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European elections 2019: all the results, and what they mean for the climate

A successful day for Greens and nationalists, while traditional parties suffer. The outcome? A European Parliament divided into homogeneous “slices”. The final results of the European elections 2019.

Young voters have chosen the European Greens as the party to guide them into the future with vision and purpose. Its goal is to bring an end to the global climate crisis by offering better solutions favouring a more equitable society and working towards a “green new deal” – to use the party’s own terminology – based on contrasting global warming. This is evident especially in Germany, where 34 per cent of people aged between 18 and 24 chose the Greens – whose overall share of the vote in the European Union rose from 10.7 to 20.7 per cent – thanks to “a better programme for combating climate change” (or at least it was described this way by many social media users). And who knows whether the second global strike for the future on the 24th of May, which once again brought 1.5 million students and activists to the streets in over 1,600 cities across the globe, contributed to the European Greens’ success not only in Germany but also in France, Ireland and Finland. Even Portugal, against all odds, elected its first ever Green MEP. The parliamentary group gained almost twenty seats in Europe, winning a total of 69 compared to 52 in 2014.

European elections 2019. Italy: a different shade of green

This success, however, was not replicated in Italy, even though participation in the climate strike was among the highest in the world. This goes to show how the silent majority, which doesn’t necessarily mobilise politically, is still very strong. The country elected 28 representatives from the right-wing Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group, with social media heavily impacting voter behaviour. The far-right League used this trend to its advantage, becoming the party with the most votes. A situation akin to that of the Rassemblement National led by Marine le Pen in France, the “group colleague” of Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, the League leader. The French nationalist party won even more votes (22 seats) than President Emmanuel Macron’s party, La Republique En marche!, in coalition with a number of others (21 seats).

It is these two trends, representing rather distant wings of the European Parliament, that damaged the traditional parties, once known as the “establishment”. The European Popular Party and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats both suffered losses compared to the previous election.

Le guerre per il petrolio

1932La prima guerra per il petrolio tra Bolivia e Paraguay provoca circa 100mila vittime
1941Pearl Harbour, il Giappone risponde all’embargo totale delle forniture petrolifere deciso dal presidente americano Franklin Delano Roosevelt. La Germania nazista invade l’Urss per accaparrarsi i campi petroliferi nell’area di Baku
1973La prima crisi energetica dell’era del petrolio: il mondo arabo usa il ricatto del prezzo del petrolio contro Israele e gli alleati occidentali
1979-1989L’Urss invade l’Afghanistan: tra gli obiettivi c'è l’espansione verso il golfo Persico
1980-1988La guerra tra Iran e Iraq, forse un milione le vittime
1990-1991L’Iraq invade il Kuwait, molto imprecise le stime delle vittime, le stime sono tra 35mila e 100mila vittime tra i militari e di circa 100mila vittime tra i civili. Nel corso degli anni Novanta, si innesta il conflitto nel delta
2003-2011Seconda guerra del golfo. Il numero di vittime è imprecisato, ma è sicuro che le vittime civili siano superiori a quelle dei combattenti
2011- in corsoInizio delle guerre civili in Libia e in Siria
2012- in corsoInizio della guerra civile in Sud Sudan
2015Comincia la guerra tra Yemen e Arabia Saudita

Brussels wanted turnout to increase, and it worked

These elections are also a victory for European institutions: in the build-up to the vote a massive information and communication campaign was deployed, aimed at getting as many people as possible to the polls. With over 400 million eligible voters, the goal was to revert the trend that led to a steady decline in turnout numbers, culminating in the last elections in which only 42.7 per cent of citizens voted. This time, over 200 million Europeans cast their ballots, equivalent to 51 per cent of eligible voters. The almost 9 per cent increase in turnout can be traced to higher figures in countries such as Germany, France and Poland and represents an enormous success for the largest international assembly in the world directly elected by its citizens.

Percentuale di petrolio italiano estratto 80%
Numero di trivelle in Basilicata70
Numero di barili di petrolio estratti al giorno90.000
Numero di pozzi realizzati482
Numero di pozzi attivi 37
Numero di impiegati nel settore estrattivo265
Differenza tra pil regionale e media nazionale- 6,1%

The UK “farce”

And then there’s the United Kingdom. A country that took part in the 2019 European elections “by mistake”, due to its inability – as confirmed by Prime Minister Theresa May’s resignation – to complete Brexit, i.e. the process of leaving the European Union. When it does leave, its seats will be shared among the most populous countries in the EU. “Farcical” elections that saw the success of a “farcical” party, headed by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage. His Brexit Party led the pack in the UK, gaining more seats than all other major political groups, leading to a ridiculous – and somewhat paradoxical – situation by which the party’s goal is to leave the assembly it has just been elected to. On a more positive note, the UK also elected five extra Green representatives compared to 2014, for a total of eleven.

european elections 2019
The EU flag at the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) headquarters in Germany © Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Europe that emerges from the 2019 elections is a more heterogeneous one, completely different to how it looked forty years ago, after the first ever European elections in 1979. Where the pie used to be mainly divided into two camps, red (socialist) and blue (popular), today it’s a rainbow cake that has had to come up with new colours to represent all the forces currently at play (green, yellow, grey and black).

Read more: 10 environmental victories you didn’t know were “Made in Europe”

What will happen now? A look at the next five years

Creating a “majority” to decide what the new European Commission – currently led by a “grand coalition” between the popular and socialist parties, with 22 out of 28 members – is going to look like won’t be easy, given that the two traditional parties combined no longer make up a majority. Therefore, it’s easy to imagine a Commission that better represents the various interests within the Parliament, and that works project by project. That is, on single proposals at a time rather than on a five-year programme. The hope is that those in aid of the climate, wildlife and planet continue to be adopted quickly and easily. Because that’s what Europe is: an old continent that remains on the forefront of many issues thanks to common sense. In its true version, not the one seen on the campaign trail.

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