Challenges ahead: financial and economic crisis, the Lisbon treaty and climate change.
The conservative European People’s Party group has preserved its position as the biggest bloc in the European parliament. Results of the 4-7 June elections show centre-right parties making significant gains in some of the largest EU countries, including France, Italy, Spain and Poland.
The Socialist group lost ground but finished well ahead of the Liberal Democrats to remain in second place. The Greens picked up new seats, narrowing the gap with the Liberal Democrats.
The 736-member parliament will have a say in the make-up of the next European commission and, if the Lisbon treaty gets past a second Irish referendum later this year, on the new roles of EU president and EU foreign policy chief.
The MEPs will also help shape negotiations on an international agreement on global warming. Other issues expected to come before the parliament in the months ahead include new financial regulation to prevent another crisis.
Some 388 million people were eligible to vote in the elections. Turnout was under 44%, less than in previous elections.
President Barroso thanked voters for expressing their views on the EU’s political future. “Overall, the results are an undeniable victory for those parties and candidates that support the European project and want to see the European Union delivering policy responses to their everyday concerns,” he said.