Friday, January 18, 2019

The upcoming European elections - Peter Skurkiss

by Peter Skurkiss

A good performance by the Euroskeptics would be a nightmare scenario for the EU.

Elections will be held May 23 - May 26 among the 27 countries of the European Union to select 705 members to the European Parliament. These elections happen every five years, and 2019 is one of those years.

The number of countries represented in this parliament was 28, but with Great Britain leaving it will now be 27. 

In the past, these elections were humdrum affairs. After all, who could you vote for, Tweedledee or Tweedledum? But not this time. A lot has happened in Europe to change the political environment, and this election could have profound effect on the European Union itself. As the German newspaper Der Spiegel says:
Right-wing populists have become a feature in the political landscape of almost every European member state, while in Italy, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Denmark, and Finland, they are either part of the government or support the government. They are no longer merely a fringe phenomenon or a passing anomaly. Rather, they are a movement that could continue to grow -- and they are doing all they can to position themselves as such.
It's not accurate to call these parties right-wing. Some are, some aren't. They're a diverse group. What they are, however, is Euroskeptics who are united in their anger towards the cosmopolitan elite, the liberal opinion leaders in the media, and overbearing bureaucrats in Brussels. Not surprisingly, the two greatest villains in their eyes are German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Euroskeptics loath Macron for his call for deeper European integration which they equate with further loss of their freedom. They chaff from directives pushed on them from Brussels like political correctness, smoking bans, homosexual marriages, costly environmental regulations, and most of all, immigration from the Third World into their countries.

Euroskeptics hope to transform the upcoming European elections into a kind of plebiscite: What kind of Europe do people want? Should the EU be a political union with a corresponding dilution of national sovereignty or should it merely be a free-trade bloc where each individual country can chart its own course? 

According to Der Spiegel, polls show the Euroskeptics capturing 20 percent of the vote in the May elections. Although this would not be a majority, it could be enough to throw a monkey wrench into the workings of Brussels. When Nigel Farage was a member of the European Parliament, he would harangue his fellow members on the dangers inherent in the EU. His rants went nowhere, as he was a lone voice crying out. But imagine how effective such a message would resonate when one-fifth of the Parliament is in agreement. 

A good performance by the Euroskeptics would be a nightmare scenario for the EU. It could stop further integration in Europe and actually turn back the clock. Marine Le Pen of France says, "Wild globalization is coming to an end." These are important elections. Keep your eye on them.

Peter Skurkiss


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