Protest parties shake up pivotal European elections

Story highlights

  • Euroskeptic parties have claimed a big chunk of votes in EU election
  • However, their power inside the parliament will likely to be diluted by a lack of cooperation
  • The protest vote is likely to put pressure on governments of the member states

Far-right and far-left protest parties have dominated the crucial election in many countries across the European Union

The euroskeptics -- from the UKIP in the United Kingdom to National Front in France -- are demanding tighter border controls, nationalized decision-making and a dissolution of the currency union.

There are several reasons for the surge in support, including the disillusionment of those caught in the backdraft of economic crisis and a desire by some voters to punish the political establishment.

But while the euroskeptic parties are expected to claim a significant chunk of votes, their power inside the parliament will likely to be diluted by a lack of cooperation.

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EU Elections: The rise of protest parties
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EU Elections: The rise of protest parties 00:10

They have little in common aside from a dislike of the Brussels bureaucracy, and a pan-euroskeptic political group is unlikely, according to political scientist Duncan McDonnell.

"The euroskeptic label covers parties of both right and left, many of whom object to the EU for very different reasons -- the radical left denounce Europe as a free-market promoting friend of high finance, while the right objects to a loss of national sovereignty and bureaucracy," said McDonnell, a political science fellow at the European University Institute in Florence.

However, the rise in euroskeptic parties' political clout is likely to put pressure on national governments of the member states.

Five years after the financial crisis exploded, the call for change with the bloc has become louder. With protest parties coming top in several key member states, the decades-old institution could face a shake-up that will rewrite its future.

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