Far right surges in EU elections, dealing blows to leaders of France and Germany

Far-right parties made gains in elections to the European Parliament on Sunday, prompting a bruised French President Emmanuel Macron to call a shock early election and adding uncertainty to Europe’s future political direction.

While the centre, liberal and green parties are set to retain the balance of power in the 720-seat parliament, the vote dealt a domestic blow to the leaders of both France and Germany, raising questions about how the European Union’s major powers can drive policy in the bloc.

Making a risky gamble in a bid to seek to re-establish his authority, Macron called a parliamentary election, with the first round on June 30.

Read moreFrance’s Macron calls snap election in huge gamble after EU polls debacle

Like Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also endured a painful night where his Social Democrats scored their worst result ever, suffering at the hands of the mainstream conservatives and hard right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The centre-right European People's Party (EPP) will be the biggest political family in the new legislature, gaining five seats to field 189 deputies, a centralised exit poll showed.

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters)

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
European parliamentary elections: What a right-wing surge could mean for the EU
Defence, migration and the Green Deal: Key issues at stake in the EU elections
Macron and Scholz are 'dividing' Europe over Ukraine, EPP chief Manfred Weber says