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Live returns, discussions and trivia quiz feature at European election night

Around 400 guests attend, debates include live streams with partners across Europe.

Live jazz, an EU trivia quiz, discussions with guests from politics, academia and media, and live streams with partners around Europe were a few highlights of the European election evening with around 400 guests at the Hertie School on Sunday, 26 May.

The party, thrown by the Hertie School and its Jacques Delors Institute Berlin - Centre for European Affairs, included a public viewing and running analysis of the election returns as they came in, a live stream with media partner ARTE and contributions from Berlin-based partners the Hertie-Stiftung, fellows & friends, Schwarzkopf Stiftung Junges Europa, Junge Europäische Föderalisten Deutschland e.V., Polis180, The Dahrendorf Forumand Das Progressive ZentrumIn parallel, our partner Sciences Po hosted a big party in Paris, where we were beamed in via live stream with our CIVICA alliance of seven university partners around Europe.

In a discussion moderated by journalist Hanna Israel, Hertie School President and Professor of Political Economy Henrik Enderlein, Dean of Graduate Programmes und Professor of European Politics Christine Reh, head of the France programme at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) Claire Demesmay, and Deutsche Welle journalist Jacek Lepiarz discussed trends in European politics – from right-wing populism to Brexit to the weakening of traditional mainstream parties.

Commenting on the impressive gains by the Greens in the election, Enderlein said other parties must now respond to the changing demands of the younger generation. “The big, mainstream parties have to learn that they are dealing with a broader kind of public that no longer wants to see the traditional type of professional politician anymore,” he said. “Many of those who represent the parties today have made long careers over years and simply communicate differently. I am very interested to see what new figures will come on the scene who appeal more to the younger generation.”

Regarding gains by Eurosceptic parties, Christine Reh noted that,“What we are going to see in the European Parliament – regardless of the concrete results of the election – is a more strongly fragmented and a more strongly polarised parliament. We see not only a strong increase in eurosceptics, but also a strong increase in pro-European voices, so the danger is that the parliament leans further to the edges in both directions … and what we will need in order to get laws passed are very big coalitions – centre-right and centre-left, often together with the liberals and the Greens. That will be a challenge for the legislature.”

Afterwards, the audience weighed in with their own commentaries on issues of concern to European Union voters, such as climate change, the economy and the future of the European project. The discussion was moderated by Fátima González-Torres Fernández, Community und Content Marketing Lead at Ecosia.org in Berlin, and Heidi Marleen Kuhlmann, Head of Communications at Jacques Delors Institute Berlin.

The evening wound down with Berlin’s famous curry-wurst, some locally brewed beer and some classic jazz tunes with KodoJazz Collective.

Watch the panel discussion: