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Pro-Europe voting fragments, but limits nationalist gains in EU elections

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Parties who have committed themselves to strengthening the European Union two-thirds of the seats in the European Parliament showed official projections from the block elections on Sunday, although far right and nationalist opponents saw strong gains.

Emmanuel Emmanuel Macron, who has staked his presidency to persuade Europeans that the EU is responding to the challenges of an uncertain globalizing world economy, took a personal hit when his centrist movement was edged into second place by Marine Le Pen & # 39 ; anti-immigration, anti-Brussels National Rally.

But the renaissance of Makrin, built on the ruins of center-left and middle-right parties, added gains for liberals at EU level, as turnout sharply overclocked the block. Along with an increase in green, four teams occupying the midfield between the EU and the EU lost less than 20 seats and secured 505 seats out of 751

, according to a project by the European Parliament.

It can complicate political decision-making as a two-party "big coalition" of the Conservative European People's Party (EPP) and Social Democrats (S&D) who no longer have a majority. The Liberals, with over 100 seats and green, with nearly 70, will have a big word.

But it also hopes Le Pen, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and others who have attempted to interfere with attempts to create closer EU integration. Salvini called the election a mandate for a shake-up in Brussels.

But tensions among nationalists, which also include the Polish and Hungarian ruling parties and the new brexit party of the British campaign Nigel Farage, have limited their influence on politics.

"The big thing is that the winnings for the extremists were not very big," said Guntram Wolff, head of Bruges' financial tank in Brussels, to Reuters.

Luxembourg Liberal Prime Minister Xavier Bettel tweeted: "Europe wins! Voter selection is very high and pro-European parties are the strongest."


EU officials welcomed a 50% turnout , up from 43% in 2014. It was the first reverse in a trend of declining participation since the first direct EU vote in 1979.

At the peak of 20 years, this turnout may be a "democratic deficit" that undermines the legitimacy of the EU.

When the Union faces unprecedented slights from the United States under President Donald Trump, hostility from Russia under President Vladimir Putin and anxiety over China's growing trade power, revival of citizens' interest, though subdued, and the inclusion of its critics, welcome for supporters of the blocks.

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.

French High Court National Rally (Rassemblement National) Party Leader Marine Le Pen talks to the media after the first performance in Paris, France on May 26, 2019. REUTERS / Charles Platiau

& GREEN WAVE & # 39;

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives lost seven percentage points from five years ago, when the far right Alternative to Germany got four points to 11%. But the headlines went to the Greens, which almost doubled their vote to finish the second at 21%, ahead of the Social Democrats.

Britain voted Thursday, but began publishing results only on Sunday. The BBC said Farage's Brexit Party was set to a major victory, reflecting the frustration that Britain is still in the EU, two months after Brexit was due.

Farage is determined that his parliamentarians will not sit too long in Brussels – even though the drama of Prime Minister Theresa Maj's abandonment, Brexit's fate still leaves much uncertainty.

In France, an official in Macron's team acknowledged "some disappointment" that the president's renaissance movement of approx. 22% had lost the lead to Le Pen's National Rally, which closed 24% votes. Pro-EU parties were still in the majority, however, with the French green coming third.

Added to the other site of their German counterparts, which gave credibility to the expectations of a "green wave" that will affect Brussels policy in the coming years.

Parliament's projection made EPP of 179 seats in front of the S&D of 152, with the Liberals of 105, 36 seats, and Greens of 69, up 17. On the right, two groups in the current parliament had combined 111 seats, one 40 % jump from 2014.

European Parliament elections will begin weeks and possibly months of hard negotiations on who will run EU institutions. Party spokesmen for the four pro-EU center parties were quick to talk about plans for a broad coalition.

"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."

Slideshow (29 Images)

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

Weber is particularly 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.

Further reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Alissa de Carbonnel, Daphne Psaledakis, Foo Yun Chee, Robin Emmott and Francesco Guarascio; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing Frances Kerry

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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