Learning With: ‘European Parliament Elections: 5 Biggest Takeaways’

Learning With: ‘European Parliament Elections: 5 Biggest Takeaways’

Before reading the article:

What have you heard, seen or read about the European parliamentary elections that took place throughout Europe in recent days?

Look at the photo above. Why do you think predicting the political parties that would gain and lose seats in advance of the elections was such a topic of interest? How does this compare to the focus of congressional election predictions in the United States at the state and national level?

Now, read the article, “European Parliament Elections: 5 Biggest Takeaways,” and answer the following questions:

1. The article begins: “The most prominent takeaways from the results of the elections for the European Parliament are fragmentation and polarization.” What evidence do the writers provide to back this claim?

2. How did voter turnout compare with recent previous elections? Who is Martin Selmayr? How did he characterize many citizens’ reasons for voting in this election?

3. What percentage of Parliament seats were secured by members of populist parties? How did this compare with the predicted “populist wave” that many expected? Where in Europe did populist candidates seem to have better results? Why, according to the article, might populist victories not lead to “influence on the European level” in Parliament?

4. Members of what sort of parties have run European Parliament for decades? Why has their influence weakened? What, according to the article, must happen in order to create a “working majority”?

5. What party in Britain took an estimated 31 percent of the vote? What is that party’s goal? Who leads it? How might not taking a stand on Brexit have affected the votes some candidates received? What parties do they represent?

6. What group will decide whether Britain will leave the European Union? When will this decision be made?

7. What are the goals and concerns of the Green Party? Where did this party see its greatest successes in the election?

Finally, tell us more about what you think:

The related article “European Election Results Show Growing Split Over Union’s Future” states:

The one thing the varying populists do agree on is disrupting the system, and they are bound to make consensus more difficult on future European budgets and legislation. This European Parliament will simply be messier and harder to control than before.

Read the entire article, identifying what the elected populists care most about in each nation mentioned. How do you think members of Parliament who are from centrist parties will respond? Explain why you think that.