Marine Le Pen: the leader of France’s far-right  Front National had predicted the party  would take five regions in the elections. Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

France had expected the Front National (FN) to take several regions, for the first time ever, in the December 6th-13th regional elections. Marine Le P(...)

President Michael D Higgins is welcomed by Portuguese prime minister Antonio Costa before a meeting at the ministry of foreign affairs in Lisbon: the President’s State visit comes at an interesting time politically. Photograph: Inacio Rosa/EPA

Positioned majestically on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is one of Europe’s oldest and most westerly cities. The temperate climate and soft (...)

The leader of Portuguese Socialist Party, António Costa (left), during a parliamentary debate on the government’s policy programme  on Monday. Costa is expected to become prime minister. Photograph: Antonio Cotrim/EPA

A Socialist government supported by the far left is set to take power in Portugal after defeating a short-lived minority centre-right administratio(...)

Portuguese president Aníbal Cavaco Silva: described a Socialist-Communist-BE coalition as “a clearly inconsistent alternative” which threatened to undermine the economy. Photograph: Manuel De Almeida/EPA.

An upcoming parliamentary vote is expected to reject the government programme of prime minister-elect Pedro Passos Coelho, extending a political crisi(...)

Mourners surround an ornate hearse, pulled by six black-plumed horses, carrying the body of Vittorio Casamonica to the Rome suburbs where his funeral Mass was celebrated on August 20th. Photograph: Reuters

As Rome funerals go, it was hardly your understated, run-of-the-mill event. For a start, the ornate hearse was pulled by six black horses. For a secon(...)

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi: Opponents have claimed his confidence vote method is the same one used by fascist dictator Mussolini. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Despite opposition from within his own Democratic Party (PD), Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi ploughed ahead with his ambitious reform programme (...)

Marine Le Pen, France’s National Front political party leader, reacts to results after the polls closed in the European Parliament elections.  Photograph: Remy de la Mauviniere/AP

National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen inherited her father Jean-Marie’s self-assurance, deep voice, and the way he throws back his head and guffaws(...)

Belgium’s prime minister Elio Di Rupo (left) and Francophone Socialist party (PS) chairman Paul Magnette leave a meeting with King Philippe at the Royal Palace in Brussels. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Belgium began the process of forming a new government yesterday as outgoing prime minister Elio Di Rupo resigned from cabinet and King Philippe met(...)

Head of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) Heinz-Christian Strache (centre) and top candidate Harald Vilimsky (right) celebrate after European Parliament elections in Vienna.  The party ended on 20.5 per cent – up 7.8 per cent on 2009. Photograph: Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters

Italy: Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) was ahead of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, according to an ex(...)

If Marine Le Pen leads her National Front party to victory, she improves her chances of making it to the 2017 presidential run-off. Photograph: Reuters

France will elect 74 MEPs on Sunday week. The government has not organised a civic information campaign, as it usually does for elections. Nearly two-(...)