Preliminary Results Show Conservative Victory in German EU Elections

Preliminary results from Germany’s European Parliamentary elections on Sunday show an overwhelming conservative victory, with Germany’s conservative parties, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the party’s Bavarian branch, the Christian Social Union (CSU) securing 30 percent of the vote. Right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) also made significant gains despite a number of controversies shaking the party and harming its public support, with Politico reporting the party’s popularity in the polls dropping from 22 percent in January to just 16 percent in June.

The Revival of the Right in Germany

The CDU/CSU’s victory can largely be attributed to growing opposition to the ruling Social Democrats (SPD) and their “Ampel” coalition government with Germany’s Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) after a number of challenges such as the ongoing war in Ukraine, rising cost of living, and an increasing number of asylees.

The CDU/CSU secured an even 30 percent of the national vote in Germany, and in second place, AfD managed to obtain 15.90 putting the party slightly above the ruling SPD which secured 13.90. The Greens saw a massive loss of popular support, securing only 11.90 percent of the vote compared to the EU’s last election cycle in 2019 when the party earned 20.5 percent of the vote, placing them in second place below the CDU/CSU. The Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance–Reason and Justice, a left-wing populist newcomer–managed to secure 5 percent of the vote in this year’s elections, marking a significant victory for the young party following their separation from die Linke (the Left) in January.


Sahra Wagenknecht of the aptly named Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance, a new left-wing populist political party within Germany. (Photo – AP)

This election showcases an important change within Germany’s political sphere, with the ruling SPD and Ampel coalition members facing growing disapproval from Germans across the country. Meanwhile, Germans are returning to the established CDU/CSU which historically held power in Germany since 1982, with a brief interlude following the election of Gerhard Schroeder as Chancellor of Germany from 1998-2005.

A Supposed Rise in Euroscepticism

Analysts have suggested that AfD’s relative victory in the EU elections despite the party’s numerous scandals has largely been driven by rising Euroscepticism across Germany. This belief has strengthened in recent months, most visibly by farmers protesting en-masse since 2023 following the EU’s exclusive grain deals with Ukraine amid the Russian invasion alongside a number of green reforms prompted by the EU. These reforms included accords to force farmers to minimize tillage per acre, policies to reduce the need for chemical fertilizer and chemical pesticides, as well as requiring farmers to surrender 4 percent of their land for biodiversity.


German farmers protesting the EU’s environmental regulations at Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. (Photo Christian Mang/Reuters)

These reforms were ultimately cut down in March in a move analysts theorized was designed to secure votes ahead of this year’s elections. Ultimately, it seems this plan failed following the relative victory for Europe’s right-wing elements across the board.

Aside from the EU’s controversial green initiatives, another reform pushed by the international organization resulted in significant backlash from Europe’s conservative elements. In April, the EU passed a bill seeking to increase the speed and efficiency regarding the union’s deportation and asylum processes across the board. This reform targeted key policies in the EU and was the result of eight years of a deadlocked parliament amid some of the worst years for Europe regarding irregular migration.

While many of these reforms elicited support from Europe’s right, political figures on the right claimed the reforms did not take enough action against illegal and irregular migration.

Key among these criticized reforms was the EU’s plan to redistribute asylees and migrants in what the union dubbed the “solidarity mechanism” which resulted in significant condemnation from conservative elements. This “solidarity mechanism” intends to redistribute a number of refugees equal to 50 percent of the hosting country’s population and GDP, with a minimum of 30,000 refugees from countries that struggle with the processing and containment of refugees, such as Italy, Greece, and Spain, to other member states.


Asylum seekers arriving at the Greek island of Lesbos from Turkey. (Photo – Human Rights Watch/Zalmaï)

Those who refuse to accept refugees from other member states will have to pay 20,000 euros (21,516 USD) per refugee refused or provide a minimum of 600 million euros (645.5 million USD) in “equipment or experts such as lawyers.”

Critics of this new policy include Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who promised that Poland would oppose the reforms. Tusk was joined in his criticisms by his Hungarian counterpart, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who claimed the reforms were forced on the EU, equating them to Europe being “legally raped.”

Opposition to the policy at least temporarily united left- and right-leaning parties in April, with left-wing protestors throwing paper airplanes with the coordinates of shipwrecks transporting migrants while en route to Europe.


Prime Minister Donald Tusk attending the cabinet swearing-in ceremony on December 13, 2023. (Photo – Aleksandra Szmigiel/Reuters)

This opposition from the left was further exemplified through the EU’s Green party who voted against eight of the ten proposed reforms alongside several other leftist parties, claiming that the reforms failed to protect guarantees for human rights.

Right-wing politicians claimed the reforms were a blow to the sovereignty of members of the EU and that the reforms would help facilitate operations carried out by human traffickers and would lead to a large increase in illegal immigration into the EU.

Germany’s conservative and right-wing elements were not the only ones who secured victory. Europe’s right saw significant gains across the board with France’s Rassemblement National (RN), which is currently under the leadership of Marine Le Pen, securing 31.5 percent of the national vote in the elections, prompting French President Emmanuel Macron to dissolve the National Assembly after his coalition secured just 15.2 percent of the vote. In Italy, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also saw a significant victory with her Brothers of Italy party securing 28.8 percent of the vote, more than four times what the party secured in the EU’s elections in 2019.

Trent Barr
Trent Barr
Trent Barr is an Intelligence Analyst for Atlas News. He has years of experience and is trained in open source intelligence gathering. Trent Barr specializes in Latin American, German, and Vatican affairs while also holding an interest in Europe as a whole.

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