European Parliament poised for rightward shift as voting concludes

BRUSSELS — Voters in 21 European Union countries, including France and Germany, will conclude a four-day election for the European Parliament on Sunday. The election is expected to shift the assembly to the right, boosting the presence of euroskeptic nationalists.

This election will influence how the European Union, a bloc of 450 million citizens, addresses challenges such as a hostile Russia, increased industrial competition from China and the United States, climate change, and immigration.

The election began on Thursday in the Netherlands, continuing in other countries on Friday and Saturday. However, the bulk of the votes will be cast on Sunday, with polls opening in France, Germany, Poland, and Spain, while Italy holds a second day of voting.

The European Parliament has announced it will issue an EU-wide exit poll at around 8:30 p.m. Central European Time (6:30 p.m. GMT) and a first provisional result after 11 p.m. CET, once the final votes in Italy have been cast.

Opinion polls indicate that pro-European liberals and Greens are likely to lose seats. This reduction in the majority of the center-right and center-left could complicate efforts to pass new EU laws or advance European integration.

Many voters are grappling with the cost of living crisis, concerns about migration, and the expenses associated with the green transition. Rising geopolitical tensions, including the war in Ukraine, have further unsettled the electorate.

Hard-right and far-right parties have capitalized on this unease, presenting themselves as alternatives to the mainstream. European Greens are anticipated to be among the major losers, facing backlash from households, farmers, and industries over costly EU policies limiting CO2 emissions.

The liberal group Renew Europe is also expected to face challenges. Forecasts suggest that Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally will outperform French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Renaissance party in France.