It was not just in the United Kingdom that the mainstream parties had a sobering night in the European elections - all across Europe the traditional groups of the left and right saw their influence visibly waning. On the Right, in Germany Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) party suffered the worst night in its history for EU elections, while in Spain the traditional centre-right Popular Party managed only 20 per cent of the vote; in France the Gaullist Republicans, a shocking eight per cent. On the left, there was some good news for the mainstream Socialists in Spain, but elsewhere the bad news kept coming - in Germany the SPD managed only around 15 per cent, in France the Socialists, the Party of Francois Hollande, barely seven per cent. The result provides confirmation that Europe’s political centre is breaking under the strain of a multitude of competing forces - from the new technologies of the fourth industrial revolution, to immigration and a decade-long squeeze that followed the financial crisis. This fracturing of the centre-ground has been forced in part by the flowering of alternatives on both the left and the right - from the ‘Green surge’ which will see them jump from 50 to 67 MEPs, to the Populist right which remarkably look to have topped the polls in both Italy and France. These are truly seismic shifts which mean that the two big centre-right and centre-left groupings in the European Parliament have now lost their combined majority. Most prominently, these results look to have broken stranglehold of the big-tent centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) which has held sway over Brussels policy making for nearly 20 years after being reborn under the influence of the former German chancellor Helmut Kohl. It means both the EPP and the centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) losing around 37 seats each - enough to mean they will now have to form a ‘grand coalition’ with the Liberals (ALDE) of Guy Verhofstadt. It is into this space that the French president Emmanuel Macron hopes to interpose himself, even though his La République En Marche (LREM) party narrowly lost the national vote in France to Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party. Mr Macron wants to break the old political monopolies (as he has in France) and reunite Europe in what he is calling a “Renaissance” - and yet he himself has become an increasingly divisive figure. The broad centre-ground of EU politics may have held last night, but in its place there is a confusion of competing parties, including Mr Macron’s. Weakened by both the Yellow Vest protests and Sunday night’s results, Mr Macron has at times sounded shrill and isolated in recent months, taking on the rest of Europe over granting the UK a Brexit extension or opening trade talks with the US. So while, as Mr Verhofstadt observed, these results mean there will be “a new balance of power in the European parliament”, it is far from clear that Mr Macron has anything like the authority need to translate that into a new balance of power in Europe itself. Mr Macron made this election a test of his personal authority, and while his narrow defeat is not a disaster for him, it unmistakably further tarnishes a crown that has been slowing slipping ever since his astonishing rise to power in 2017, which was itself built on a fracturing centre in France. Because it is not only Mr Macron and the Liberals who want to change the face of Europe - those on both the populist right and left are themselves rushing to fill the emerging void left by the end of ‘old’ politics. In Italy, Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigrant Lega won the national vote by a clear 10 per cent, while the internet start-up Five Star Movement - in many ways kindreds political spirits of Mr Macron - slumped to less than 17 per cent. New parties can come and go. Elsewhere on the nationalist Right - in Poland and Hungary - the ruling nationalist parties used their populist messaging and their growing capture of the media and state to post big winning results. The margin of victory was starkest in Hungary, where Viktor Orban’s anti-immigration Fidesz party won a staggering 52 per cent of the vote, taking around 14 seats in the European Parliament, crushing his nearest rival on just 16 per cent. “We are small but we want to change Europe,” said Mr Orban who during the campaign has been openly courting the likes of Mr Salvini to the fury of leading figures in the EPP, the centre-right bloc to which Fidesz still nominally belongs. Whether Fidesz will quit the EPP will be one of the key questions in the coming days. Mr Orban has already been suspended from the EPP for his anti-European diatribes and disregard for fundamentals of democracy, like media freedoms, but he has not jumped ship yet. Just as Mr Macron wants to lead his ‘Renaissance’, so Mr Orban wants to force the political centre of gravity of the Christian Democrats back to the right, and if he stays in the EPP (where his 14 MEPs would be a painful loss) he may yet succeed. Alternatively, Mr Orban will join Mr Salvini or another right-grouping where along with other nationalist parties he will seek to frustrate the liberal project dreamed of by Mr Macron and Mr Verhofstadt. In short, while the headlines might crown Mr Macron ‘kingmaker’, the reality is that the ancient foundations of the European political castle are cracking and there are plenty of enemies at the gates.