The European media are full of angst this morning over the results of elections to the European Parliament, which concluded on Sunday. The elections are being spun as a big victory for extremists and Eurosceptics, throwing the direction of the European Union into doubt. Extremists topped the polls in Britain, France, Greece and Denmark, and scored major gains elsewhere.

There's certainly some basis for concern, but things are not as dire -- or as exciting -- as you might think. To understand why, you first need to know a few things about the European Parliament.