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Far-right parties make gains in elections to European Parliament, as centre-right strengthens majority

Far-right parties made gains in Sunday’s elections to the European Parliament, although centre right, liberal and Socialist parties retained a majority in the 720-seat parliament.

The result had an immediate effect as France’s president Emmanuel Macron called a snap election after his centre-right coalition secured just 14.5% of the French vote, compared to 31.5% for Marine Le Pen’s far-right movement.

In Germany, the Social Democrats led by German chancellor Olaf Scholz registered their lowest result ever, as conservatives and the far-right Alternative for Germany took the lion’s share of the German vote.

In Spain, the Partido Popular won the vote, securing 22 MEPs compared to 20 for the PSOE.

Spain’s far-right part Vox secured two more MEPs in the new parliament, bring their seats to six.

Ahora Repúblicas, Podemos and a coalition of voters called ‘Se acabó la fiesta’ won three seats each, while the Socialist’s partner in government, Sumar, won just two seats.

The balance of Spain’s 61-seat share of the European Parliament went to Coalición por una Europa Solidaria [CEUS] – an alliance of conservative nationalist and regional parties - and the Catalan party Junts secured one MEP each.

The results point to the centre-right European People’s Party, which includes Spain’s PP, being the biggest political force in the new European Parliament, with 189 MEPs.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission and EPP member who is seeking a second five-year term in the post, acknowledged the gains made by parties at either end of the political spectrum.

“No majority can be formed without the EPP and together…we will build a bastion against the extremes from the left and from the right," she said on Sunday night as preliminary results came in.

The changing make-up of the European Parliament will be closely monitored in Gibraltar against the backdrop of ongoing talks for a UK/EU treaty on the Rock’s post-Brexit relations with the bloc.

Last month, senior PP MP Esteban González Pons, said his party could rally support from allies in the European Parliament to oppose the ratification of any Gibraltar treaty it did not agree with.

If an agreement is reached by negotiators, it will have to be rubber-stamped by the European Parliament but the PP has been critical of what it says is a lack of transparency on the content of the negotiation.

“If the Government does not have the courtesy to inform us and the Spanish people about what it is negotiating, the European People's Party group will vote against it,” Mr González Pons said at the time.

He called on the UK and Spanish governments to “be careful with this negotiation”.

“If they do not include us, it is very likely that we will vote against it in the European Parliament and all this effort will have been in vain,” Mr Gonzalez Pons said.

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