Far-right parties projected to make big gains in European Parliament elections

Initial projections released by the European Parliament show that right-wing and far-right parties are expected to make big gains in the European elections.

Voting for the elections took place in 27 member states of the European Union from Thursday through Sunday.

In France, the far-right National Rally party is projected to win big over the ruling coalition parties led by President Emmanuel Macron. It is expected to secure more than twice as many seats as Macron's pro-European coalition.

The French far-right party opposes the EU in advancing European integration.

In response, Macron announced the dissolution of the national parliament and called for new elections, with the first round scheduled for late this month.

Macron said in a televised address that the rise of nationalists and what he called demagogues is a danger for France and also for Europe.

He said he has decided to give people back the choice of France's future through the vote.

In the 720-seat EU parliament, two groups, which include right-wing and far-right parties skeptical of the EU, are projected to increase their combined number of seats to around 130.

Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, which is not affiliated with the two groups, is also projected to increase the number of its seats to about 14.

Three major parliamentary groups of pro-European center-right and center-left parties are poised to maintain a majority. But it remains to be seen how the advancement of the EU-skeptic forces will affect Europe's future political direction.