Elections in Europe: No risks for the EU, leaders readying to face Trump-Brexit

Visit of Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States (on the left), to the EC. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission received Pence in Commission’s headquarters in Brussels. (Date: 20/02/2017 Location: Brussels - EC/Berlaymont. © European Union, 2017/ Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Etienne Ansotte.)

Visit of Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States (on the left), to the European Commission. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EC, received Pence in Commission’s headquarters in Brussels. (Date: 20/02/2017 Location: Brussels – EC/Berlaymont. © European Union, 2017/ Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Etienne Ansotte.)

Some political analysts in mainland Europe but many more in Britain and on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in the US, have rushed to call 2017 the year that can make or break the European Union. They basically argue that the three crucial legislative elections due in Holland next month, in France in April – May and in Germany this September can produce high-risk Eurosceptic governments. The argument continues by envisaging a widespread unwillingness to uphold the European project.

A possibility is discussed that one or more political leaders who may win the elections this year might vie to disengage their country from the European venture and, why not, leave the EU altogether, as Britain did. Of course, Germany is exempted from all those ‘far-sighted’ analyses. Not even these clairvoyant writers can visualize the eventuality that ‘Alternative für Deutschland‘, the extreme right wing, xenophobic, anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic party wins the September election.

The British want company

It’s understandable for the British analysts to look out for company in the solitary Brexit voyage of their country (Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t want to leave the EU). It’s equally understandable why some extreme right wing people in the Donald Trump team are so negatively disposed towards the European Union. For example, the White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, an extreme right wing populist, fear mongering and false news spreading media businessman has undermined Vice President’s Mike Pence’s amicable visit to Brussels. Bannon rushed to emit his totally negative views about the EU to European channels, only a few days ahead of the trip. Obviously, the semi fascist champions of the ‘alt right’ and the ‘tea parties’, who have recently been called to Washington by Trump, cannot tolerate the democratic European way of doing politics.

In detail now, last Monday in Brussels, Pence told the EU leadership that Washington’s pledge for the European Union is “steadfast and enduring”. Bannon, however, only a few days ahead of Pence’s visit to Europe, reportedly told Peter Wittig, the German ambassador in Washington, exactly the opposite. According to Reuters, in that meeting, Bannon said that “he viewed the EU as a flawed construct and favored conducting relations with Europe on a bilateral basis”. But let’s return to Europe.

What about the elections?

The English language commentators, who brandish the three legislative elections in mainland Europe this year, as presenting fatal dangers for the European edifice, forget that the EU is not an international body; it’s a structure of, in many respects, fused nations. Nineteen out of the 27+1 member states also share the common European currency, the euro. Brussels, authoritatively, constitutionally and collectively represents, elaborates and decides through the EU structures: Commission, Council and Parliament – about all the financial and economic functions of the entire 27 member states club. What Bannon said about bilateral relations is only possible in the case of Britain. Every other EU country has first to leave the club in order to discuss bilateral relations with the US.

Let’s see, though, what are the real electoral dangers that Europe has to face this year? Starting from Holland’s Geert Wilders, the Eurosceptic, extreme right wing, xenophobic and anti-Islamic Freedom Party leader, it’s obvious that he may win the next election. However, since the present electoral system was introduced in this affluent and easy going country, no political party has ever managed to win an absolute majority. So, even if Wilders wins the election he will have to cooperate with at least one or more political parties, in order to form a viable government.

Incumbent Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rute, and leader of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, hasn’t ruled out a government partnership with Wilders, again only if the latter breaks the tradition which wants him doing much better in polls than in the ballot box. The possibility of a Dutchexit with Mark Rute in government, even with Wilders as Prime Minister, is nonexistent. On top of that, Holland is vitally dependant on her economic relations with the EU and the prevailing feeling amongst voters is not anti-European. Wilders may lash out against the Muslims as Trump does, but, again, the Dutch courts will remind him of the constitutional boundaries.

Stronger Franco- German axis

Passing on to France, the next President of the Republic will either be Emmanuel Macron or Francois Fillion. The former is strong supporter of a faster advancement of the European project, through a closer cooperation with Germany. The Franco-German axis has always been the power house of the EU. As for Fillion, he has never expressed the slightest doubt about the EU edifice. Those who want to view him as some kind of Anglophile forget that France’s financial industry has a lot to gain from a full and hard Brexit. No wonder if Fillion will be equally harsh as Macron has promised to be in the negotiations for the UK’s exit from the Union. Not to say anything about Scotland’s and Northern Ireland’s strong willingness to remain in the EU, even if it takes a separation from the Kingdom. London has no easy answers about that.

In any case, both Macron and Fillion are expected to beat chauvinist and anti-EU Marine Le Pen in May with a very comfortable majority of double digit headway in the second round of the election. So, the European Union has nothing to fear from this spring’s Presidential election in France. It’s Britain which is bound to suffer from the inauguration of a freshly elected French President, eager to show he is working for the interests of his country in the negotiations for the Brexit. If Brexiteers and American Trumpists in a kind of a package go on contesting EU, the new French President, whoever he may be, is to confront this Anglo-American alliance in a much more effective way than Francois Hollande.

Germany stands for the EU

In neighboring Germany’s legislative September elections, the possibility of the Social Democrat Martin Schulz beating Angela Merkel is music to the ears of the federalist European idealists. Schulz, having served as President of the European Parliament for six years is committed to enhance the European project, and has vowed to promote the unity and the effectiveness of the EU. Again, even if Angela Merkel wins a fourth term in the Berlin Chancellery, the EU will also be rather on the winning side.

Not to underestimate the fact that Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union appears ready to try hard for Germany to gain from the US turn to protectionist and the retreat from the global horizons. Currently, Berlin readies to profit from Washington’s decision to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This agreement, extending over almost half of the earth’s surface – excluding China – is meant to create a level playing field of free trade and investment in the entire Pacific and South-East Asia area. Undoubtedly, Germany can stretch her wings more effectively in this vast region, by using the highways the European Union has already paved around the world.

In conclusion, A.D. 2017 is not expected to present any existential threats to the European Union. On the contrary, the Anglo-American partnership is already tested in the eastern provinces of Ukraine, with London strongly opposing any conciliation between Washington and Moscow.

As for Trump, his administration has so far proved impotent to draft a structured agenda on crucial strategic issues. The resignation of his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, after three weeks in office, and the rise in the White House team of the disorderly Steve Bannon, prove that Trump cannot put together a well performing administration, with clearly defined roles and targets. Already, James Mattis, the US Defense Secretary, has openly opposed Trump on crucial issues, like NATO and Iraq. Undoubtedly then, the American dysfunction may be the only source of risks for the European Union, not her own well organized internal workings.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

TTIP wins Merkel’s endorsement ahead of 2016 tough deadline

The Commission sees ‘moderate recovery’ but prospects deteriorate

Why the ECB had to clarify it caters for the entire Eurozone not just Germany?

EU accused of being too nice with Gazprom in the infamous antitrust case

EU-US to miss 2015 deadline and even lose Germany’s support in TTIP’s darkest week yet

Is a full course lunch, a new Commissioner and 2 million anti-TTIP citizens what you would call a “Fresh Start”?

ECB readies itself for extraordinary monetary measures defying Germany

Austerity lovers to put a break on Renzi’s growth vision for Europe? the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

More billions needed to help Eurozone recover; ECB sidesteps German objections about QE

One Day in Beijing

EU signs with Canada historic trade agreement, others to follow

GREXIT final wrap-up: nobody believed Aesop’s boy who cried wolf so many times

COP21 Breaking News: “There is an ecological debt that the world needs to pay back to Africa”, French President Francois Hollande promises 2 Billion euros by 2020 from Paris

Europe united in not supporting a US attack on Syria

Migration crisis: how big a security threat it is?

Does the world have strong enough institutions to handle risks like Trump and Brexit?

Commission’s feeble response to financial benchmarks fraud

Obama turns the G20 summit into warmongering platform

The Chinese spirit

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

Entrepreneurship’s key to success showcased by a serial young entrepreneur

On European immigration: Europe’s Missing Citizens

Does the Commission subsidise a forced labour scheme in Britain?

Doctors vs. Industry 4.0: who will win?

Is Data Privacy really safe seen through Commissioner’s PRISM?

European Business Summit 2014 : The Sting Report, Day II – Business, Politics and EBS 2015

ECB to support only banks not Peoples

Half of Eurozone in deflation expecting salvation from monetary measures

Quantitative easing: how Mario can tackle low inflation in Eurozone

France fails again the exams. Kindly requested to sit in on Commission’s class

Syria: Why did the US now take the Russian offer for a truce? What next?

Will Turkey abandon the refugee deal and risk losing a bonanza of money?

YO!FEST ENGAGES 8,000 YOUNG EUROPEANS IN FUTURE OF EU

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Why the 33,000 staff European Commission did not have a real contingency plan for the refugee crisis?

Microsoft’s YouthSpark: a kiss of Life to European Youth from the European Parliament

The ASEAN Community sees the light: the genesis of a new powerful economic and political bloc and EU’s big opportunity

Is a deal over EU budget possible today?

EU: Turkey to shelter Syrian refugees and turn other immigrants back in return of €3 billion

The increasing drug prices in Europe

EU Commission: Once in every 20 beef meals you eat…horse probably with drugs in it

France and Poland to block David Cameron’s plans on immigration

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “Chinese economy has great potential, resilience and ample space for policy adjustment”, China’s Vice President Li Yuanchao reassures from Davos

Intel @ European Business Summit 2014: Better decisions now, the new business dashboard 

Me and China

GSMA Mobile 360: Connecting Cities, Connecting Lives, Connecting Europe

Banking Union: ECOFIN and Parliament ready to compromise

A very good morning in European markets

EU Commission challenges Berlin by proposing breakthrough legislation on banks

Advocate General ‘outlaws’ Data Retention Directive

Gloomy new statistics signify no end to Eurozone’s economic misery

Will Brexit shatter the EU or is it still too early to predict?

Why banks escape from competition rules but not pharmaceutical firms

Human rights in Brussels and in Beijing: a more balanced approach needed

The Americans are preparing for the next financial crisis

While EU Open Days 2013 discuss the 2020 strategy, Microsoft shares a glimpse of EU 2060

Paris agreed with Berlin over a loose and ineffective banking union

IMF’s Lagarde to Peoples of the world: You have to work more for the banks!

A few, or rather two, trade and economic alliances may rule our brave new world

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Anglian Rose says:

    As a Greek (one assumes) you more than anyone should be able to see the abject failure of Europe. It may also come as some surprise to you to learn the British couldn’t really give a damn about what other European Countries stay or leave Europe. Whoever stays will be picking up a massive tax bill down the road, whoever leave will need to have the courage and guts of the British – there are few in Europe (if any) who have the courage. The British have stood against the world many times, now is no different, we are best when we stand up for the principles of free speech; democracy and the right to manage our own destiny. For the British we already feel liberated to be free from the chains of the EU a most unpleasant and suffocating clubs of self servers – the UK looks forward to rejoining the world and becoming a thriving nation once again.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s