What Europe’s Elections Were Really About

  • Europe’s impoverishment, resulting from its economic underperformance and unrestrained immigration, mostly from Islamic countries, has caused its voters to opt for national identity, nationalism, regionalism, and the chance to express themselves through a referendum on Europe. Austria’s Freedom Party warmed voters of the prospect of becoming “strangers in their own country.”
  • Thanks to this promise — a referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union — and that Britain never adopted the euro as its currency, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron was the only sitting European leader not punished by the voters.
  • Everywhere in Europe, electorates have lost confidence in the bureaucrats of the European Union in Brussels and those of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. They want once again to be empowered to decide their own political and economic fate.

Europe is in political turmoil. In ever larger numbers, European voters are turning their backs on the established parties and are flocking to populist or nationalist parties on both the right and the left. This shift is happening all over Europe. Last month, one could see it in Britain, Spain, Poland, Italy and Austria. What all the parties have in common is their dissatisfaction with the policies of the European Union, whether because of immigration, the EU’s austerity policies, or its social/ethical agenda.

In the Spanish capital, Madrid, the anti-austerity party Podemos [“We Can”] became the second biggest party, winning just one seat less than the governing Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Podemos, a far left party that was established less than two years ago, did extremely well in many other Spanish cities and towns, as well. So did another protest party, Ciudadanos [“Citizens”], not as far left as Podemos. In Barcelona, the capital of the Spanish region Catalonia, the elections were won by a local protest party, led by Ada Colau, who has now become the city’s first female mayor. The 41-year old Colau only entered politics last year. She is a far left revolutionary in the mold of Dolores Ibárruri, nicknamed La Pasionaria, a legendary Communist leader in the 1930s’ Spanish Civil War.

In Poland, the presidential elections were won by the relatively unknown Andrzej Duda. His victory took the international and national press by surprise. Duda unseated the incumbent president Bronislaw Komorowski, the candidate of the governing Civic Platform, the leader of which, Donald Tusk, had moved on last Autumn from being Polish Prime Minister to become the President of the European Council in Brussels. Duda belongs to the nationalist right. He wants to “re-Polandize” Polish public life and turn Poland again into a nation based on Catholic morality, where there is no place for novelties such as gay marriage. Duda’s ideas are close to those of the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, another fierce critic of the social agenda promoted by the European Union from Brussels.

One week later, on May 31, regional elections in Italy and Austria also led to blows for the ruling establishment parties. In Italy, the separatist Northern League, which aims for the independence of the North of Italy, gained huge victories in its northern strongholds. In Venice, the party won more than 50% of the votes. In Tuscany, the left-wing bastion and home province of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the League managed to win 20%.

The euro project, by which in 2002 the European Union forced a common European currency upon the EU member states without allowing the people a referendum, has resulted in economic failure. Rather than uniting the Europeans in a federal pan-European state, it has led to the peoples of Europe reaffirming their national identities and political traditions.

While the election results in, say, Spain or Scotland on the one hand, and Poland or Austria on the other hand, can be interpreted as political opposites, with the left winning in Spain and Scotland and the right winning in Poland and Austria, the results are essentially conservative everywhere. They indicate a desire to return to political tradition, which in Spain (especially Catalonia) and Scotland has always been leftist.

Everywhere in Europe, voters have lost confidence in the bureaucrats of the European Union in Brussels and those of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. They want once again to be empowered to decide their own political and economic fate.

Full article: What Europe’s Elections Were Really About (The Gatestone Institute)

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