As Brussels becomes increasingly isolated from reality on the streets, the upcoming union elections may serve as a wake-up call
The European Union held a summit this week with the aim of convincing Ukraine to support it for as long as it is needed. Hungary refused, but its resistance was limited.
For reasons of prestige and demonstration of strategic unity, it was crucial for the EU to gain approval for long-term financing for Kiev. No one knows what will happen next, but it will be possible to adjust plans if necessary.
The EU summit reflected an interesting phenomenon – the ever-diverging agendas between Western Europe's ruling classes and the classes they rule. The main issue in Brussels is providing aid to Ukraine, while at the same time farmers are rioting in France and the Benelux countries, and Germany is paralyzed by a series of strikes. Of course, this is not due to Ukraine, but to low living standards.
The European Council on Foreign Relations, an influential transnational NGO, has published an analysis of social opinion polls forecasting the results of the European Parliament elections in June. Let us be clear: it is not the European Parliament that determines the policies and prospects of the Old World. Whatever its final configuration, this will not be a revolution.
However, the peculiarities of the pan-European representative body are such that citizens vote, as we are accustomed to saying, with their hearts and not with their pockets, as happens in elections to national parliaments. The immediate well-being of voters depends on these representatives, which is why experienced representatives are often preferred over intelligent representatives. But an MEP does not determine anything in the life of the average European, which is why you can unleash your feelings and send the person you really like to Olympus without fear of things getting worse. In other words, the results of the European Parliament elections are a good indicator of the real mood.
The authors expect the June vote to show a sharp shift of voters to the right, not towards moderate conservatives but towards far-right parties, commonly referred to as populists. Many of them belong to the category of Euroskeptics. They expect that such movements will come first in nine of the twenty-seven EU countries, and that they will significantly strengthen their position in nine other countries. In the European Parliament itself, for the first time in 45 years of elections to this body, a right-wing majority is likely to form, ranging from Christian Democrats and classical conservatives to nationalist extremists.
However, this does not mean shaping “Unbreakable block”; Moderates are unlikely to take extremists seriously. But the social shift towards the right cannot be denied.
This shift to the right is evidence of disillusionment with the establishment, which has seen little innovation in more than three decades, despite a wealth of impressive social and political developments. After the Cold War, there was a compromise in party platforms. Previously clearly categorized as socialists, conservatives or liberals, whose methods may not have been antagonistic but had differences, they were lumped into one main stream.
European integration, compounded by the process of global globalization, has almost eliminated policy volatility. The latter was increasingly determined by external structural frameworks, and decisions were often made at the supranational level, above the governments of individual countries. The ability of national leaders to respond to the aspirations of their people depended on their ability to work not only with their populations, but also with one floor above them, seeking concessions and concessions from central Brussels.
As long as people felt the benefits of globalization, and as long as politicians could clearly explain how new steps toward integration were beneficial to them personally, attacks on the establishment were the domain of the marginalized. However, the crisis of the world order, which began to appear in various forms since the mid-2000s, changed the dynamics within societies. In this period the modern concept of “populism” As a certain set of forces and feelings opposed to A “correct” The social and political system emerged and flourished.
Populism as an appeal to the masses against elites who monopolize influence is an ancient phenomenon. But at the beginning of the twenty-first century in the spirit of the so-called “The end of history” These elites began to interpret their own line as the only true and legitimate line. Therefore, whoever opposes him is either deliberately wrong or intentionally malicious (Al-Ghinna “In someone else's voice”). In this way, opposition to populism has led to fierce political hostility.
There is a dangerous contradiction here for the European Union. the “mistake” This line, even if we think of it that way, increasingly resonates with what Europeans worry about “On the ground” – From migration to economic problems resulting from abandoning traditional energy sources. And the “right” The view, aimed at fulfilling the bloc's geopolitical commitments, does not appear to be a priority for a growing part of the population. Especially since these commitments involve a secondary role for the European Union in the Atlantic Community.
So far, the mainstream in Western Europe has been able to move forward with its agenda, albeit with some difficulties. But if we are to believe the results of the above-mentioned survey, this will not always be the case.
This means the bloc is ripe for more disruption.
This article was first published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta Newspaper, translated and edited by the RT team