Dear Partners in thought,
While we liberals (in the European sense) can be shocked at Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party coming out first on their home turfs in the European Parliamentary elections, let’s not forget that there was a great likelihood of that to happen. However, especially for Le Pen, her pole position is truly marginal – so a disappointment for them – as it could have been as was expected by them a wider lead. The key point is that pro-EU parties, whether they are centrist, center left, center right, Lib Dems or Greens have still won a comfortable aggregate majority both locally and at the European Parliament through their respective groups. Populists and extremists still represent a small minority, albeit growing, while they are unsurprisingly fragmented in Strasbourg.
The real losers of the elections, taking France as an example, are not Macron whose La République en Marche was only 1 point behind Le Pen at a high level. There are the old parties like Les Républicains (stuck between a Macron and a Le Pen not finding political space), the Socialists (who used to run France, as they are the past now) and the radical left with La France Insoumise (showing the parties need to be managed well beyond any fiery rhetoric).
We can still have great hopes for the European project and the EU as we reform them and make sure they are better understood by the people of the EU member states.