Following its enlargement to incorporate central Europe on May 1, 2004, the European Union (EU) appears plunged into ever more serious crisis. The very high abstention rates at the European elections on June 13, 2004, especially in the new member states, accentuate a crisis of legitimacy.
The main results in Austria were victory for the social democrats and greens, despite their right wing orientation. The Conservatives came second and there was a total defeat for the right populist FPÖ of Haider. A new “moderate” populist list won 14% of the vote while the left wing “LINKE” won a modest 0.8%.
Belgium’s European elections took place amid relative indifference, not the least of paradoxes in the country which is home to the European Parliament. Significant regional elections (since Belgium became a federal state, the Flemish, Brussels, Walloon and German-speaking regions possess greater powers) were held at the same time and these commanded all the attention.
After the overwhelming rejection of the Annan plan for reunification in the form of a “Cypriot Confederation of two independent states” at the referendum of April 24, 2004, the European elections confirmed the rise of Greek Cypriot nationalism.
The Czech Communist Party will bring to the European parliament its peculiar mix of progressive social and economic policies and an unattractive attachment to authoritarian and nationalist sentiments. But the decline of anti-Communism at home, and exposure to the libertarian currents of the Western left are likely to transform the party into a modern anti-capitalist force.
With victory for the social democrats and a setback for the "Eurosceptics" an established tradition in Denmark seems to have been broken. For the left wing it places the question of an anti-capitalist answer to European integration high on the agenda.
Denmark’s Red-Green Alliance didn’t stand in the June elections to the European Parliament. Instead it campaigned for Red-Green Alliance members on the slate of the June Movement and the Peoples Movement against the EU.
The election to the EU-parliament gave some hints on the political situation and the attitude to European Union.
There were three elections on June 10, 2004 in Britain. In addition to the election for the European Parliament there were local elections in some parts of the country, and elections in London for the assembly and mayor.