European elections: far right on the rise?

Just under seven weeks before the European Parliament elections on 9 June, the polls predict a significant increase in votes for right-wing populist and far-right parties of the ID (Identity and Democracy) Group. Together with the ECR (European Conservatives and Reformists), which also includes the Fratelli d’Italia, they could win over a fifth of the seats. Commentators discuss the possible repercussions. (RO) /

Before the election is not after the election fears that the conservative EPP may end up working together with the far-right parties:

“Officially, the EPP is sticking to the idea of a political cordon sanitaire to isolate the far-right in the EU Parliament. However, behind the scenes the EPP MEPs who are sure of securing a new mandate are already preparing to work together with the far right in several areas, even without formal agreements. That’s the way it is in politics: it’s one thing what you tell voters to secure votes, but quite another what you do to consolidate your power once the people have given you a new mandate to represent them.”

Marco Darius Badea
Der Spiegel (DE) /

Trapped in a vicious circle

Der Spiegel columnist Nikolaus Blome has bad news:

“The anti-Europeans will never be able to govern, but they will be able to block government. ... The pro-European parties will have to bridge the old, albeit very marked differences between the right-left camps on climate, social issues and the economy in order to survive everyday parliamentary life along with the anti-Europeans. The AfD strategists are hoping that this will attract further support from the disenchanted and disillusioned — and ultimately a majority for the historically ignorant and thoughtless parties that no longer want elections to the European Parliament. That is why the reality is so tragic: namely that this European election could be deadly poison for the next one.”

Nikolaus Blome
Deutsche Welle (BG) /

Sovereigntism is bad news for Bulgaria

The Eurosceptic and far-right parties want to undermine the EU from within, warns Deutsche Welle’s Bulgarian website:

“On paper, they accept its structures and rules but use them to destroy it from within — under the pretext of wanting to improve it. But even if we assume that this is not just a pretence but driven by the true convictions of the politicians of these parties, we should ask ourselves a very fundamental question: will this ‘improved EU’ of sovereign states continue to be so generous to Bulgaria? No, it will not.”

Alexander Andreev
Expressen (SE) /

Stable centrist majority now a thing of the past

When it became known that Swedish MEP for the EPP Sara Skyttedal would be running for a newly founded EU-sceptical alliance in June, the EPP reduced her speaking time and withdrew its support. Expressen comments:

“The group leaders had rarely been strict in the past on the grounds that there was room for people to ‘vote with their heart’. But that’s because until now the large centrist party groups have maintained a stable majority. ... This is now changing. The balance of power in parliament is already in flux. After the elections in June, which are expected to see a strong upsurge on the far right, things are likely to become even shakier. So the EPP group is being forced to crack down on its own members in order to push through important decisions.”

Ylva Nilsson
IQ (LT) /

No longer on the fringes

Kotryna Tamkutė of the liberal think tank Lithuanian Free Market Institute compares this year of multiple elections with the Summer Olympics:

“Analysts at the Swedish think tank Timbro have calculated that support for populist forces was at around 10 percent in 1950. By 2023, this figure had risen to 27 percent. ... If all the political players were to take part in the opening of the Olympic Games this summer, a quarter of them would be under the populist banner. Last year’s elections in various European countries also confirmed once again that we are living in times in which the word populism is no longer just a concept, but a reality of the political order.”

Kotryna Tamkutė