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EU Populists Gain Modestly; Brussels Sighs With Relief

 

Euroskeptic parties topped the polls Sunday in the European Parliament elections in Britain, France and Italy. Across the 28 member European Union, they enjoyed their best ever results in the five-yearly elections, boosting their share of seats in the 751-strong parliament from 155 to 169.Italy’s Matteo Salvini, whose Lega Party scored a resounding win and was on course to win around 30 percent of the votes cast in his country, boosting his ambitions for a leading role on the European stage, was exultant, arguing voters had given him “a historic mission” to change the EU.But behind all the populist celebrations Sunday night there was also quiet satisfaction in Brussels among EU officials, who had feared euroskeptics would run away with the election and do even better.In Britain, pro-Remain parties together attracted more votes than the Brexit Party.“More a ripple then for the populists and not a flood,” said a senior adviser to outgoing European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.................

 

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