Last week, voters across the 28 member states of the European Union turned out to vote for their representatives in the European Parliament, and while the usual mainstream political parties still hold a solid majority, the strong and sudden rise of anti-euro, anti-EU parties on both the far right and the far left have rocked the long-reigning system in what France’s Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls called “more than a warning. It is a shock, an earthquake.” Via the NYT:

Preliminary results indicated that parties strongly opposed to the European Union performed well in several countries, including France, Greece, Britain and Denmark, presenting a stark challenge to champions of greater European integration. …

In France, according to official figures announced early Monday, the National Front, the country’s largest far-right party, won 26 percent of the vote to defeat both the governing Socialists and the Union for a Popular Movement, a center-right party. Greece’s radical left-wing Syriza coalition looked set to beat the party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, while Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi outfit that Greek authorities tried in vain to outlaw, also picked up seats. …

But Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, or UKIP, cheered the outcome and said it would help those in Britain and elsewhere who want to slash the European Union’s powers and return decision-making to individual states.

“The real effect of these elections, with big ‘Euroskeptic’ gains in many countries, will be less what happens in Brussels and more what happens within the member states,” he told reporters in Brussels via a video link. “I think the day when we have more referendums on E.U. membership and membership of the euro will have come much, much closer with these results tonight.”

After years of depressed and recessed economic growth, high unemployment among adults and especially youths, and stagnant living standards, a lot of Europeans are fed up with the lack of progress or even movement coming out of Europe’s dominant political parties and are entering severe backlash mode. The bloc’s leaders might be tempted to hope they can mollify the upswing in EU voters’ dissatisfaction with more hemming and hawing about miniscule improvements in the economy and promises that things are slowly getting better — but as John Fund points out at NRO:

[T]he reality is that most committed supporters of an ever more powerful European Union will be tempted to ignore Sunday’s results, hoping that public dissatisfaction with bailouts and bureaucrats will abate. But the public might not play along. The best economic estimates are that Europe is facing another “lost decade” of economic growth — stagnant economies will do nothing to reduce sky-high unemployment among young people, and the need for more Eurocrisis bailouts will keep taxes high. …

Daniel Hannan, a National Review contributor and Conservative member of the European Parliament, told me last month that “the elites who promised us that greater centralization of power in Brussels would lead to peace have instead delivered what I warned against: animosity between nations and the rise of extremists.”