Simply, the European elections have left a post-apocalyptic scenario. Austerity policies have left a new weaker Europe, in which the intergovernmental character will rise significantly. In this scenario, although the main political power houses remain in power they will need a pact in order to maintain a solid core of power at the new Commission Cabinet. However, a scenario where a divorce between the political elites and the European peoples’ sovereignty has been already highlighted, with the turnover being almost exactly the same as in 2009, about 45%.
The new scenario at the European Parliament also highlights that disenchantment has driven some citizens, who are still worried about Europe, towards xenophobic and extremist stances. Divergences are growing, Eurosceptics gained seats. It is not a surprise after, what were in my opinion, inappropriate responses to the first pan-European economic and financial crisis. It is not a surprise that this led to European citizens feeling less European; either “Rich North” because they feel they had to pay the bill or the rescued “Poor South”. Hate is gaining ground, political scavengers -like the German Nazi Party (NSPD) or the Greek Golden Dawn- have gained legitimate voices in the same EU Parliament that they despise themselves, despite celebrating anti-Semitism and intolerance at the heart of Brussels. Although it is legitimate news to remember that Nazism 80 years ago was also legitimate, overall such gains are bad news for each and every one.
Meanwhile in the European Hotspots
In France, the cradle of the principles of Equality, Fraternity and Freedom, National Front led by Marine le Pen received the most votes in the country. The founder of the party, Jean-Marie Le Pen, said concerning immigration policy that, in France, this problem would be solved “within three months due to the lethal action of Mr. Ebola” He made this statement before passing the floor of that rally to his daughter, Marine Le Pen, who currently leads the far right. In the words of Manuel Valls, the election results in France were “a political earthquake”.
In Greece, the epicentre of the crisis mirrors the European Parliament. The current election left a very polarized picture in which the current pro-European austerity policies will play a secondary role between the two extremes of the political spectrum. The result clearly points to the Greek anti-austerity left, SYRIZA , as the winner of the European elections in Greece. Elections granted the leftists about 30% of the votes. The conservatives, New Democracy, scored about 25% of the votes. The neo Nazis, Golden dawn, gained two seats out of the Greek 21. This is a situation which may lead to further social turmoil within the country where politics needs to be carefully handled.
In Germany, no surprises… what a surprise… The political profile of the German EMPs will not suffer more than a few changes. CDU-CSU, which based their campaign upon Angela Merkel more than on the current candidate David Mcallister, lost 7 seats, while holding onto 35 seat. Meanwhile SPD rose to 27 driven by the energy of Martin Schulz campaign. Therefore, German coalition government will not suffer significant shock. However, doubt arises on Germany’s horizon; what will come after Merkel? At the moment, the uncertainty of Europe’s future, could potentially allow the Nazi party NPD to sit a representative in the European Parliament. As with the rest of Europe , Germany has a dangerous and narrow path to walk for the days to come.
In Spain, although the country is in a permanent state of sedation after the Champions League final, the current bipartisanship system has suffered a hefty blow. Partido popular and PSOE lost 8 and 9 seats respectively, in total 17 out of 54 less. A political debacle that captured the discontent of the Spanish citizens with the current political national scenario, raising citizens’ claim against the corruption, whilst demanding a change of direction -Left wise- in the current economic and social policy framework. Izquierda plural tripled the results of the last elections getting 7 seats. Podemos, a citizen platform, was the surprise of the day gaining 5 sits (7,94% ) in their first elections, underlining the necessity of a higher level of political responsiveness at National and European level.
2014 EP Elections’ Aftermath
On the one hand, the EP elections 2014 showed that the EPP austerity agenda turns from 30% of the 45%, which is 15% of the overall EU population. This alone shows that something is wrong with the EU if only 15% of the population can impose a policy agenda over the other 85%. It also showed that, in same way as in Germany, an EPP rule with the S&D’s consent means that a coalition will be needed to sustain a strong Commission cabinet. Mainstream political power houses have ultimately proven to be the same, and as a result, both groups have thrown blinks to each other in last night’s various press conferences.
Yet, the EP will become a highly polarized scenario, hard to control. On one side the anti-austerity left, European United Left, has become one of the big winners of the night, seeing their seats significantly increased, which raises the claim of many against the current economic recipe to overcoming the crisis. However, on the other side, the rise of the populist, eurosceptics and xenophobic parties also represents a serious threat that we all need to be aware of, with a rise of about 20%.The political and economic uncertainty fostered by the salient cabinet made people moved towards populism, and their “easy-way-through” trait which undoubtedly will influence the policy agenda of the months and years to come.
The Europe Union and their destructive policies of the last lustrum, had become the worst enemy of Europe itself, turning Democracy against Democracy, and citizen against citizen. The EP election has been, and should be taken by all as a serious warning; a warning that austerity and unresponsive European leadership does not payoff. As a Spanish journalist pointed out, “The history shows that big crisis and specific policies make democracy turns against itself”. I deepen and state that they generate social divergences, xenophobia and hate. As Zygmunt Bauman once said, “modern societies have not fully taken on board the lesson of the Holocaust” and I add that something is wrong when the political product created to prevent a Third World War and another Holocaust, is potentially creating the same preconditions for a new one.