Why did the social democrats do so badly?
The parties of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) has suffered heavy losses in many countries and the parliamentary group as a whole has lost 34 seats. Only in Spain and Portugal did they take first place - the MEPs of Spain's PSOE will now be the biggest faction within the group. Commentators analyse their success and the failure of their sister parties.
What PSOE does differently
Unlike other socialist parties in Europe the Spanish socialist party PSOE has emerged strengthened from the EU elections, El Mundo observes:
“Social democracy is in its death throes in France, in Germany it's falling behind the Greens, in Italy it's still breathing but has no influence, in Greece it barely exists anymore, in Belgium it's irrelevant, and only in the Netherlands does it outshine the liberals. The only place where it dominates is in Portugal. PSOE is the most powerful social democratic party in the EU. However, it has only achieved this by defending leftist policies that have more to do with redistributing privileges and encouraging individual identities and ways of life than with creating and redistributing income and prosperity.”
Left should learn from the far right
Europe's far-right parties have shown how to mobilise supporters, The Independent comments:
“At no point during the electoral campaign was there a concerted effort of the largest social-democratic parties to occupy a platform together, to organise a common rally, to critically reflect on Europe as a joint project, to involve their activists in deliberation about its future. … At no point did they try to understand why the right is proving so effective at filling the gap between representatives and the represented. ... The far right international is here: when will the left wake up?”
Czech Social Democrats lack clear stance
Although the Social Democrats form part of the Czech government in Prague they have lost their seats in the EU Parliament. This may also be because the party lacks a clear position on Europe, radio broadcaster Český rozhlas comments:
“Although the Eurosceptics tell us that European integration is a leftist project, the leftist parties in the Czech Republic can't explain to their supporters why they should be interested in the EU. The number of its core voters is shrinking. Some of them are flirting with the Pirate Party and other parties in the centre. The Social Democrats convey the impression that they're a bit for European integration and a bit against it.”
Discord not helping France's left
The French left is on its last legs, Causeur writes:
“Today the traditional left doesn't even have 20 percent of the vote. ... It has broken up into micro-parties that are at each other's throats over philosophical and social questions, or simply over questions having to do with their leaders' egos. And the roughly 15 percent of votes garnered by the Greens don't change things. Because everyone knows that the Greens achieve their best results in the European elections, and that they'll never do as well in a national vote.”