03 June 2014
Voting for the European Parliament elections took place across the European Union on 22-25 May, for its mandate 2014-2019. All of the results can be found on the European Parliament elections web-site (which includes results for 2009 for comparative purposes – see link at end).
Wales has four of the 73 MEPs returned by the UK, and these are (in order of share of the vote in Wales – shown in brackets):
- Derek Vaughan, Welsh Labour (28.2%): this will be his second term in the European Parliament having first been elected in 2009
- Nathan Gill, UKIP (27.6%): he replaces John Bufton who was the first UKIP MEP to represent Wales (2009-2014 period)
- Dr Kay Swinburne, Welsh Conservatives (17.4%): like Derek this will be Kay’s second term following her election in 2009
- Jill Evans, Plaid Cymru (15.3%): the longest serving of the four Welsh MEPs this will be Jill Evans’ fourth continuous term since she was originally elected in 1999
UKIP (24 MEPs) came top in the UK as a whole with 27.5% an increase of 11% points on its 2009 results, and winning its first seat in Scotland. Labour (20 MEPs) was second with 25.4% an increase of 9.7% points on its vote in 2009 performance, whilst the Conservatives (19 MEPs) came third with 24% of the vote. The Liberal Democrats (1 MEP) came fifth with 6.9% of the vote, falling behind the Green Party (which has 3 MEPs) even though the latter’s share of 7.9% was down on its 2009 share of 8.6%. SNP has 2 seats.
There will be 751 MEPs in the new European Parliament, representing the 28 EU Member States. During June the new political groups will be formed. Based on the political groups that were in place for the 2009-2014 period the European People’s Party (EPP) – centre-right coalition – will be the largest party (with 214 seats, compared to 274 in 2009), with the Socialists and Democrats (of which the UK Labour Party is a member) coming second with 191 MEPs (a drop of 5 MEPs compared to 2009). Plaid Cymru sits in the Greens/European Free Alliance Group and its numbers drop from 57 to 52 MEPs. The UK Conservatives will be the largest party in the European Conservatives and Reform Group, although the overall number of this group will not become clearer until the various negotiations over new groups takes place. The 24 UKIP members are likely to continue in the European Freedom and Democracy Group although its membership may also change during the negotiations.
Looking at the results in individual countries the most striking is the 25% share (24 MEPs) secured by the French Front National, far right and anti-immigrant party, a jump of 19% points on 2009, giving it 24 MEPs. The Danish People’s Party, another anti-immigrant party, had a similar increase also topping the polls in Denmark with 27% of the vote.
A number of far right parties did not perform as well as expected in some EU countries, for example in the Netherlands (Freedom Party – 13.2%), Finland (True Finns – 12.9%) and Hungary (Jobbik – 14.7%) all took lower (although significant) shares of the vote than had been projected.
In Greece the far left Syriza anti-austerity party, topped the poll with 27% of the vote, beating the Greek Prime Minister’s party into second place), whilst far right Golden Dawn got 9.4%
Spain also saw a populist anti-austerity vote gain ground, with Podemos (‘We can’) taking around 8% of the vote, whilst there was a big drop in the two main establishment parties: the People’s Party (down over 16% points on 2009 to 26% of the vote) and Socialist Party (down over 15% points on 2009 to 23% of the vote). As a result the Socialist leader resigned.
What happens next? Well, during June the new MEPs will establish their offices, form political groups, and discuss appointments to the various posts in the new Parliament. The first formal session will take place on 1 July where they will elect a new European Parliament President and appoint Vice Presidents. Following this there will be Committee/Political Group meetings in the second week of July and a second plenary in the third week of July. One of the first pieces of business will be the election of European Commission President (scheduled for the second plenary in July – contingent on the European Council agreeing a nominee at the end of June) and then later in the autumn the new College of Commissioners (political leadership of the European Commission) will be appointed. The UK candidate is not yet known, however, there were strong rumours in UK/EU media that Andrew Lansley MP (Leader of the House) is the Prime Minister’s likely nominee. There will also be a new President of the European Council from November.