EU elections 2019: Rise of nationalist trends and populism in Europe challenges the EU edifice

Press conference by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EC, ahead of the Informal EU27 Leaders’ meeting in Sibiu, Romania Date: 07/05/2019. Location: Brussels – EC/Berlaymont. © European Union, 2019. Source: EC – Audiovisual Service

The European elections are going to be held in just two weeks’ time and far-right propaganda is gaining momentum creating concerns to everyone regarding the future of the EU, which is at stake. Populism and nationalism have dramatically risen in the EU during the last years menacing democratic institutions within a number of European member states.

The President of the European Commission prompted the European citizens yesterday to think carefully before voting in the EU elections. The EC president’s concerns originate from the fact that populist and nationalist parties gain ground, as per recent polls.

Furthermore, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated last Monday that he will not support EPP’s leader, Manfred Weber, as the European Commission president, following the decision of EPP to freeze the Hungarian ruling party “Fidesz” last March.

EU elections polls

Populism and far-right propaganda are growing in the EU; especially in France and Germany. More specifically, Marine Le Pen’s far-right party will gain 22% of the vote overtaking Emmanuel Macron’s party according to an Ipsos poll which was released last Sunday. However, it is not the first time that such an outcome occurs showing that populists will clearly benefit from the upcoming EU elections.

According to political science, these elections have been historically used as second-order elections which reflect on the electorate’s dissatisfaction against the incumbent government and EU integration as a whole.

Germany is another country which is demonstrating similar signs of surging populism according to the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. A recent study which was published by this foundation reveals that populism in the country has increased and particularly one out of three citizens expresses anti-democratic views.

What is more, Bertelsmann Foundation conducted a research among 23.725 voters in twelve European countries. The result of the analysis was that 10% of the interviewees will vote for the right-wing populists and right-wing extremists while the majority will vote against the parties that mostly reject.

Orban against Weber’s candidacy

The Hungarian Prime Minister is no longer supporting Manfred Weber for the EC presidency after the latter’s refusal to accept votes from the far-right Fidesz party in order to be elected as the next EC president. More in detail, Viktor Orbán said two days ago: “If someone insults a country like this, then the prime minister of that country can’t support such a person’s candidacy. We are looking for the appropriate candidate.”

Currently, the Hungarian PM is oriented to bring together the center right and far right as it is the case in Austria where FPÖ governs as part of a coalition with the center-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). However, a model like this is not likely to take place in the EPP party as its lead candidate Weber has rejected the idea of such an alliance.

EU concerns

The entire political system of Europe is under tremendous pressure and people composing the democratic institutions are greatly worrying. Jean-Claude Juncker expressed his concerns regarding the EU elections and urged EU voters to figure out how the EU would be if extremists were to become the leading force.

EU ombudsman Emily O’Reilly attempted last week to underline the importance of everyone’s participation and vote in the EU elections. Her exact words were: “How do we encourage administrations to engage with their citizens when it comes to decision making at national or European level? What can we do to make sure that people feel they have a real say in how their lives are governed and that their votes and voices matter?…Much of my work has been about the breaking of barriers between the EU institutions and EU citizens. It ranges from gentle reminders to respond to a single communication to attempting to open the decision-making processes to greater public view and participation. Knowing that our work has a high purpose is the key to action, innovation, and to a drive for positive and concrete outcomes.”

All in all, the European elections are crucial not only for the EU but also for the world’s democratic powers. The fact that a large part of the EU citizens have fully lost their faith in politicians and vote not based on the person they want to elect but on dissatisfaction nad protest is challenging. It irrevocably contributes to the rise of right-wing extremists and populists.

Naturally, it will be always up to the democratic political parties to truly prove to the European citizens that they do have a noble vision and political strategy for the common good and that they don’t care only about the tax free hefty salaries of an MEP or Commissioner, together with their often unqualified cabinets and friends, who know someone who knew someone else, wearing Prada and working from sunbeds.

Only when the latter takes place the democratic forces of Europe will possibly regain the trust of the EU voters and save the EU project from an abrupt collapse which is bound to endanger peoples’ lives and peace in the Old Continent.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

MEPs clear another hurdle for the COVID-19 recovery plan

Political consensus critical ahead of Somalia election: UN mission chief

UN chief saddened at news of death of former US President George H.W. Bush

Trump’s blasting win causes uncertainty and turbulence to the global financial markets

Two States ‘side-by-side’ is the ‘peaceful and just solution’ for Israel-Palestine conflict: Guterres

Sustainable development funding is broken. Here’s how to fix it

Why the next 4 months are crucial to the future of the ocean

Hate speech in the digital world a ‘critical obstacle for LGBTI people’: UN’s Bachelet

Europe enters uncharted waters with Kiev-Moscow standoff

The Fight for Women’s Rights

It’s not summer holidays what lead to the bad August of the German economy

EU summit: Are the London Tories planning an exit from the EU?

Track the spread of coronavirus around the world

The Ukrainian crisis to destabilize Europe and the world for a long time

5 world-changing ideas: our top picks for World Creativity and Innovation Day

The psychology of pandemics

Tech can reach the world’s unbanked women – but only if they tell us how it should work

UN health agency team in China to strengthen coronavirus response through partnership

Attempt to defy international law over Golan Heights sovereignty ‘doomed to failure’ Security Council hears

This South Korean city once had the biggest coronavirus outbreak outside of China. Now it’s reported zero new cases

THE COMMITTEES: ‘All roads lead to the Fifth’

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed merger of Cargotec and Konecranes

World Editors Forum President: Credible media vital in the fight against COVID-19 and fake news epidemic

The Council of Europe adopts Recommendation on young people’s access to rights

The US will impose tariffs on Mexico, says President Trump

How the Irish people were robbed by banks, the Commission and their own government

Reforms in a few countries drive a decline in average OECD labour taxes

Medical students as the critical link to address climate change

Human Rights and Democracy: striving for dignity and equality around the world

Questions directors need to ask in the age of stakeholder capitalism

Human traffickers in Libya are posing as UN staff, says Refugee Agency

Amazon on fire: the interference in global health

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

Latin America and Caribbean region deadliest for journalists in 2019

4 myths about manufacturing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Youth Guarantee putting young people in jobs

Can cybersecurity offer value for money?

Africa must become more resilient to climate risk. Here’s how

Ireland: prepare now for rising fiscal pressures, external risks

Why our future relies on more inclusive and transparent innovation

Coronavirus global response: EU allocates additional €50 million in humanitarian aid

Mobile health technology: Advances, Facilitations and Promotion of Autonomy

Except Poland, can climate change also wait until 2021 for the EU Market Stability Reserve to be launched?

Fragile countries risk being ‘stuck in a cycle of conflict and climate disaster,’ Security Council told

COVID-19 Wave III: Were the lessons learned from last year any useful?

Commission welcomes the political agreement on the transitional rules for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Berlin ‘orders’ the EU Parliament to compromise

How music can help children with autism connect

EU to Telcos: Stop Mergers and Acquisitions but please help me urgently with 5G development

US-China trade war at point of no return: Washington’s demands go beyond tariffs

European markets itchy with short-term disturbances

Ten reasons to be optimistic in 2019

From UN Assembly podium, Central African Republic leader appeals for lifting arms embargo

Parliament elects the von der Leyen Commission

4 reasons cities should embrace Universal Basic Income

UN chief condemns terror attack in Kismayo, Somalia

Facts, not fear, will stop COVID-19 – so how should we talk about it?

To realise the full potential of AI, we must regulate it differently

What is the Coral Triangle?

8 steps towards a sustainable economic recovery

More Stings?

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s