‘There will be a shift to the right’ in this week’s European Union elections. But how big?

It may seem like a meaningless rant from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, but it encapsulates what’s at stake for many in this week’s European Union parliamentary elections – What to do with hard power? And should it be trusted?

The EU’s top leader essentially said that Far-right Italian Prime Minister Georgia Melonithe party, which has a post-fascist bent, may be ready to become a potential coalition partner once again four-day election across the 27 EU countries ending on Sunday.

During an election debate, von der Leyen claimed that Meloni had ticked all the necessary boxes, the last of which was “rule of law.” However, she immediately added, “if this holds.”

The provisional question of whether fundamental trust should be extended to extremist and populist parties is gaining traction as the EU appears ready. turn right unlike it has historically done, stemming from the World War II defeat of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

Since the last European elections five years ago, populist, far-right and extremist parties have led three governments, are part of governing coalitions in several others and are joining increased polls across the bloc like never before.

As a result, the entire political pendulum of the giant bloc is likely to swing to the right after the election, numerous surveys indicate and political observers agree.

“There will be a shift to the right. So the question is, how big?” said Maria Demertzis of the Brussels-based independent consultancy Bruegel. “The numbers will be important because it is very likely that one of the possible outcomes is that the far right actually becomes the second (largest) party. If that is the case, it will be interesting to see how and who will rule.”

In the second largest practice democracy Behind India’s recent election, nearly 400 million voters will elect 720 members of the European Parliament from beyond the Arctic circle to the edges of Africa and Asia, impacting everything from global climate policy. demand and defense to migration issues and geopolitical relations with China and the United States. .

For a long time, European Parliament elections were of little importance, as core members France and Germany set most of the policy for the growing group and the legislature looked like a retirement home for older national politicians and a nursery for young talent.

But as the legislature’s power grew on issues such as banking regulation, agriculture and the EU budget, so did voting interest and the quality of lawmakers. While breaking the 50% turnout threshold was seen as a major step forward in 2019, an EU Parliament survey said 71% were likely to vote in the upcoming election, a step forward. other big.

Von der Leyen’s European People’s Party, a largely Christian Democratic group, is the largest party in the legislature and is certain to become coalition leader after the election. For anyone on the right of the EPP, breaking their alliance with the socialists, pro-business liberals and greens will be the main issue at hand. threatened.

While bold, brazen and boisterous at best, the outer limit on the right can be belligerent, bitter and at worst biting – beating up friends to boot.

So even if the math adds up for a blowout win on Sunday, the total will most likely be less than the sum of its parts.

Because of the unity of the far right in wanting to stop migrants, mock climate measures When it comes to woke fiction and its promotion of conservative family values, there are also fundamental differences. For example, when it comes to the war in Ukraine, someone like Meloni sides with the West, unlike Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Others remain in the gray area.

It doesn’t help that the populist and far-right parties are now divided into two groups in Parliament – the Identity and Democracy groups. Marine Le Pen’s nationwide protest belongs to the European Conservative and Reformist Party to which Meloni belongs.

Some are flirting with the center, others are arguing. I&D team last month expelled the Alternative to Germanyor AfD, the party after its growing list of scandals was capped when its main candidate said that not all members of the Nazis’ elite SS unit, the who participated in major atrocities during World War II, were all war criminals.

“AfD has become a plague that no one wants to touch,” said Roberto D’Alimonte, a political analyst at LUISS university in Rome.

It remains unclear how far-right and populist parties will form new groups after the election.

Today, some people want first of all to become “salonfähig”, a quality that is accepted in the upper class despite radical backgrounds. Le Pen is vying to become French president in 2027, and of course, Meloni has already reached that stage as Italian prime minister.

During nearly two years as Italy’s leader, she overcame her initial worries has proven credible at the EU summit and is willing to work to reach difficult compromises, to the point of even being able to keep the combustible Orbán in key debates. Leaders, including von der Leyen, ignored national complaints about her treatment of groups that did not meet her. conservative family values or alleged placing restrictions on press freedom.

And with pro-business liberals and greens set to lose, the EPP’s von der Leyen wants to keep his options open for coalition-building, including Meloni, in the face of opposition harshly from her outgoing allies.

Even if coalitions in Parliament are fragile because lawmakers sometimes follow national rather than EU agendas, von der Leyen is keen to find a coalition that will bring her 361 out of 720 votes needed to win a second five-year term as President of the EU Commission, perhaps the most powerful position in the EU.

And this is where Meloni also emerges as an important player, one who could hold in his hands both the fate of von der Leyen and that of a giant geopolitical bloc that is leaning ever more to the right. time is over.

“She is one of these people — not quite on the far right, but on the right of the right, so to speak,” said Demertzis of the Bruegel research organization. “She has been talking to the EPP but is also talking to more far-right groups, Ms Le Pen and others. And of course, depending on how the vote turns out, she could have a big card up her sleeve.”


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