European Elections

Last week, European Parliamentary elections were held over de span of several days from May 23rd to May 26th. The turnout rose to 50.5%, which is very high when compared to the turnout of 42.6% in 2014. The turnout in 2014 was the lowest ever in EU elections.

In general, the European stock market reacted positively to the results so far. That is, while there was much speculation about the surge in popularity of nationalist parties and EU-skepticism, the gains of parties in this corner were generally less than what was expected.

In Greece, the results of this election have already influenced bond prices. Namely, Prime Minister Tsipras requested snap general elections after his defeat. The opposition in Greece, the New Democracy Party, defeated Tsipras’ Syriza party by about 10%. For context, Syriza belongs to the European United Left parliamentary group while New Democracy is a center-right party and part of the European People’s Party group. The call for national election seems to have been a positive sign by the market, with some hoping for a new, more business-friendly, government. The result was a significant rise in Greek bond prices as well as an increase of more than 6% in the FT Greece Index.

In the UK, the country is still split between pro- and anti-Brexit voters. The Brexit party was victorious, winning 32% of the country’s vote. The Liberal Democrats, who are against Brexit, followed in second with 20% of the vote. Meanwhile, the Labour party suffered greatly, probably due to their attempts to compromise on the issue of Brexit. The currently governing Conservative Party, which is of course lead by Theresa May, faced a loss of as much as 9 per cent. They lost the most votes out of all UK parties. Theresa May had already announced on Friday that she will be stepping down as Prime Minister.

In Germany, Merkel’s CDU/CSU was challenged by the Greens. The Greens, who went from 11 to 20 seats, were especially popular among young voters and came in second after CDU/CSU, which lost 5 seats. The nationalist AfD, which is a Eurosceptic party, gained 4 seats, bringing them to 11 seats out of the total of 96 in Germany.

Overall, of course there are many differences between the different European countries. However, a surprising pro-EU voice was heard in addition to the EU-sceptic support that was expected.

Written by Hazel Alberts