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Okay, Why Is Everybody Talking About The EU Election?

You've probably seen a lot floating around the internet about the European elections this week -- but what really happened? And why does it matter so much?

The EU elections happen every five years, electing 751 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) from Union countries.

The Parliament is the law-making body for the EU, and the MEPs represent the citizens from the 28 member states.

Source: Getty images.

It consists of eight main groups organised by political or ideological affiliations, which sit together in the chamber.

EU Parliament largely deals with reviewing and passing laws drafted by the European Commission.

This year's vote had the highest vote turnout in two decades, with Hungary and Poland more than doubling their turnout from the 2014 election, and Denmark's voter participation hitting 63 percent.

EU elections have historically had poor voter turnout -- only breaking 50 percent voter participation in 1994.

Why was this year's vote so important?

The poll is the world's largest democratic exercise, with tens of millions of voters participating. The Parliament has an immense amount of influence over the future of the single market bloc.

French president Emmanuel Macron casts his ballot. Photo: AAP

In the lead-up to the election, analysts and pundits predicted a more definitive political divide between elected MEPs than has ever been seen before, with a move away from centrist parties.

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Far-right nationalist parties and populist parties gained momentum, and the many, many complications of Britain's Brexit process increased interest in the vote.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the vote came at "the most perilous moment for Europe since the second World War".

So, what actually happened?

As predicted, centrist political parties saw losses, with the 'Grand Coalition' (the blocs of socialist and right-leaning centrists in Parliament) losing more than 70 seats.

However, the centre remains the stronghold of the Parliament, despite the popularist threat.

Nigel Farage. Source: AAP Photos.

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (a centre-left pillar), which includes Macron, picked up 32 seats and now has an important role in nominating officials to key positions in the EU.

Far right parliamentary groups gained some ground, with the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) gaining 22 seats, and the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy -- which includes Nigel Farage's Brexit Party -- gaining 12.

Speaking of Brexit, the UK's Tories and Labour lost their footing this election, with the Brexit party and the firmly anti-Brexit party, the Lib Dems, gaining the majority of votes.

The Brexit party secured 31.71 percent of the vote, making them the clear winners in the UK.

France experienced a similar tide of support for its own far-right nationalist party, Marine Le Pen's National Rally, which won 23.3 percent of votes.

Meanwhile, the far left lost out, with the European United Left losing 23 seats.

However, in Spain, the socialists won out big, with acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's Socialist Party snatching 20 percent of the vote.

Centrist and leftist parties still hold the great majority of seats and the surge to the far right across the EU was nowhere near as dramatic as initially predicted.

The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (including Nicola Sturgeon's Scottish National Party) and the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) still hold the most seats by a wide margin.

Sturgeon commented the victory for the Scottish National Party ensures Scotland's voters will opt for independence from the UK during a second referendum in 2021.

She stated in a tweet that "Scotland has spoken -- we are not for Brexit".

The Greens, or European Free Alliance -- made up of Europe's green and regionalist parties -- gained 17 seats, with surges in support in Germany, France and the UK.

Greens parties were largely elected off the back of a mobilised young voter base that abandoned traditional politics in favour of climate activism.

BuzzFeed News Europe editor Alberto Nardelli commented the strong result for greens and liberals will be "very difficult for EU leaders... to ignore when it comes to picking top EU jobs and EU's strategic direction".