German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's troubled coalition on Sunday suffered a stinging defeat at the European elections, with all three parties in his government coming in behind the conservatives and the far right, exit polls showed.

Scholz's Social Democrats garnered its worse result in history at 14 percent, trailing second place far-right AfD at between 16 and 16.5 percent, and well behind the conservative CDU-CSU bloc's 29.5 percent, according to the polls published by national broadcasters ARD and ZDF.

Scholz's coalition partners Greens recorded just 12-12.5 percent while the liberal FDP won five percent.

"This is a very bitter result for us," said Kevin Kuehnert, general secretary of the SPD, adding that his party will have to look at what went wrong in its mobilisation.

If confirmed, the results would pile further pressure on Scholz's beleaguered coalition months ahead of regional elections in several eastern German states where the AfD is projected to top the vote.

Scholz's government has been plunged into crisis after crisis since it took power in December 2021.

It has had to contend with Russia's invasion of Ukraine and an ensuing energy crisis that plunged Germany into recession.

While the economy is now eking out better news, recovery is still fragile.

Voter discontent remains high over issues from climate laws to spending cuts, while crime and immigration are growing concerns for the public.

Far-right party leads in Austria EU elections: polls   

Austria's far-right FPOe party was leading the vote count in the country's EU elections, exit polls indicated.

If confirmed, it would be the first time the group has topped a nationwide ballot in the Alpine country.

The Freedom Party (FPOe) gained 27 percent of the votes, ahead of the ruling conservative People's Party (OeVP), according to the polls released by the country's main media outlets.

The OeVP was tied in second place with the Social Democrats (SPOe) at around 23 percent, the polls showed.

The OeVP slumped from the almost 35 percent it had gained in the last EU elections.

Its junior coalition partner, the Greens, also lost ground, falling to just above 10 percent, down from 14 percent in 2019.

The FPOe's share surged on the other hand -- it was up from 17 percent in 2019, when the party suffered from a string of corruption scandals.

Its recent success under its leader Herbert Kickl, 55, is attributed above all due to his rebellious Covid anti-vaccination stance.

During the pandemic, the party seized on anger over strict measures such as nationwide lockdowns and a mandatory vaccination law that was later scrapped.

The measures sparked mass protests, with the FPOe styling itself as an anti-jab party.

On the war in Ukraine, Kickl has defended Austria's neutrality, criticising the EU sanctions against Moscow.

During the campaign, led by Harald Vilimsky, a serving FPOe member of the EU parliament, the party put up posters showing European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen hugging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, urging voters to "stop the EU madness".

The FPOe is also expected to top the vote in national elections in the autumn, but it remains to be seen if it can find partners to form a majority to govern.

The anti-immigrant party -- founded in the 1950s by former Nazis -- has been part of a ruling coalition several times but has never governed.

In total, 6.4 million people were eligible to vote in Austria, which has 20 seats in the 720-seat EU parliament. Seven parties fielded candidates. 

French far right inflicts heavy defeat on Macron alliance in EU polls 

The French far-right National Rally (RN) inflicted a heavy defeat on President Emmanuel Macron's camp in the EU elections, scoring over double the number of votes of the head of state's centrist alliance, projections indicated.

The RN's list, led by Jordan Bardella, 28, gained between 32.3 and 33 percent of the vote compared with 14.8 to 15.2 percent for Macron's alliance led by his Renaissance party, according to projections published by several polling firms.

Bardella, speaking to supporters, said the French had "expressed a desire for change" and urged Macron to call snap legislative elections.

The score was the best ever recorded by the RN in elections in France. 

Macron immediately announced he was dissolving parliament and calling snap legislative elections.

The outcome of the EU elections, he acknowledged, is "not a good result for parties who defend Europe." Macron noted that, including the top scoring National Rally (RN), far-right parties in France managed to take almost 40 percent of the vote in the EU elections in France.

"Far right parties... are progressing everywhere in the continent. It is a situation to which I cannot resign myself," he said.

"I decided to give you the choice... Therefore I will dissolve the National Assembly tonight.

"This decision is serious and heavy but it is an act of confidence. Confidence in you, dear compatriots, and in the capacity of the French people to make the best choice for itself and future generations." 

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