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Nationalists rise in EU Parliament vote, but EU parties remain dominant



BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Pro-European parties have maintained a firm grip on the European Parliament, preliminary results from the block elections showed on Monday, although Eurosceptic opponents saw strong gains.

On Sunday, the right and nationalists in Italy, Britain, France and Poland came into their national voices and shook their policies at home, but dramatically changed the balance of pro-European power in the EU Assembly.

At EU level, the preliminary results published at. 00:00 GMT on Monday, the Socialists, the Green, Liberal and Conservative with 506 of the 751 seats in parliament helping to pass laws for more than 500 million Europeans.

Although political decisions are likely to be difficult given the breakdown of a "major coalition" of the center right and center back, the outcome protects the EU from anti-establishment forces seeking to break up the world's largest trading block.

Spanish and Portuguese bond yields hovered around record glows as the detention of a strong majority in the EU Parliament by pro-EU parties strengthened the investor's mood.

"We need to build a social Europe, a Europe that protects." Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose revival among Spanish voters outweighs a fall in center-left support in Germany, told a press conference late on Sunday evening.

President Emmanuel Macron's Renaissance platform, built on the ruins of French center-left and middle-right parties, added gains to liberals at EU level, while supporting the green steps, giving four groups mid-way between the EU and the EU thirds of the seats.

BREXIT SURGE

Scream of "Europe is back" among voters waving blue and gold EU flags outside the European Parliament in Brussels on Sunday evening also showed the ebullient mood of Europeans who were very pleased with a significantly higher turnout across the block.

Revenue in the world's second largest selection rose to 51

% from 43% in 2014, the highest in 20 years. It was the first reversal in a trend of declining participation since the first direct EU vote in 1979 and can muffle talk of a "democratic deficit" that undermines the legitimacy of the EU.

A stronger voice for the liberals and the greens could see that the next EU leader is seeking a tougher line of regulation of polluting industries, taxing multinational corporations or demanding trading partners helping to keep climate change – as well as pushing its own members especially in the east, not to harm civil rights.

But dissatisfaction with the European project, which has fought through economic and migratory crises over the past five years, could be seen across the block.

Riding a wave of anger at the British Government's failure to take over the United Kingdom out of the European Union, Nigel Farage's Brexit Party won a resounding victory.

The result showed that Britain was even more polarized over its Brexit divorce, nearly three years ago a 2016 referendum in which it voted 52% to 48% to leave.

Socialist Party candidate for European Parliament elections Josep Borrell and Spanish-speaking Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez address the media after the election results at the party's headquarters in Madrid on May 27, 2019. REUTERS / Susana Vera

In Italy, the right-wing league was the largest party in Italy. , which gives greater authority to its leader Matteo Salvini, who is pushing for tax cuts in breach of EU budget rules.

Poland's Eurosceptic ruling law and right party (PiS) also came forward. In France, Marine Le Pen's anti-immigration anti-Brussels National Rally edged Macro's pro-European centrist movement.

Fight for EU post

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel lost conservative votes five years ago as the far right Alternative to Germany. But green grabbed the headlines, almost doubling their vote to finish the second, in front of the ruling Social Democrats.

Preliminary results for the EU Parliament made EPP at 179 seats, ahead of the S&D of 150, with the Liberals of 107, up 39 seats, and Green of 70, up 18. On the right, two groups in the Parliament were well over 100 seats, a 40% jump from 2014.

European Parliament elections will begin weeks and possibly months of hard negotiations on who will run EU institutions. Officials of the four EU-EU centers were quick to talk about broad coalition plans.

"We are facing a shrinking center," said Manfred Weber, the German leading candidate from EPP. "So what I want to ask us to do is join our forces to work together from now on."

Parliament has insisted that one of its own winning members should succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission. But many national leaders meeting in Brussels on Tuesday have said they will not be bound by this demand.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Weber is especially opposed to opposition, having never had a state office – although he insists that his long experience in the European Parliament make him the democratic choice.

Frans Timmermans, Juncker's Dutch deputy, who led the Social Democrats' campaign, warned against putting "Thronespil" over top jobs ahead of efforts to create a joint program among parties who would push for a stronger Union.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald, Gabriela Baczynska, Alissa de Carbonnel, Daphne Psaledakis, Foo Yun Chee, Robin Emmott and Francesco Guarascio, Jan Strupczewski; Further reporting by Elena Rodriguez in Madrid; Editing by Jon Boyle

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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