In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right UMP have triumphed at the European polls, handing the opposition Socialists a stinging defeat.Initial results have put the party on 28 percent of the votes, translating to 11 seats in the parliament. “This is the first time since 1984 that a governing party has come in in first place in the european elections. Its an acknowledgement of the work carried out during the French Presidency of the EU.” said French Prime Minister Francois Fillon The Socialists, led by Martine Aubry, are thought to have slumped to 16.8 percent, an almost exact reversal of their perfomance last time around in 2004. “I take full responsibility for the Socialist Party result,” Aubry said at a press conference,“I think the problem is rooted within the party itself. Above all, we need to have a complete overhaul.” The biggest surprise though came from the coalition of Green politicians, led by 1968 student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who took 16 percent of the vote: “We were not mistaken. We said this was a european election and that we had an agenda for Europe and for change.” Experts say the Greens success ensures that environmental issues will jump up the political agenda.