 

    The biggest upset was in France, where the National Rally party gained 30% of the total vote compared to the ruling coalition by French President Macron, only receiving 14%. This resulted in the French president's surprise announcement of the dissolution of the parliament and calling for snap elections at the end of June. 

    The uptake in support for right-wing parties across Europe can be attributed to the lack of successful management across Europe and the EU when it comes to migration, when it comes to the green transition, and when it comes to economic recovery. This is on top of a lot of voters voting as a protest vote, especially in France and Germany, against their current governments.

    While there was not a big far-right surge in terms of parliamentary seats, we do see that the distribution will make difficulties in terms of forming political alliances, especially when it comes to legislation such as migration, EU budget, and digital transition. 

    So what's next for the European Parliament? It will hold its constitutional session at the beginning of July. And in the meantime, EU leaders will meet to discuss potential nominations for top jobs in the EU institutions, including whether to nominate the current president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, for her second mandate. This will then go for a vote in the European Parliament and if she is confirmed, she will propose the next European Commission, which will also need approval from the European Parliament, expected sometime late in the fall.


Masa Ocvirk

Masa Ocvirk

Program Coordinator, Global Europe Program
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Global Europe Program

The Global Europe Program is focused on Europe’s capabilities, and how it engages on critical global issues.  We investigate European approaches to critical global issues. We examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our initiatives include “Ukraine in Europe” – an examination of what it will take to make Ukraine’s European future a reality.  But we also examine the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE, Europe’s energy security, transatlantic trade disputes, and challenges to democracy. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media.  Read more