The results of the parliamentary elections for the European Union were a loss for the European Union itself. Despite pro-EU parties reportedly maintaining two-thirds of seats in the parliament, euroskeptics and nationalists solidified their power and made gains, signaling division and challenges soon to come.
In Italy, the anti-immigration and nationalist party, Lega Nord (League) Party reportedly secured a victory of 28 seats. Following the win, the leader, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said, “A new Europe is born.”
“As far as I’m concerned, if the League wins nothing changes in Italy, everything will change in Europe, starting from tomorrow,” he added.
In the United Kingdom, the 6-week-old Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage, had a comfortable victory, securing a majority with 31.7% and 28 setas. Farage called the results “one hell of an achievement.”
In an interview, Farage said if the U.K. does not leave the European Union by October 31, his party will “go on to a general election and stun everybody there too.”
Farage repeated his warning on Twitter. “Never before in British politics has a party just 6 weeks old won a national election,” he wrote. “If Britain does not leave the EU on October 31, these results will be repeated at a general election. History has been made. This is just the beginning.”
In France, Marine Le Pen’s far-right and anti-EU National Right party performed worse than it had in 2014, but still managed to win 22 seats. Le Pen’s party slightly outperformed President Emmanuel Macron’s party, which won 21 seats.
“The French people have clearly punished the president tonight, and taught him a lesson in humility,” said Jordan Bardella, the 23-year-old who led the party’s list. “Tonight, it’s him and his policies who have been rejected.”
Macron’s party did not frame the results as a loss and instead pointed to the environmenta; Green party making gains as encouraging.
“It is clear from this result that the environment is a real concern for the French people,” said Amélie de Montchalin, the secretary of state for European affairs, according to Politico. “The president made it the first priority of the Renaissance list, and we will be able to work with the Greens.”
German Chancellor Angel Merkel’s coalition, concerned about the results, is holding “crisis talks” on Monday, reported France 24. Merkel’s coalition was given their worst score in European election history due to the environmental party, the Greens, receiving significant support.
Voter turnout from the 2014 election to this year’s election was reportedly up from 43% to 51%.
Pope Francis expressed his concerns about the results of the elections and warned against fearing migrants.
“The signs of meanness we see around us heighten our fear of ‘the other’, the unknown, the marginalized, the foreigner,” he said on Monday, which also happens to be the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
“To some extent, the fear is legitimate, also because the preparation for this encounter is lacking,” the Pope said of Europe’s approach to the migrant issue. “But the problem is not that we have doubts and fears. The problem is when they condition our way of thinking and acting to the point of making us intolerant, closed and perhaps even – without realising it – racist.”