Radical right parties have made marked progress in several countries, even to the point of precipitating legislative elections in France, without upsetting the balance of power on a continental scale, during the European elections concluded on Sunday.

The partial counting of votes indicated in the evening that the centrist groups in the European Parliament were in a position to retain a majority of seats capable of ensuring political continuity in Brussels.

The European People’s Party (EPP), which brings together the traditional right-wing parties of several member countries, was expected to win the election late in the evening with 184 seats, an increase of 8.

The 139 seats allocated to the Social Democrats and the 80 to the Renew group should allow members of the “grand coalition” to comfortably surpass the critical threshold of 360 required to ensure their work continues.

“They have obtained fairly significant gains which do not, however, threaten the majority in place” in the European Parliament, summarized Jean-Yves Camus, a French political scientist attached to the Observatory of Political Radicalities, to La Presse.

“Undeniable progress has, however, been recorded” in certain countries, said the analyst, referring in particular to the cases of France and Germany.

The National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen, who is a member of the ID, delivered a severe rebuff to French President Emmanuel Macron by winning more than 30% of the vote in the election, an unprecedented score representing more than double the support obtained by the training of the head of state. Only one percentage point separated them in the 2019 European election.

Mr. Macron confirmed the importance of the defeat by quickly announcing the holding of early legislative elections, speaking of a “serious, heavy decision” aimed at providing France with a “clear majority to act with serenity and peace. concord.” The two-round ballot which will be used traditionally proves more difficult for the RN than the European proportional ballot.

In Germany, another radical right group, the AfD, did well, finishing second in the vote with 16% of the vote, ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s social-democratic camp, which was also largely downgraded by the conservatives .

Mr Camus said the AfD had achieved a good result even though it had campaigned in a “radical tone” and had to overcome several controversies. One of its leaders sparked campaign outrage by declaring that members of the Waffen SS, who played a central role in the execution of Jews during World War II, were “not all criminals “.

To strengthen her position, Marine Le Pen had recently increased her calls for rapprochement with the CRE, which notably includes the party of the head of the Italian government, Giorgia Meloni, who also came out on top in her country’s vote on Sunday.

Mr. Camus doubts that these two parties will form a formal alliance, in particular, he says, because the Italian leader is “pragmatic” and does not want a head-on confrontation with the European Commission likely to compromise the interests of her country.

Radical right groups will in any case be in a better position to work for a less centralizing “Europe of Nations”, a reduction in environmental targets and a more restrictive immigration policy, he says.

This last question, adds the analyst, appears more than ever to be a deeply divisive issue on the continent.

Economic difficulties, linked in particular to inflation, are also frequently mentioned to explain the rise of the radical right.

Mr. Camus thinks that the situation also testifies to the fact that European leaders have failed, over the years, to develop a “collective narrative” capable of rallying the population.

“Almost everywhere in Europe, people have a clear vision of the inconveniences that come from the European Union, whether it is the administrative hassle or the standards to be respected. But stick their noses at a new road built with European structural funds and they don’t see it,” he comments.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who comes from the EPP, was nevertheless pleased that “the center holds” and that a majority of voters have spoken out in favor of a “strong Central Europe “.

The politician, who is seeking a new five-year term at the head of the European Commission, assured in the same vein that her party and its allies would ensure “building a bulwark against the extremes”.