BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Pro-European parties kept a firm grip on the EU parliament on Monday as liberal and green parties matched a surge by eurosceptic parties, who won control of a quarter of seats in European elections for the first time.
The far-right and nationalists in Italy, Britain, France and Poland came out on top in their national votes on Sunday, shaking up politics at home but failing to dramatically alter the balance of pro-European power in EU assembly.
Facing a more hostile Russia, China’s growing economic might and an unpredictable U.S. President Donald Trump, many Europeans appeared to heed a message that the EU needed to stick together to protect workers’ rights, free speech and democracy.
“We are going to build a social Europe, a Europe that protects,” Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose revival among Spanish voters offset a fall in center-left support in Germany, told a news conference late on Sunday night.
Investor sentiment was bolstered by the smaller than expected gains by populist parties. However, the drop in support for the main center-right and center-left blocs could complicate policymaking and require broader cross-party agreements and discipline, market analysts said.