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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Something is rotten in Europe" - European elections reaction round-up

As the dust settles following the European elections, we are now beginning to see some interesting analysis and commentary from across the EU. Here is our round-up.

Despite the relative success of the established parties in Germany, many commentators have picked up on the EU-wide picture with FAZ's economics editor Holger Steltzner writing that the rise of anti-EU and protest parties across Europe should serve as a “dramatic warning” and that 
“The EU can no any longer be a one-way street, but should give back [powers] to the member states or local authorities.”
Die Welt's front page leader, written by Alan Poesner argues that:
"Something is rotten in Europe. And the reaction of politicians from the large European party-blocs makes it clear where the problem lies. 'Given the strength of the populists we have to work even closer together' is what you hear from both sides. This means: the establishment is locking ranks and closing its ears."  
In Bild, Jan Schäfer argues that:
"In the future, extremists from both sides will grip Europe like a set of pliers! The result: more nationalism, more little-statism and less free trade. That is bad for exports, for jobs. It is the opposite of what Europe needs right now."
Spain's leading daily El País leader argues that:
“In reality, it will be difficult to get out of the dynamics of a grand coalition, irrespective of whether the latter is the most convenient [option] from the political point of view, which demands a display of alternatives. But there is little doubt [a grand coalition is the most convenient option] from the perspective of the necessary stability of the continent.”  
In Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Aldo Cazzullo argues that:  
“The 2014 [European Parliament] elections will be remembered as the historic defeat of a political system. The eclipse of traditional parties. The rejection of the European establishment… The European vote confirms a trend that extends itself well beyond the continent: the sign of our times is the revolt against the elites, the institutions, the traditional forms of representation. And Europe is perceived as the bedrock and the guarantor of those elites people are rebelling against.”
In France, Nicolas Barré argues in Los Echos that
“With regard to Europe, the message from voters and those who abstained is rather a great distress towards political projects that seem empty to them – as [these projects] offer a choice between going backwards, which is always something difficult to enthuse about, and moving forward, but without knowing very well to where. Since the status quo is not an option either, for being so unsatisfactory, one can understand that a large number of voters have stayed away from ballot boxes or have voted 'against'."  
Dutch daily De Volkskrant features a comment piece by Alexis Brezet, the opinion pages editor of French daily Le Figaro in which he argues that:
"the European idea, as developed since the Treaty of Maastricht, is the main victim of the elections. If you add the non-voters to the voters who have supported a europhobic or eurosceptic party, it's only one third of EU citizens which supports the European project. Apparently Europe, which is being shaped without the people and sometimes against the people, doesn't appeal any longer...If Europe wants to win back the hearts of Europeans, simple reparations won't suffice: a fundamental reform is needed." 
A leader in Belgian daily De Tijd argues that:
"the eurosceptics will in-avoidably weigh on decision making in their own countries and in Europe... Cameron will now refuse to make any concessions to Brussels... discussions about British EU membership and its modalities will become very difficult. France is an even bigger problem. The core eurozone country has struggled for a long time already, economically... Now that a quarter of the French have voted for Marine Le Pen... it will become even more difficult for Hollande to implement necessary reforms and savings."
In Poland meanwhile, most commentators are focusing on the national implications of the vote - where Civic Platform beat Law and Justice by a very narrow margin - and have not really commented on the broader European picture.

No doubt much more will be written about these elections in the coming days and weeks, but it's clear that many already consider them to be a potential watershed moment for the 'European project'.


Unknown said...

Comment from Latvia Written by Kim Kosmachev, the editor of the most popular (in Latvia and Baltics) news site DELFI . In russian, but seems interesting https://www.facebook.com/kim.kosmachev/posts/666755706730036

Rik said...

They clearly still havenot got a clue what is happening and/or are simply unable/incompetent to change.
Which is basically for reform very good news. The rot at national level will continue. And from national level the pressure should come for reform.

As an outsider the complete lack of quality people both at political level as well as with the media is simply appaling I have to say.

Just one it is not the revolt against the elites. It is the elites having got completely disconnected from their electorates.

Freedom Lover said...

Rik, the elites, the political & metropolitan establishment, the chatterati, whatever you like to call them, have been recognised in this recent EP election for what they are. Not democrats at all. Instead self-serving know-alls who's only concern for the mass of ordinary people like you & me is that we vote for their approved mainstream political parties (of both the left & the right), & then leave them to be free for 4 or 5 years to enjoy all the perks of power, including making laws that favour them & their associates - plus generous tax-free expenses.

That's not democracy, that's a post-democratic oligarchy. But that's what the elite favour, & why they resent the intrusion of upstarts that this recent EP election has revealed. It's no wonder Rousseau said years ago of the British that "they are only free once every 5 years!" This EP election has revealed that others around Europe have also noticed that they are being similarly deceived!

Idris Francis said...

In the early 1990's Bernard Connolly, then a very senior official involved in euro preparations, wrote a devastating book "The Rotten Heart of Europe" - and (naturally) was fired by the EU for his pains.An updated version was issued a few months ago and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone - including Open Europe members - who is still not fully aware of the nature of the EU
beast - and it's intentions


(It is not clear which version is offered)

Patrick Barron said...

The assumption that "more Europe" is good has been shown to be completely false. What evidence is needed, other than unsustainable debt, disastrous unemployment, a lethal business climate, high taxes, and now welfare-seeking immigrants?

There is nothing that the EU can offer than adopting unilateral free trade cannot accomplish with zero cost. Let the people of Europe trade and prosper, and keep government out of the way.

Average Englishman said...

The Commissars and their supporters are fanatics. They will not change their views or their programme of action unless they are stopped by national governments or ultimately, the people they are supposed to serve. They do not have a reverse gear on their EU 'ever closer union' gravy train.

There is still plenty of evidence of the same attitude in the UK notwithstanding recent events. Some UK politicians have been quoted as saying "we just need to explain our policies better and then the electorate will understand (the dumb plebs, - OK that was me) just how right we are and flock back to vote for us when they have had their protest".

Well no. Us plebs are not so dumb as you think oh mighty ones. We are perfectly capable of assessing our circumstances and what is best for our country and for our children's future and wait for it, maybe, just maybe we are more on the right lines than you are? How's that for some radical new 'blue sky' thinking? Try it out for size guys and see if you can make that great "OMG I could be wrong" leap but sadly, I suspect it is beyond you. As one very sensible and holy person once said: there are none so blind as those who will not see.

Anonymous said...

There is a large world where you can trade outside of the eussr, it's time our politicians realised that and left this small trading bloc and went for the much larger one outside of it.

Rik said...

The problem with a product the mothers of the present consumers already used is that it takes a long time till a majority realises things are pretty odd.
And often even longer for the producers thereof to realise that he should change his product or end up in the bustbin.

That is basically the situation here.
Eurosceptics like yourself still donot have sufficient power to make change happen.
Traditional parties have seen the massive movement, but basically are still not acting. Reacting on an ad hoc basis like Cameron at best.