Right-Wing Populists Eyeing Control: EU Parliament Faces Potential Shift

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A recent study by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) suggests that far-right and Eurosceptic parties may make sweeping gains in the European Parliament elections scheduled for June 6-9, 2024. The study identifies nine EU countries, including Austria, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, where Eurosceptic populists are expected to lead in the polls, potentially allowing a populist right-wing coalition to secure control of the European Parliament for the first time.

Far-Right Surge Threatens Climate Action and Green Transition

The ECFR report warns that the projected far-right surge could lead to a coalition comprising Christian democrats, conservatives, and the radical far-right, replacing the existing grand coalition of centrist groups. This new coalition is anticipated to resist ambitious EU actions to tackle climate change, hindering the bloc’s green transition. The report also raises concerns about the impact on the European Commission and Council of the EU’s ability to make foreign policy decisions, particularly regarding support for Ukraine, as the political landscape shifts towards more Eurosceptic views.

Far-Right Momentum Despite Anti-Far-Right Protests

Despite mass anti-far-right protests in Germany, the bloc’s largest member state, the projected surge of far-right forces remains unaffected. The demonstrations were triggered by reports of far-right political forces discussing potential mass deportations, but the ECFR suggests that counter-protests are likely to have a minimal impact on the electoral outcome. While European Parliament President Roberta Metsola expressed confidence in mainstream parties fending off a far-right surge, the report emphasizes that these findings should serve as a wake-up call for centrist forces.

Centrist Forces Face Erosion as Extremes Gain Ground

Predictions indicate that centrist forces in the European Parliament, such as the European People’s Party (EPP), Socialists and Democrats (S&D), and the Liberal Renew Europe group, could experience significant losses. The far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) group is expected to gain 40 seats, buoyed by support for parties like Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National and Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD). The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, including Spain’s Vox and Italy’s Brothers of Italy, is also poised to gain 18 seats.

EU’s Green and Foreign Policies Hang in the Balance

The ECFR report underscores the potential consequences for the EU’s green and foreign policies. The right-wing coalition, if formed, could obstruct climate policy actions, jeopardizing the bloc’s green transition. Additionally, the study anticipates that the election results could influence the national debate, impacting member states’ adherence to foreign policy decisions, potentially affecting financial and military support to Ukraine. The report also highlights the rising influence of pro-Russia parties, with Bulgaria’s pro-Kremlin party, Revival, expected to secure three seats in the next parliament.

SOURCE: Ref Image from Euronews.com

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