Angelos Stangos ANGELOS STANGOS

Disconcerting developments

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics, EU

Europe does not appear to be in good shape ahead of European Parliament elections on May 26, and predictions for the future suggest that it’s only going to get worse. People with knowledge and understanding of the unification project will find it hard to deny that the continent is experiencing situations and predicaments that would have been unthinkable up until a few years back.

It is the same people who realize that the upcoming ballot is about the freedom, prosperity and peace of the European people, as well as their being able to influence the international environment.

Some of the worrying phenomena regarding the present and the future of Europe are already known to observers. The emergence of so-called Euroskeptics in a number of countries generated some concern at first; however, this soon gave place to complacency. Then came the elections in Poland, Hungary, Austria and other countries which were won by nationalist Euroskeptic parties and other similar groupings.

For some reason, these parties have become part of the European mainstream. Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is polling near 12 percent, in Spain the far-right Vox party is forecast to get a foothold in the 350-seat national parliament for the first time in four decades (Catalan pro-independence parties should take a share of the blame for this) in Sunday’s elections, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and League leader Matteo Salvini is trying to build an international alliance of far-right parties, and former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon, who wants a Europe of (weak) nation-states, is back in the limelight.

The AfD have invited Bannon and British anti-EU politician Nigel Farage to a “conference for a free media” to be held in Berlin next month. It’s not hard to imagine what the conference will be about.

But there could be worse. Brexit, the yellow vests in France, the conference of ultranationalist and neo-Nazi groups in Sofia for the creation of “a Europe of Fatherlands,” Greece’s fascist Golden Dawn party, which is polling at 7.5 percent, Trump’s obsession with breaking up the EU, and the projected economic slowdown in the coming year.

Perhaps there is no straight line connecting all of the above developments, but they are nevertheless certainly a cause for serious concern.

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