Saturday September 20, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
27o C
19o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Europe goes to the polls with EU skeptics poised to make gains

By Ian Wishart

Voters across the European Union give their verdict today on policy makers’ handling of the euro- area debt crisis in elections to the European Parliament that may shape the future of the 28-nation bloc.

The world’s second-largest democratic exercise after India’s elections concludes with polls forecasting a surge by protest parties from the U.K. to Greece that reject the EU or demand the end of German-style fiscal austerity.

“Governments are being blamed for harsh economic times,” said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank in London. “If you pursue austerity and harsh reforms, it doesn’t make you popular.”

While anti-establishment forces aren’t projected to take over the EU Parliament, their stronger presence would create more distractions for vulnerable national governments and threaten to slow down areas of European legislative business from financial-industry rules to energy-market liberalization.

Even as threats to the euro have waned, better economic data have been slow to trickle through, fueling grievances about budget cuts, joblessness and immigration.

Voters in France are forecast to rally behind Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration National Front, and in Britain, local elections that took place on May 22 showed gains by Nigel Farage’s U.K. Independence Party, which wants to pull Britain out of the EU.

Results Announced

Anti-EU politicians are poised to more than double their share of seats in the Parliament to almost 20 percent, with post-communist parties also forecast to make gains. The results of the election, involving about 400 million eligible voters, are scheduled to be announced from 11 p.m. in Brussels tonight.

Initial exit polls from the Netherlands showed a setback for Geert Wilders’s anti-EU Freedom Party, which may have come in fourth after targeting a first-place finish. That preliminary picture prompted cheers from backers of greater European integration.

“The Dutch results show that there is everything to play for,” Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister who is a member of the EU Parliament, said in an e-mailed statement.

Verhofstadt, who is also the leader in the EU assembly of the pro-business Liberal group, is one of five candidates running for president of the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm.

Commission President

The link between the election and the job of commission chief has never been stronger because of new rules requiring national leaders to “take account” of the legislative elections when nominating a successor to Jose Barroso of Portugal, whose term at the helm of the commission ends in October. The largest European party in the Parliament after the elections will have a claim to the top commission job.

Polls put the Christian Democratic bloc, which includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, and the Socialists backed by French President Francois Hollande neck-and-neck for first place. The Christian Democrats fielded former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker as their candidate to head the commission, while the Socialists favored Parliament President Martin Schulz of Germany.

EU leaders, who are due to meet for an informal summit over dinner in Brussels on May 27, may ignore the contest and choose their own candidate to run the commission and “dare” the Parliament to vote against that candidate, Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said in a blog posting.

While populist and nationalist parties will do better than in earlier EU elections, they will “ultimately fail to achieve much political influence in the European Parliament, which will instead –- again -– be governed by a de facto grand coalition,” he said.

[Bloomberg]

ekathimerini.com , Sunday May 25, 2014 (12:13)  
Results of probe into 20 Lagarde list names due soon
Police refute reports of Jihadi training
Gov’t drafts plan to secure exit from memorandum
Greek commuters have relatively long wait
Record sum of new debts to the state in August
Expired debts to the state rose to a record high in August, according to data released on Friday by the Finance Ministry. The sum of taxes and fines that remained unpaid after their deadline...
‘Greece can meet its needs on its own’
Greece will be able to meet its obligations without any new assistance from the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis said on Friday in London, leaving the door ope...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Triumph for PAOK, historic result for Asteras in Europa League
Greek teams produced a patchy record on the opening night of the Europa League group stage on Thursday, as PAOK thrashed Dynamo Minsk, Asteras Tripolis snatched a draw at Besiktas and Panath...
SOCCER
Financial crisis forces Greek second division postponement
Greece's second soccer division Football League announced on Wednesday the postponement of the start of the season due to financial difficulties being faced by most clubs. "The board of dire...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Universities threatened by transfers
The problem arising from the abuse of the Greek university transfer system – whereby some students are allowed to move to an institution of their choice instead of the one they were admitted...
EDITORIAL
Capital changes
A sizable part of the middle of the Greek capital has been slated to receive a significant makeover with the implementation of an urban restructuring project which includes turning a key cit...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Results of probe into 20 Lagarde list names due soon
2. Police refute reports of Jihadi training
3. Gov’t drafts plan to secure exit from memorandum
4. Greek commuters have relatively long wait
5. IKA uncovers benefits scam at Kerameikos branch
6. Man dies in well accident
more news
Today
This Week
1. ‘Greece can meet its needs on its own’
2. Record sum of new debts to the state in August
3. Results of probe into 20 Lagarde list names due soon
4. Gov’t drafts plan to secure exit from memorandum
5. Special guard arrested over extortion, bribery
6. Climber rescued on Mount Olympus
Today
This Week
1. Greece on standby
2. Greece at bottom of social justice scale among EU28
3. Central Athens traffic restrictions back in force on Monday
4. Lost in the fog
5. Democracy under Pressure | Live Streaming
6. Lessons not learned
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.