So what really happened?
Once again, Europe demonstrated its multifaceted soul: Eurosceptics carried the day in the UK and France, conservatives held steady in Germany (but socialists advanced), socialists made huge progress in Italy and far left won in Greece.
When you throw all that in the big shaker of apportionments, however, the changes are not as dramatic as national results would suggest: a comparison of likely outcome (based on this analysis) vs the current composition shows this picture:
- Extremes have both grown, more so the Eurosceptic far right (from about 12% to almost 15%)
- Moderate conservatives have lost more than extreme conservatives have gained
- Moderate progressives have held their own
- The three broad grouping [progressive] – [mixed] – [conservatives] went from 30% – 22% – 48% (2009) to 33% – 24% – 43% (2014)
So my gut feeling is that not really much will change overall; however there might be a subtle shift in power due to the national results: specifically, the conservatives in UK and France have suffered major setbacks, and did not fare well almost anywhere, so this group will be even more Germany-dominated. Socialists were defeated in many countries, except Italy where they won their highest results ever: as a result, the leader of the italian left, Matteo Renzi, has a big chance to impress a more southern-european shade to the socialists overall stance, leading perhaps to more pro-growth policies having a strong ally there in the ECB President Mario Draghi.
Sceptics are there and are growing, but nary a party really wants to ally itself with neofascist Le Pen, so I do not think – bar the occasional show – they will manage to make big inroads, especially if their main issues get blunted by a slightly more pro-growth attitude which relaxes the austerity stance that some say made the crisis worse instead of solving it.
My two cents, anyway.