61.4% of German voters went to the polls on Sunday in a remarkable surge compared to a mere 48.1% voter turnout in the 2014 EU elections.
The CDU (EPP) remained the largest party in Germany, with 28.7% of the vote (29 seats), despite losing around 5 seats since 2014. The Greens are however the clear winners with 20.5% of the vote (21 seats), surpassing the SPD (S&D), who returned 15.6% of the vote (16 seats), one of their worst result in years. Climate change was the topic that dominated the debate and the lack of a clear position or track record of CDU and SPD on this topic is regarded as one of the main reasons for the success of the Greens. The populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), returned 11% of the vote (11 seats). A surprising 10.5% share of the vote went to smaller and single-issue parties like the newly-established pan-European party Volt, the Animal Protection Party (Tierschutzpartei), the family party (Familienpartei) and the Pirates (Die Piraten) who each secured one seat in the European Parliament. The Left and the Liberals tied at 5%.
For the first time in history, there will be more Green MEPs in the European Parliament than SPD MEPs. This shift could indicate an end to lenient climate policies and a tightening of rules for businesses under this mandate. The newly elected Green MEPs are likely to make climate change the center of their policy-making, meaning that industry will need to go the extra mile to showcase its commitments while also educating the new MEPs about issues outside their focus of work. The fact that 9 seats are attributed to single-issue parties will likely create wholly new dynamics and bring along the question of whether these single-issue politicians will be willing to adapt stances on issues outside their usual field of interest. This will be especially interesting once the new Committee allocation will be decided in the coming weeks.