European Parliament elections have traditionally been dull affairs. This time is different. The continent-wide vote May 23-26 is shaping up to be something of a referendum on the whole 60-year European experiment. It will be the first European Union ballot since a member country -- the U.K. -- decided to leave the bloc and will feature clashes over fundamental values and policies. The ramifications will extend far beyond the assembly itself, with ripple effects on other European institutions and national politics.
In many countries, the role of the EU now dominates domestic politics too. And for the first time, there’s a real possibility that anti-EU parties could win enough seats to disrupt legislative business rather than just rail against it, as current member Nigel Farage of the U.K. and former members Marine Le Pen of France and Matteo Salvini of Italy have done. Emmanuel Macron, who defeated Le Pen in the 2017 French presidential election, insists the upcoming contest is a choice for or against Europe.