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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Centrists Lose Ground in EU Parliamentary Elections; Europe's Old Guard Preparing for New Order; Nigel Farage's Party Wins Big; France's Far Right Party Narrowly Wins EU Election; UK Home Secretary Joins Race to Replace May. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 27, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Twenty-eight countries, hundreds of millions of voters and a crucial test for Europe's leaders, the world's
second biggest selection, saw its highest turnout in a generation, 25 years. And a shift away from traditional parties.
Hello and welcome, I'm Hala Gorani in Brussels live tonight. The majority of votes in European elections have now been counted and there seems to be
one key take away, people want change. Centrist parties lost ground throughout Europe, less traditional parties like the Greens made gains.
There were also significant gains for right wing populists, but contrary to some predictions they didn't sweep the board.
Pro-European parties will retain their grip on the European Union Parliament. So many ways it is a case of mixed messages for Europe. We're
covering the key angles of the story around the continent. Nic Robertson is in London. Melissa Bell is in Paris, Atika Schubert in Berlin, Erin
McLaughlin is in Brussels as well. Let's begin in Brussels the epicenter of the EU. Erin, talk to us about what the big takeaway is from the
results we saw over the last 24 hours in this election.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, LONDON BUREAU: Hala, the big question currently hanging over this entire process at this point is
will the EU heed the winds of change or will it stick to the status quo? That's the question following Sunday night's election in which it saw the
erosion of the so-called grand coalition. This is an alliance that's been in place for decades between center left and center right. It's how
business has been done here at European Parliament.
But last night, that coalition lost its majority ceding ground to pro- European parties, that want to see more Europe, like the Greens, as well as the liberals. Also ceding ground to the Euro skeptic votes. Parties from
Italy, France, turning out strongly in those countries. What does this mean? The big test, the first big test for this new Parliament will be who
gets the EU's top job, who replaces Jean Claude Juncker, the President of the European Union Commission.
Whoever replaces him will require the approval of a majority of Parliament. Those talks are current under way. It also will require approval of
council. And we know the EU council is going to meet tomorrow to begin those deliberations. Will they choose someone who represents the status
quo or will they go in a completely new direction. Sources telling me this process could take a while, Hala?
GORANI: Erin, thanks very much. The center right European Union's People's Party or EPP has had the biggest delegation in the European
Parliament for 20 years. It still does. Changes in store. It has lost seats. Voters are sending a message to Brussels. Dara Murphy is EPP VP
and the campaign director. You are the campaign director and you went from, and we said it is still changing, but basically about 180 seats from
217. That is a loss of almost 40 seats in the European Parliament. How disappointed are you?
DARA MURPHY, CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, EUROPEAN PEOPLE'S PARTY: There are mixed emotions, but we've done for a long time that there would be changes.
We've seen in some of the bigger member states where our parties have had a difficult period, Italy, France, Spain. But we have to take quite a bit of
comfort from the fact that turnout across the European Union is up above 50 percent for the first time in many decades.
So Europeans in significant numbers have come back to these elections and they have returned us within the European People's Party as the largest
Party, and more than that in fact there has been a significant support for pro-European Union parties. Some of the figures we heard before the
election about this rise of populism hasn't happened. In fact in countries like the Netherlands and Denmark and others they have had a very, very poor
GORANI: The higher turnout might have actually benefitted some of your rival parties and not you necessarily because the Greens had a lot of
mobilization from younger voters in Germany, et cetera, but I understand when you say that in terms of seats, we haven't seen a clean sweep from
these nationalists. But in terms of the percentage of the vote in the UK, it's remarkable. Almost 32 percent for the Brexit Party. In Italy,
Salvini, almost 34 percent. Marine Le Pen even if it is incremental edged out the President's Party in this election. Is that a cause for concern?
[14:05:00] MURPHY: It is a cause for concern and that's why what we need now over the next mandate of the parliament is actually stability. We want
the parties that do believe in the European Union and we know the United Kingdom is set to leave our European Union. We need the parties that want
to continue what is the greatest Democratic experiment this planet has ever seen where 27 -- 28 member states have worked together, there's no more war
in our continent.
We've seen prosperity, 13 million jobs created over the last five years. This is a Europe we need to protect and there's a significant majority in
this new Parliament that want to work together. But that stability can only be delivered with the largest member Party to make the figures ensure
that we do not rely on extremists on the left or extremists on the right.
GORANI: The voters are saying clearly something, especially those that voted for the anti-EU parties. A lot of them feel like they've been
forgotten. Why perhaps the establishment politicians and this is not just a European phenomenon. They are saying you have forgotten this and I have
not personally benefitted from globalization, from the European Union and it's opening of borders and the rest of what it's founded on. What will
you tell those voters?
MURPHY: Well, we have 28 different member states and people have said different things in different countries. If you look at the results that
we've seen in Greece, a country that turned towards populist parties and have seen a turn back towards the
European People's Party but we are there are challenges and we know that there are people that have been left behind. But the way to secure their
future is to continue to make sure we have a Europe that's smart, that's innovative, also that's kind and work to address the problems they have
through strong reasonable political solutions.
GORANI: What does that mean tangibly, though? A Europe that is strong and kind? Those are all lofty ambitions. What do you tell people who say the
unemployment rate in my country is, in some southern European countries, you know, 15 percent, 20 percent among under 25s.
MURPHY: Five years ago this continent was gripped with deep economic challenges that required very strong correction policies. Austerity was
the term that was used. We have seen that transform now. But we have a journey to continue in Europe. We need to ensure that the quality and type of employment is much
stronger. We have to ensure that we make Europe more innovative and we adapt to the digital age. And that's why you need a political Party. And
Manfred Weber has been very clear on what he has sought to identify as key priorities for us as a people and for us as a continent.
GORANI: I take it you're supporting him for the presidency --
MURPHY: I'm his campaign director. People probably shouldn't question that. But he also has championed the spitzen candidate process. He has
visited all of our member states. He's campaigned, he's said his message and the importance of Europeans knowing in advance of the election who the
leaders are is what would be normal in every other election.
GORANI: Quick last one. On Brexit, how is this going to impact Brexit? As you know, obviously, Theresa May announcing his departure. Perhaps it
will be Boris Johnson in the next few months. Do you still think the U.K. leaves the EU on October 31st?
MURPHY: Look I was Irish European affairs minister and people have been asking me for a couple of years what's going to happen with Brexit. I
don't know. What we do know is that we have to learn from Brexit in Europe, and that's why we need a politician like Manfred. We need a large
majority and we need the prop European Union forces to work together to deliver for the people of our continent now.
GORANI: Just a simple question I am not asking you to look in the future in a crystal ball but do you believe more so now that Brexit is inevitable
now that Theresa May is gone and this deal seems off the table, do you believe now Brexit is going to happen?
MURPHY: It's a matter for the British people. My personal view it does seem inevitable and that's a great sadness. And we will work with our
friends in the United Kingdom to make the relationship as strong as possible. That's important for people of Ireland but it's also important
for the people of Europe. The lesson we have learned in the pro-European majority is that people want leadership and they are engaging more in
European politics and we need a stronger voice in the world so Europe sticks its chin out a bit more. That's what we need strong politicians and
that's why we need Manfred Weber. Manfred is the best man for that.
GORANI: You've dropped his name a number of times.
MURPHY: I've mentioned none of his competitors as you'll notice.
GORANI: As his campaign manager, you're doing a good job with his name. Thank you for dropping by.
MURPHY: Pleasure is all mine.
GORANI: Twenty-seven countries were always going to be contesting this election, one country was not supposed to, but thanks to Brexit, Britain
went to the polls and the two established parties, the Conservatives and Labour were pummeled. But it was a good election for pro-remain parties,
the Lib Dems and the Green Party made big gains. Overall it was a thumping win for this man, though, Nigel Farage. His Party one 29 seats. He had 24
with UKIP five years ago. He had a warning to the Conservatives and Labour, Westminster, he says, could be next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIGEL FARAGE, LEADER, BREXIT PARTY, UK: I tell you what, if we left the Brexit process to the Conservative and Labour parties, we would never ever
have got a Brexit that reassembled anything like the referendum. This will put pressure on them, pressure on the Conservative leadership contest and
the question is, are they actually going to respond to this pressure or will those parties go on being coalitions of leavers and remainers. If
they do, they may stay indecisive, and if we don't leave on the 31st of October, then I think we can produce a result in the next general election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All in all, the election results in Britain lays bear the deep divisions in the country. Let's bring you two elected MEPs from Britain.
Claude Moraes is from the Labour Party and I am also joined by Lance Forman of the Brexit Party, on opposite sides of the political spectrum.
Claude, I want to start with you. Both of you elected. So congratulations. What lessons are you drawing from this very strong
showing from the Brexit Party. 29 seats is what -- it seems as though they have secured. First to you.
CLAUDE MORAES, MEMBER EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, LABOUR PARTY: We expect a strong showing from the Brexit Party and congratulations to them that they
won the European elections. UKIP won the European elections in 2014 and Brexit Party got a few more. But a lesson for us for the Labour Party, for
example, in the region where both Lance and I are from is that the Lib Dems won in London. Both Labour and the Lib Dems beat the Brexit Party in that
region. So for the Labour Party, we have some thinking to do.
We always won in regions like this, so we have to think about what our policy is and it was interesting in your package, the repetition of October
the 31st. Nigel Farage wants us all to remember October the 31st is the first date in which we're supposed to leave or be granted an extension. So
I think the existential problem is really nothing much to do with these European elections. It's to do with what happens in the House of Commons
and with the new Conservative Prime Minister because I think they're leading us down the path of no deal.
I think the Brexit MEPs will have no part in that, by the way, they will not be negotiating anything. But they will influence the Conservative
Party very strongly towards no deal. I think that's what this is about.
GORANI: Claude, Lance Forman, the Brexit Party with 29 seats. Over 30 percent of the vote. What have is your main -- first of all, as a Brexit
Party MEP, what do you intend on doing in Brussels? What's your first order of business?
LANCE FORMAN, MEMBER OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, BREXIT PARTY: The reason colleagues and I stood for the Brexit Party was because we felt our
politicians were completely letting us down. They were given an instruction on the 23rd of June back in 2016 to deliver Brexit, they were
elected on that basis, they said that they would leave with a deal or without a deal on the 29th of March this year and they failed to deliver.
And so what we believe is that this actually -- this referendum -- or this election here was a great day for democracy. We reaffirmed -- Brexiteers
reaffirmed that they still want to proceed with this thing. On the campaign trail, I met not only leavers who voted for the Brexit Party but
even people who voted remain in that referendum vote for the Brexit Party because for them, the story had moved on. It wasn't about staying or
leaving the EU, it was about democracy. If people voted a certain way, you have to follow that through. Without democracy, we really have nothing.
GORANI: Well, I'm glad you're saying the EU is democratic at least in this particular exercise because one main theme that has come from those who
want Brexit to materialize is that the EU is undemocratic. This exercise in particular you find to be a good one?
[14:15:00] FORMAN: An election is of course democratic. And this did reaffirm the situation. The Brexit Party swept the board and it's very
clear that this now has to proceed by the 31st of October. There shouldn't be any further postponement and I think what you've seen now is that the
very existence of the Brexit Party is having an affect on British politics. The Prime Minister has resigned.
Most of the candidates coming forward now to become Prime Minister are already saying that no deal is back on the table and you have to -- I'm
from the business world. Anybody from the business world would tell you, you can't take no deal off
the table if you are negotiating. It's the most ridiculous strategy. We have to proceed on this basis.
GORANI: Claude, let me ask you this, top, key Labour Party figures are saying we were pummeled and one of the reasons we got pummeled and the Lib
Dems did very well is because we're too murky on the EU, too murky on whether or not we support a second referendum and the Party that is very
clear on that did very well. Is it time, do you believe, Claude, that the Labour Party come out and say that they support a second people's vote?
MORAES: Yes, of course it was always part of our policy, but you're right. It was a staged policy, talking about getting a deal and if that didn't
have, a vote. So of course that was the issue on the doorstep. There's no hiding that. And of course as you alluded to, Hala, many front benchers
today have been tweeting quite strongly, openly, that we should be much clearer. Emily Thornberry, Dan Abbott, others, John McDonald
about exactly when and where we do this.
Now, I think one of the stimulus of this is the reality check which I think all of us can agree on which is that by October, we're out of the European
Union again and the atmosphere in the European Union and I've been there for a long time, is not necessarily going to be just an immediate
extension, no. That problem also will concentrate the minds of our politicians in the Labour Party because if there's no agreement in the
House of Commons, it doesn't matter what the Brexit Party does or what anyone else does.
If you still have that situation, it may be that we have to present, you know, either a no deal versus a remaining in -- or a deal that nobody
wants. Lance talks about we let everybody down. The Conservative government they presented the red lines that people seemed to want and
presented the deal, the best deal they could get, and nobody wanted it.
GORANI: And, Claude, that -- that's what I wanted to ask Lance before we leave it there. And, Lance, what do you think that a new Prime Minister,
other than Theresa May can negotiate with the EU that hasn't been tried? This is the deal that the EU has said they're prepared to accept.
GORANI: What would another Prime Minister achieve?
FORMAN: Theresa May never believed in the project. It's difficult to negotiate anything if you don't believe in what you're negotiating. The
starting point has to be having a leader that fundamentally believes in this. I believe that there are -- Brexit was one of the greatest
opportunities Britain has had in a generation for a rebirth. And we're a very innovative and entrepreneurial nation. And we have been hampered by
the EU for the last 20 or 30 years. For people like me this was --
GORANI: Your economy has actually increased a lot -- your economy performed much better in the last 20 or 30 years than it did in the
previous 20 or 30 years.
FORMAN: I'm not saying that having joined the EU --
GORANI: Economic growth was better DURING EU membership than before.
FORMAN: I'm not saying that joining the EU was a bad thing or the EEC at the start. That doesn't mean you have to be in it forevermore. I think
the EU has passed its sell by date. Technology has a far, far bigger impact on your lives now than the EU. You got mobile phones, the internet,
and this lumbering giant of the EU is just way behind the curve in catching up with the pace of technology.
And I believe in the 21st century you need to be smaller, nimble and flexible to keep ahead. These big empires, they're part of the 21st
century. We need to move forward faster now.
GORANI: All right, Lance Forman, and MEP from the Brexit party, and Claude Moraes from the Labour Party. Thanks to both of you for joining us.
Coming up, this election was seen in France as a rematch between centrists and populists, now less than one percentage point separates the winner from
the loser. We're live in Paris, next.
[14:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GORANI: France's far right has narrowly pulled off a victory in the European Parliament elections, but it's one of many non-centrist parties
that had a good showing at the polls across Europe. Take the Green's Party, they had their leftist agenda focused on climate change and social
justice, but they outperformed expectations across the continent, particularly in France and Germany. But is the old guard of the European
I spoke to Margaritis Schinas the spokesperson for the EU Commission, he is not worried. He says in fact this is a sign of hope that it's democracy in
action. I pressed him on what lessons centrists could learn from the process.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARGARITIS SCHINAS, EUROPEAN COMMISSION CHIEF SPOKESPERSON: Well, this is a Parliament. In a Parliament, Parliamentary majorities shift. We have a
two-Party majority for the last five years. Now we may have a three- or four-Party majority. That's OK. That's part of democracy. And we have
vocal opposition that is also OK, that is what spices up the debates here.
GORANI: What I'm not hearing from you, and pardon me for pressing you, is any soul searching as a result of these results where you really saw some
disenchanted voters moving away from the traditional parties. You don't see any of that as a worrying sign?
SCHINAS: Let's see, if you see voters' movement, it is true that you had marginal voters' movement out of the European People's Party and the
Socialist party, more towards the liberals and the Greens.
GORANI: And the far rights.
SCHINAS: Well, not that much, if I may say so. The main trend of electoral movement was to the Greens and liberals which is probably a sign
that people want us to do more on the Green agenda. We did a lot in the last five years. We want to do more on opening up the economy, on boosting
growth and jobs, so frankly I don't see this as a worrying sign. I see it as an incentive to do better, to do more and better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. The chief spokesperson for the commission. And Melissa Bell, you are in Paris. I've heard this quite a bit I should say
from the centrist parties that lost quite a few seats saying, no, we're not worried, this is democracy in action. In fact the far-right parties aren't
-- will not be able to disrupt the way we conduct business in this building. What's the view from Paris here with Marine Le Pen edging out --
you know, edging out the French President?
[14:25:06] MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: I think France is really an interesting country to look at in this election, Hala, because that
issue you were talking about, that trend of the traditional parties really being wiped aside in favor of parties that represent something different,
either parties that speak directly to the European question or the far right or as we've seen, the Greens, making those inroads.
The parties function along cleavages that are no longer the one of left and right that have so traditionally dominated European politics. Those
traditional parties had already been swept aside in France in that 2017 election that saw Emmanuel Macron come in on that pro-European agenda,
wanting to reinvent the European Union and breathe new life into it. His Party and Marine Le Pen's far right and populist, euro skeptic party now
really are the two leading movements here in France.
They come in that second round of the French presidential election, and what we learned last night is she won the vote but was less than a point
ahead of Emmanuel Macron's party. You might have expected Emmanuel Macron's Party to do far worse. His pro-European message after all when he
came in 2017 didn't seem to go particularly with the times given all the euro skepticism in the air.
Despite all the protests in the months, and the lack of popularity of the French President himself in the opinion polls, his Party didn't do that
badly at all. I think there are many pro-Europeans in France tonight who are cheering that, suggesting that in fact his pro-European project, his
liberal values still have some legs despite the last few months here, Hala.
GORANI: Thanks very much.
Mainstream parties faltered in Germany as well. Chancellor Angola Merkel's Christian Democrats came out on top, but they did lose a lot of ground, the
Greens did better again. We're talking about these more marginal parties that are doing well. Atika Shubert joins me from Berlin with the latest on
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think what it was really about here in Germany was the issues. Basically the centrist parties, the Christian
Democrats and the Social Democrats, they campaigned on what used to be for them the solid issues that delivered votes, health care, social security,
these are -- unemployment, labor, these are the things that in the past secured them votes. But this time, voters said, listen, there are issues
that have not been tackled or resolved and mainly the climate emergency as well as immigration.
And so those voters who are concerned about climate change ended up voting for the Greens, a lot of young voters, first time voters who also convinced
their parents to vote for the Greens Party, but those voters who were still concerned about fears about immigration did go to the far-right alternative
for Germany Party. That was the one issue that they hammered down on. The question is going to be, how does that translate at the EU Parliament
Both are issued that can only be tackled trance nationally. But will the Greens be able to make policy happen at an EU level. That's what people
will be watching out for here.
GORANI: Thank you very much. Atika is in Berlin.
Not very far from where you are, there was some dramatic -- there was -- there was a dramatic development, I should say, in Austria, where the
chancellor's party came up on top and European elections but he still gets the boot by lawmakers at home, a vote of no confidence in the Austrian
Chancellor and we'll explain why. Another big hitter enters the race to replace Theresa May, Sajid Javid says he wants to be prime minister and he
is joining a very crowded field.
[14:30:43] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: In Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been shown the door on a day he would have otherwise ran
a victory lap. Lawmakers gave him a thumbs down in a no-confidence vote a few hours ago. The move came after a scandal involving his coalition
partner, the far-right Freedom Party. Austria will now select a caretaker cabinet to be in charge until snap elections in September.
Ironically, Kurz' lost his job a day after his People's Party did well in European Parliament elections.
To look deeper into what this means from Austria, we're joined from Vienna by political analyst, by Thomas Hofer.
So, what will happen, do you think, as a result of these snap elections for the Chancellor Kurz, do you think?
THOMAS HOFER, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, of course, you know, he was successful at the election yesterday, as you said. Actually, it was a
landslide victory. He gained also over his former coalition party, the Freedom Party.
And right now what you see is a really scorched earth on the side of the Freedom Party and the Social Democratic Party. And that's why, I think,
they ousted him ahead of the election. They just don't want him to go as chancellor into the September election. And I think this is the background
of this all -- but, of course, it's a big crisis in Austria.
GORANI: But what are -- what is his level of popularity within Austria? Could this eventually turn in his favor?
HOFER: Absolutely, I mean, he will be the big martyr in the next couple of weeks and months. He gained now up to 35 percent of the vote yesterday and
I think he might add onto this.
The crucial question is, is he being able to form a stable coalition after the election? Because make no mistake about it, it will be a very dirty
campaign, there will be a lot of negative campaigning out there. It's very loaded, the whole thing. There are a lot of motions out there. It's not
about contents, it's not about issues anymore, it's about tit for tat and this is what we can see and probably are going to expect in the next couple
of weeks and months.
GORANI: What's been the reaction to this scandal with the vice chancellor where we're essentially -- he's seen offering or heard and seen offering
kickbacks to someone he believes he has contacts with rich Russians?
HOFER: Of course, that was a big scandal and that was actually the reason why Kurz ended this coalition. I think he didn't have any other option
than really ending this project.
However, what you also see -- of course, he profited from it, right? So he gained votes. For the Freedom Party, what you see there is damage, they
went down at the election night, of course, no question about that.
However, they reacted as they always did, also when they were in opposition. That's the kind of siege mentality you see with the Freedom
Party here. So they, you know, think that they are the victims. They are now posing the question, who did that? Who set that trap? You know, for
what reason? Was it the media from Germany? Whatever.
And this worked with their really core base. It really worked well and they got 17 percent. So, you know, I think lower than that, they won't go,
not even in the general election coming up in September.
GORANI: All right. Really appreciate your time and analysis. Thomas Hofer, thanks for being us.
Well, to Britain next where there's been nothing but political upheaval for quite a few years now. After Theresa May's resignation on Friday, the race
to replace her is getting longer by the day.
There are now nine people in the running. The Home secretary, Sajid Javid, is the latest to declare.
Let's take you to Downing Street. Nic Robertson is there. So we're showing pictures of all the people who have declared their interests in
replacing Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party. Is Boris Johnson still the frontrunner?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: He seems to be. I mean, the numbers that the bookies are giving on him seem to make him the
frontrunner and there are reasons for that, even though just this past weekend he said that he was being prepared to take Britain out of the
European Union without a deal.
But that's an appeal to the base, and the base of the party, the 120,000 or maybe more now of the party want somebody like him who can head off the --
who can head off the threat of what Nigel Farage and the Brexit party posed to the Conservative Party at the moment.
[14:35:08] But Dominic Raab who was Brexit secretary until he quit last year comes in, sort of some bookies would have him in at second, at second
at the moment. I mean, all these figures, I think, debatable and they're all going to change. He's seen as sort of being a bit more hardline even
than Boris Johnson about leaving the European Union.
Then you have perhaps Michael Gove, the environment secretary or that famous tussle last go-round at the election for party leader a couple of
years ago when Theresa May won. That was sort of a famous showdown between Gove and Boris Johnson.
However, Gove is seen perhaps as being less of a blunt instrument than Boris Johnson. Somebody -- and he sees himself as a unity candidate who
can unite the Conservative Party, but it's not clear that it's ready to be united. But that sort of how he would see himself.
There's some of the other runners, Esther McVey. She quit her cabinet position late last year. She sort of one of the outside runners.
You have the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt. Some of the bookies are giving him 12 to one, for example, at the moment, but he was a remainer and
the party voted remain -- the Brexit referendum. And so that the sense is that the party really is going to choose a Brexiteer and a tough one.
You might find also Rory Stewart. 12 to one. The bookies are giving him as well.
But again, somebody who is very loyal and faithful to Theresa May, somebody who talks in conciliatory terms about uniting the party, but is also taking
the position now is in that -- in that leadership race to take on Boris Johnson and any others that would take Britain out of the European Union
without a deal.
So, we're going to hear so much more about this over the coming weeks and it's going to be a slow -- a relatively slow process to whittle down the
numbers and get to the final two that will then go to the party membership, the 120 plus thousand that are out there who will have the final say.
GORANI: Nic Robertson at 10 Downing Street, thanks very much.
More now on the winds of change on display in Europe, following this parliamentary elections. Mainstream parties throughout the bloc took a big
hit with the centrist coalition that's long dominated the European Parliament, losing its majority.
Voters increasingly choosing less traditional parties like the Greens or far-right populists who did really well in the U.K., in Italy, IN France.
I want to bring in Tony Connelly now, he's Europe editor for RTE News. Thanks for being with us.
TONY CONNELLY, EUROPE EDITOR, RTE NEWS: Pleasure.
GORANI: So what's your big takeaway? We've been covering this now for 24 hours. I mean, the initial projections and now the more final results.
CONNELLY: I mean, we were expecting a big surge for the far-right euro skeptic nationalist parties. And while there were some very big and very
symbolic victories and this is like France and Italy, they didn't really make that breakthrough.
And I think it's worth remembering that 2014 was actually a big year for those parties. They made some really big gains. But they seemed to have
ended up around the same number about a quarter of the seats here.
The Greens were kind of unexpected and -- but then again, I think climate change was, as a standalone issue, a very common thing that came up on the
doorsteps across different countries.
GORANI: But also like the lib Dems, they're unabashedly pro-European.
CONNELLY: Yes, absolutely. And that, I think, steadies the nerves among the mainstream parties in Europe, the European establishment.
First of all, there was the big turnout, over 50 percent and the fact that the liberals and the Greens can step into the vacuum left behind by the --
by the center left and center right who have obviously seen quite significant losses.
So it is -- you know, there are patchy big stories like in Italy and France. Again, Italy, 40 percent of the population voted for quite
strongly nationalist parties in a country that's, you know, one of the founding members of the European Union, a country where the citizens always
seem to look to Europe as a beacon of stability when their own politics were quite chaotic.
GORANI: But I guess my question, and I spoke to Margaritis Schinas who's the chief spokesperson for the Commission, and I asked him what lessons
have you learned, clearly voters are sending a message to you saying they feel disenfranchised from the traditional parties. But he wasn't worried.
He said this is great. High turnout. It's a message of hope, the far- right parties didn't make the gains we'd feared.
Are they perhaps not hearing the alarm bells that they should be hearing?
CONNELLY: Yes. I mean, I think there is a risk of complacency, especially since you got the high turnouts and you do have a -- you know, this bloc of
pro-European parties that will sit in the middle and keep the kind of engine ticking over.
But the problem is that in voters' eyes, those parties, because they are pursuing an integration, its agenda, will start to look a little bit
amorphous overtime. And in turn, they will see these parties and think, well, what really distinguish the center right and center left and even
liberals, and to a lesser extent the Greens.
[14:40:09] So there is the potential in the next five years for voters to, again, drift the edges, to look for something that's a bit more
GORANI: What is the biggest grievance here? I mean, what is it that voters across Europe, in your coverage of this election, are most unhappy
about that led them to some of these more marginal parties?
CONNELLY: Well, I think to be honest and voters are just in a very volatile mood at the moment. I mean, politics they say is liquid, voters
are not identifying with the kind of parties that were typically germane to their geographical background, their class, their family background.
Voters are just floating around and they're flustering around issues that excite them or motivate them and then they might slip away from those
issues within a five-year period. I mean, I think there are still lingering effects from globalization. And from the financial crisis
migration has always been a big issue --
CONNELLY: Austerity, absolutely. Islamic terrorism was off of coming up as something that voters were worried, but the economy has not been doing
great and a lot of countries -- It's hard to actually put your finger on a single overwriting, abiding issue that has united voters in one direction
GORANI: But if you look, for instance, at western democracies and just in the last few electoral cycles, these nontraditional parties and non-
traditional candidates in the case of the United States, have done very well because there seems to be anxiety over more open borders and
And politicians who are able to tap into that fear, whether it's legitimate or not, are doing well, similarly in Europe they are as well.
CONNELLY: Yes. I mean, I think -- I think that's true. And I think as well politics in Europe is still not as tribal has become in the United
States or in Brexit Britain.
You can say that the voter's breakdown to people who thinks the system is broken or think the system works. There are people who, surprisingly, in
countries like Poland and Hungary, want the E.U. to be there as a perhaps a constraining influence on their -- on their governments. And these are
findings that have been identified by major and reputable polling across the E.U. before the election started.
So I mean, I think political scientists are going to have a field day trying to analyze and parse these results, but still --
GORANI: Well, you mentioned Hungary. But Hungary is an interesting example of a country that's on the mark, the periphery of the E.U., where
Fidesz, the party of Viktor Orban scored a - an outright majority, almost 52 percent, I believe, last time I checked.
GORANI: But that has to be a cause for concern here for traditional parties who see Fidesz, I mean -- and Viktor Orban presents himself as this
pushing crusader protecting, you know, white Christians from the Muslim invader, from the immigrant invader.
This is so antithetical to the discourse of traditional parties, yet there you have it, a member of the E.U.
CONNELLY: Yes, I was astonished at how big his vote was, his -- over 52 percent for one party. That's unheard of almost -- it is a major problem
in terms of the institutional makeup of the political groups here because he, of course, is a member of the European People's Party, the center
right. He's been suspended temporarily.
But again, it's very difficult for the center right, EPP, to try to cling to the moral high ground when his party is still a member --
GORANI: Do they take their seats within the --
CONNELLY: They take their seats, yes. They're suspended for the moment. But it's not clear if in the new parliament they will take their seats
within the EPP. It's quite possible they will or they could drift over to one of the more nationalist parties.
GORANI: Tony Connelly, thanks very much, Europe editor at RTE News. I really appreciate your perspective.
CONNELLY: Thank you.
GORANI: Check out our Facebook page, facebook.com/halagoranicnn for more.
Quick break. When we come back, we're getting word that two more climbers have lost their lives on Mount Everest. We go to the region to find out
why this season is so particularly deadly.
And Japan pulls out all the stops for Donald Trump. But there is still one big area of disagreement between Mr. Trump and the Japanese prime minister.
We'll bring you the latest. Stay with us.
[14:45:20] GORANI: two more climbers have died on Mount Everest bringing the toll to 11 this season alone. One was a 61-year-old American man who
was on his way down from the mountain. The other was a 64-year-old Austrian man. Loved ones say he died fulfilling his dream.
CNN's Arwa Damon looks at why this season has turned so deadly.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, we've been talking to a couple of mountaineers who just made it down from Everest this
season and they're all talking about just how tough the conditions were.
And for a number of reasons. There is, of course, that iconic -- now iconic photograph showing that long enormous trail of people waiting to get
to the summit. That wait happening in what is known as the death zone.
And it's called that for a reason, because at that altitude, because the levels of oxygen are so low, each breath that you take is only giving you a
third of the oxygen that you'd be getting at sea level. Your body is literally dying slowly. It's deteriorating. That's why so many climbers
take oxygen tanks with them.
That backlog may have contributed to the death toll, although the Nepalese government is saying, no, that's not the case. The government is also
being criticized for the number of permits that it issued, these people saying that led to this overcrowding. Nepalese government is saying, no,
that is not one of the causes of deaths.
Also saying that they do try to regulate climbers who go up and ensure that they do have an adequate level of experience because many climbers are
telling us that another problem is the number of inexperienced climbers. And they at times are going out with companies or trying to go out on their
own. They don't know how to mitigate the challenges. They don't know how to read what their own bodies are telling them. And that's what is
And then, of course, you have the weather factor where this year, there weren't that many days when people could make it to the summit. So there
was this big crush to try to get to the top.
Some are saying that the Nepalese government needs to do more to regulate who is going up, how they're going up. Others also place a fair measure of
burden of responsibility on the companies taking people up. And then, of course, there is the responsibility on the climbers themselves. You have
to know your own body and your own limitations, Hala.
GORANI: All right. Arwa, thanks very much. We'll catch up with Arwa hopefully tomorrow with more on this story.
Speaking of huge challenges, North Korea was on the agenda when U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe talked in
Tokyo earlier. The two leaders stood shoulder to shoulder and despite their apparent personal rapport, they could not come to a meeting of the
minds on Pyongyang and its recent missile tests.
One big factor could be that Japan is virtually in North Korea's backyard.
CNN White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, is traveling with the president and she joins us now live.
So, how did they express these disagreements, the two leaders, about North Korea and its missile tests, Kaitlan?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, this whole trip has been about showcasing the strong bond between President Trump and
Prime Minister Abe. But you could see in pretty sharp relief the differences between the two when they started taking questions from
It was during this press conference after days of pageantry, rounds of golf, sumo wrestling. But when the reporters started asking where they
came down on both sides of these, when it comes to North Korea, you could see the difference there. Because the president clearly broke, not only
with his own national security advisor, John Bolton, but also with the prime minister when it came to whether or not North Korea violated those
recent U.N. resolutions by firing off those short-range missiles.
[14:50:00] Now, the president said he did not agree with that. He wasn't personally bothered by the missile testing which, of course, is something
that Prime Minister Abe does not agree with. And he stated as much just minutes later, during that press conference, when he said it was
regrettable that they violated those U.N. resolutions.
That's the question here is where this is going to go from here. Because you could see that they do not agree on that. And it was very obvious as
those reporters were asking them questions about this and where they come down on it. Hala?
GORANI: And there was also a lot of ceremony, Shinzo Abe really rolling out the red carpet, the new emperor hosting the president and the first
lady as well. What was the president's demeanor in all of this? I mean, how was he acting when he was being celebrated so in such a way?
COLLINS: Well, at times, the president seemed a little uncomfortable. He didn't really seem familiar when he was walking into this, what it was
going to be. But Abe sold it to as something that was 100 times bigger than the American Super Bowl.
And the president loves pop. He loves pageantry and all of that. And essentially the red carpet was rolled out for him here in Tokyo as he was
the first foreign leader to visit with this newly crowned emperor.
The president spoke highly of getting to meet the Emperor and the Empress and their families as they were there on the Imperial Palace yesterday for
But the question is, is rolling out the red carpet going to benefit Prime Minister Abe in the ways that he hopes it will? Now, he's been trying to
keep President Trump very close to him ever since Trump first took office and it's because he wants his help on key issues like North Korea and like
a potential trade deal which they are hoping to hammer out, the president said, by August.
So what we're going to look for over the next few weeks as the president comes back to Osaka for the G-20 Summit is whether or not all of this
worked in Abe's favor or if in the end the president, who is often a mercurial person, and makes last-minute decisions ends up breaking with him
as we saw him do during that press conference.
GORANI: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much, live in Tokyo, which is almost 4:00 a.m.
Well, Mr. Trump's visit to japan hasn't been all politics, there was some sport as well. The two leaders enjoyed a round of golf. Both leaders are
big golfers. They watched a sumo tournament. Authorities of the sport broke with tradition and provided armchairs for the U.S. president instead
of making him seat on the floor.
Ivan Watson tells us why Mr. Trump might enjoy this particular ancient sport.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the most iconic of Japanese sports, sumo, a contest between huge men
grappling in a tiny ring.
And the U.S. president is getting a front row seat for the finals of the grand sumo tournament during his visit to Tokyo.
WATSON (on-camera): What would you advise President Trump to know about the sport as he's about to attend?
JOHN GUNNING, SUMO COLUMNIST: Well, the rules itself -- the rules themselves are very, very simple, it's a down or out situation. So I think
he won't have any problem understanding what's going on in the ring.
WATSON (voice-over): John Gunning is an Irish sports columnist based in Japan. He says President Trump will witness firsthand an ancient
GUNNING: All the pageantry and everything that's several hundreds of years and perhaps thousands years of Japanese tradition and culture, all mixed
together, religion, sports, entertainment. It's a mishmash of all of those things.
WATSON: This Irish expatriate is an expert when it comes to sumo.
GUNNING: Joining sumo itself is like joining a monastic order.
WATSON: He competed as amateur wrestler and has the scars to prove it.
GUNNING: Personally myself, I fractured a skull, broke teeth, fractured an eye socket, broken arm lengthways into three pieces. And almost every
single time, I did sumo training I ended up with some kind of injury.
WATSON: President Trump is no stranger to a very different, quintessentially American style of wrestling. Before his political career,
he made appearances in U.S. professional wrestling shows.
But Japan's much older version of the sport is much more Spartan. Often starting at the age of 15, athletes live, eat and train in stables. Only
those few who claw their way to the top become wealthy superstars.
Centuries of history and tradition give sumo a special place in Japanese society.
GUNNING: It has a special place, I think, in the heart, even people who are not sports fans are sumo fans.
WATSON: On Sunday, Trump presented a giant trophy to the winner of the tournament. It's been called, the "The President's Cup."
Ivan Watson, CNN Tokyo.
[14:55:02] GORANI: More to come, stay with us. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Well, our team has been here on the ground in the European capital since yesterday when voters were still hitting the polls. But I've been
watching and reporting on this European project for much of my career. And I want to take a moment to talk about what we learned about it today.
As the votes were being counted, the Greens, far-right, and anti-E.U. parties racked them up to some extent or another. We learned that
Europeans have vastly diverse opinions about what the future should look like.
There was a time when increased integration, federalization, seemed the natural path forward. This union could only get closer. That's what the
European Union wants because that's what individual Europeans want. But that is just simply not the case. The electorates of 28 countries have
warned politicians, assume too much about constituents' views at your own risk. Move too far from your constituency for too long and you will lose
touch, unless the center listens to these lessons, the trend we saw in this election will continue, no doubt.
And those centrist politicians who want to stay in power will wake up, perhaps, with fringe parties calling the shots.
I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next on CNN.