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While populists falter, Europe receives a mixed message



Instead, millions of voters vehemently supported the green and liberal parties of the EU.

Green parties have gathered votes across Europe, especially in Germany. According to ZDF, the Greens ranked second with one third of young voters.

In the UK, a country that should have left the EU before the elections, the Liberal Democrats – who campaigned for the slogan "Bollocks to Brexit" – turned out better than expected.

And although Emmanuel Macron – a leader who has repeatedly described himself as Europe's forerunner – was just beaten in France by the nationalist Marine Le Pen, there is a silver lining for Europhiles. Macron's pro-EU centrists will join a bloc of liberals ̵

1; who, after today's success, will be the third largest faction in parliament – who will soon have power to dictate their vision of Europe to others.

While these results are good news for those who want to keep the EU alive, they are bad news for the factions that currently rule Brussels.

The Greens and Liberals do not sing from the same songbook as the two parties that dominated European politics for so long – the center-right People's Party (EPP) and the center-left Social Democrats (S & D). Like many eurosceptics, green and liberal parties want to reform and renew Europe. As Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Liberal Group in the European Parliament, told CNN recently, "We need a different Union because this Union will not survive the 21st century."

And even though the nationalists and populists did not fare so well Their success is expected to be so significant that it can not be ignored. In Italy and France, two nations that are central to the history of the EU, nationalists have won.

  The right-wing national party leader, Marine le Pen, speaks with supporters on Sunday, May 26, at the party's campaign headquarters in Paris.

In Italy, the right-wing extremist league led by Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini finished first comfortably. His success was compared to Le Pen's National Assembly in France, which has received an estimated 23.53% of the vote. In Hungary, populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban celebrates a resounding victory, which is expected to reach 52%.

In the run-up to the elections, Salvini had publicly talked about his plan to build a pan-European right – an alliance aimed at reforming the EU on his terms, rather than copying and leaving the British. It remains unclear how many MEPs he can attract, but Salvini's fellow travelers have not done well enough to make his dream come true.

Europe has spent most of a decade dealing with populist waves of the radical left and radical right. It has given the EPP and the S & D a headache that has dealt with populists with varying degrees of success.

These headaches peaked on Sunday as the grand coalition of EPP and S & D fell apart.

European voters have spoken, but not with a single vote. The EU voter turnout of 50.95% was the highest since 1994, but the only clear message for Brussels is that Europe must be reformed to survive. What this reform looks like is the next big fight.

The parliament works with deputies from different countries sitting in like-minded groups. In the coming weeks, equestrian trade in power, where MEPs decide who they will be sitting with, will be crucial to the future of the continent.

It is no secret that European politics are highly fragmented. These election results – and the challenge of reaching consensus – accurately reflect the extreme divisions that exist not only among the 28 EU Member States but also within those nations.

So it's a mixed message for Europe. The decision of the Heads of State and Government to interpret these results will have an immediate impact on the most important decisions that need to be taken.

The European Commission needs a new President, as does the European Parliament. The new composition of Europe and the decisions made on the basis of these confusing results will have a tremendous impact on both.

And while Brexit has not been on the agenda for some time now, Europe could make another important decision on 31 October, the date on which the current Brexit extension in the UK expires.

In Great Britain, where voter turnout was 37%, the Brexit setback finally struck the two main parties.

The ruling Conservatives have prevailed against Nigel Farage's new Brexit party, while the opposition Labor party has been punished for not supporting a second referendum. Both parties will have to make difficult decisions and consider moving to either end of the Brexit debate.

"There's a big message here, here's a big message, the Labor Party and the Conservative Party could learn a great lesson tonight, but I do not suppose they'll actually do it," Farage said shortly after Vote from Southampton.

Europe is stuck at the crossroads. The way forward seems more foggy than ever before, as European citizens seem to agree on scarcely one point. Europe's leaders can no longer afford to be complacent.

These results show that a leadership vacuum must be filled. The fight will not be nice.


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