Home Featured As Europe votes, a populist wave surges  – POLITICO
As Europe votes, a populist wave surges  – POLITICO

As Europe votes, a populist wave surges  – POLITICO

by host

The EU election is the second biggest in the world this year, after India’s election. | Ramon van Flymen/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

For a Continent that has prided itself on having laid the rest the ghosts of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco, the resurgence of the right as a political forces is coming as a shock. POLITICO’s Poll of Polls shows far-right groups substantially increasing their share of the 720 seats in the European Parliament to as many as 184 seats, as voters across the bloc swing to the right.

While Europe’s right-wing parties are unlikely to unite as a single block, their surge in support — and their normalization as political forces — will increase pressure on European leaders to crack down on migration to the bloc, water down plans to decarbonize the economy and possibly dial back the EU’s support for Ukraine.

Coming just five months before a U.S. presidential election, the right-wing surge is also seen as setting the stage for a possible shift in transatlantic relations. If Trump is reelected in November, he could seek to team up with pro-Russian European politicians like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to seek a peace deal in Ukraine on unfavorable terms for Kyiv.

But while the far-right will undoubtedly weigh on Europe’s policy choices, including vis-a-vis strategic rivals such as Russia and China, Le Pen and her ilk still won’t be strong enough to call the shots in the EU. Nor are any of these parties seeking to leave the bloc, as the United Kingdom did back in 2016 with its historic Brexit vote.

According to POLITICO’s Poll of polls, the pro-EU mainstream parties are on course to maintain a majority in the European Parliament. These parties are the same parties that backed European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s liberal agenda over the past five years, voting in favor of her “Green Deal” climate change package, aid for Ukraine and overhaul of migration rules. In all likelihood, they will ensure continuity in these policies.

What’s likely to change are the EU’s priorities, with the coming five years looking set to be less focused on environmental policies and much more on economic competitiveness amid increasing rivalry with China and the United States, with an emphasis on tough border controls.

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