8 things we have learnt from the European elections 2014

8 things we have learnt from the European elections 2014
By Euronews
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#[View the story “8 things we learnt from EU elections” on Storify]8 things we learnt from EU elections

So what did we learn from the European Parliament elections? Below euronews picks out a few of the most important – and quirky – statistics.

Storified by euronews· Tue, May 27 2014 18:59:38

1. BBC is damned if it does, damned if it does not.

Some often blame the UK’s national broadcaster for being biased in its coverage in favour of the ‘liberal, multicultral, metropolitan elite’.

Vital that the new BBC Trust Chairman represents licence payers not the left wing metropolitan elite which dominates the BBCRobert Winfield

So did it come in for criticism for backing the UK’s pro-EU party, the Liberal Democrats?
No – this time it was savaged for giving too much air time to UKIP. It included satire (see below) and a live lambasting by Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond.

Bar chart showing media attention for each party is first bar chart visible from space #EP2014 http://t.co/L6BNHy3u0eDavid Schneider

The criticism about the BBC’s coverage, came after the corporation suspended a journalist for this tweet:

BBC journalist, Jasmine Lawrence, showing BBC impartiality to be a complete joke. http://t.co/CuiQ5mHocFJon

2. The vast majority of regions in France backed the far-right party Front Naitonal. It polled highest in every region, except Paris and the west, according to this graphic.

Européennes : les résultats DANS VOTRE VILLE à voir ici >>http://t.co/u6J0PGZPpF #EP2014 http://t.co/iZFBzo0ZckLe Parisien

“But if I want to have a group in the European Parliament I will have to get along with foreigners”

Le FN en tête, oui, mais maintenant? Mon dessin du jour sur http://t.co/aOEH6NJpzt http://t.co/SsARqTgqgN http://t.co/bJP2AhpEuaMathilde Tournier

3. Far-right and anti-EU parties got around a quarter of the vote in UK, France and Denmark. It was just 8% in Germany.

Les extrêmes droites : 25% France 23% Danemark 22% Royaume-Uni 20% Autriche 15% Hongrie 13% Finlande 12% Grèce (via @OlivierDrot) #EP2014Européennes 2014

4. Authorities in the UK need to be careful about where they put signs to polling stations (‘sitting on the fence’ is an English expression for someone unwilling to make a decision)

Fair enough #EP2014 http://t.co/C5yYajsITVLord Skip VC

5. Election coverage was dominated by the swing to Euroscepticism – but the centre right group, EPP, still dominates the European Parliament.

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But, that said, the centre-right EPP lost 61 seats, compared with 2009. Others – made up of far-right and far-left politicians – increased by 64.

6. There are always winners and losers from US-style television debates – but not quite as much as in the UK.

Nigel Farage, leader of anti-EU party UKIP, went head-to-head with Nick Clegg, leader of pro-Europe party the Liberal Democrats, in live television debate prior to the elections.

Nick Clegg vs Nigel Farage, Europe debate 1 (26Mar14)liarpoliticians2

The consensus at the time was that Farage had triumphed – but did anyone imagine quite how much?

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Compare the results:

UKIP won 27.5% of the vote and their victory was the first time since the general election of 1906 that a party other than Labour or the Conservatives has topped a national election. The following day party leader Farage hailed a breakthrough and said UKIP was now a ‘national force’.

The Liberal Democrats, who are in coalition government with the Conservatives, won just 7% of the vote, losing all but one of its 12 MEPs. The following day party leader Clegg faced calls from within his party to resign.

7. Taking part in Brussels on behalf of your constituents doesn’t reap rewards at the ballot box.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage, according to figures from VoteWatch, took part in 42.97% of recorded votes in the European Parliament between 2009-2014. He was re-elected as an MEP to serve the south-east region of the UK.

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Bill Newton Dunn, an MEP for the Liberal Democrats, participated in 95.35% of recorded votes. He failed to get re-elected for his East Midlands constituency.

8. Enthusiasm for the EU is low – despite spin to the contrary.

A statement statement on the European Parliament eleciton website reads: “What is very clear is that the long trend of falling participation in the vote has been reversed”. Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt has also sought to highlight the same point.

But the EU’s own statistics reveal turnout was 43.09% in 2014. It was 43% in 2009.

More figures from the EU suggest Europe is unpopular. Its own Eurobarometer survey reveals 59% said tend not to trust the EU.

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