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Good News For Trump, Conservative Populists Advance Across Europe

The conservative-populist alliance that elected Donald Trump in 2016 was in many ways predicted by a conservative-populist wave in European elections – the British exit from the European Union and a wave of rightwing victories in European elections preceded Trump’s

election in November of 2016.

 

And this year appears to be a very similar, perhaps even stronger, rightwing wave across Europe.


Reuters reported that gains by the “far-right” in voting for the European Parliament added uncertainty to Europe's future political direction. While the center, liberal and Socialist parties were set to retain a majority in the 720-seat parliament, the vote dealt a domestic blow to the leaders of both France and Germany.



Indeed, France’s Leftist Emmanuel Macron called a shock snap legislative election following a bruising loss in the European Parliament vote to the conservative party of Marine Le Pen.


An Associated Press report noted voters in France will return to the polls in just three weeks after Macron dissolved parliament and called snap national elections. Le Pen’s anti-immigration, nationalist party was estimated to get around 31%-32% of the vote. While a National Rally win was expected, the scale of the victory was a surprise, more than doubling the share of Macron’s Renaissance party, which was projected to reach around 15%. AP reported it should become clear by mid-July whether a weakened Macron will be forced to work with a conservative government in an uncomfortable “cohabitation.”


Reuters further reported that, like Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also endured a painful night where his Social Democrats scored their worst result ever, suffering at the hands of the establishment conservatives and conservative nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD).


Scholz’s ruling Social Democrats recorded their worst post-World War II result in a nationwide vote, with 13.9%. Alternative for Germany finished second with around 15.9%. Voters appear to have shrugged off media-generated scandals that were expected to hobble AfD. The result is better than the AfD’s 11% in 2019 but still short of poll ratings earlier this year. Germany’s opposition center-right (similar to establishment Republicans in the United States) Union bloc took 30% of the vote.


Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni saw her position strengthened by her conservative Brothers of Italy group winning the most votes, exit polls showed. Meloni’s party won more than 28% of the national vote for the EU assembly, which would make it a key player in forming future alliances.


Political observers quoted by Reuters attribute the shift to the right to the rise in the cost of living, concerns about migration and the cost of the “green transition” to renewable energy, as well as the war in Ukraine -- worries that nationalist and populist parties have seized on.


"I think a lot of people felt that Europe is doing things not with people, but just doing it on top of people," Greens' lead candidate Bas Eickhout told Reuters in an interview, asked why conservatives did so well.


"And I think here we need to come up with a credible answer, otherwise, we're only getting further to the far right," he said, after the Greens and liberals lost ground in the election.


Europe's Green parties in particular suffered heavy losses, subsiding to 53 deputies from 71 in the outgoing parliament.

 

A series of protests across Europe by farmers angered at the burden imposed by new climate laws helped to damage their chances. AP reported senior members had hoped that Greens parties already in government in places like Germany would hold their ground. But projections suggested that Germany’s Greens, the second-biggest party in Scholz’s coalition, would fall from a peak of 20.5% five years ago to around 12%.


Liberal parties across Europe, including Macron’s, were also expected to give away a combined 20 seats in the assembly, making them the other biggest losers in this election.


Eurosceptic nationalist groups ECR and Identity and Democracy (ID) and rightwing lawmakers not yet affiliated to an EU political bloc from Germany's AfD secured together 146 seats, a gain of 19, the centralized exit poll reported by Reuters showed.

 

In a way very similar to what the Leftwing establishment has been doing to Donald Trump and his Make America Great Again movement, the international media has been working overtime to sully the image of the newly resurgent European populist-conservative parties and politicians.


As POLITICO’s European publication put it:

 

Europe’s insurgent extremists have many names: far right, radical right, hard right, Euroskeptic, populist. Their critics call them fascists or authoritarians. They prefer to describe themselves as conservatives, sovereigntists, nationalists — even democrats.

 

“Europe has to stop talking about the far right,” said Gerolf Annemans, a member of Vlaams Belang and the president of the far-right pan-Continental European Identity and Democracy party. “If you look at the policies, if you look at where we are in power, we are not at the fringes of politics anymore. We are now the center right,” he added.


While the radical right comes in an array of flavors, what unites them is a view of the world centered around an ethnic nation-state, hostility toward migrants, especially if they’re Muslim, and skepticism toward supranational organizations like the EU, the United Nations and, in some cases, NATO.

 

All we can say is if the new European conservative parties and candidates are pro-ethnic nation-state, hostile toward migrants, especially if they’re Muslim, and skeptical of supranational organizations, then welcome to the fight for a freer more democratic world.



  • illegal immigration

  • conservative populists

  • European elections

  • BREXIT

  • liberal parties

  • socialist parties

  • France

  • Germany

  • Marine Le Pen

  • Emmanuel Macron

  • AFD Germany

  • Social Democrats

  • Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni

  • European shift to the right

  • Green parties

  • sovereigntists

  • nationalists

  • Democrats

  • NATO

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