EU election results ‘accelerating trend of a backlash against globalism, a resurgence of populism in the West'

Nationalism, nationalist parties pose inherent threat to supranational projects like EU, Hannah says

12:03 - 11/06/2024 Tuesday
File photo
File photo

Far-right parties achieved notable success in Europe's parliamentary elections, even though mainstream parties maintained a comfortable majority.

The progress made by far-right parties might not come as a surprise, but it demonstrates the potential for Euroskeptic factions to exert greater influence on the direction of the European Union in the future.

"The election results appear to be accelerating an overall trend in the West of a backlash against globalism and a resurgence of populism," Mark Hannah, a senior fellow at the New York-based Institute for Global Affairs, told Anadolu.

"The direction of European politics, as evident by the results, wasn't surprising -- but the margins were," he added.

"Distrust of political elites is a defining characteristic of populism, and our survey finds more than a third of Germans and French think harmful decisions by political elites are among the biggest challenges their countries face."

Hannah referred to the survey by the Institute for Global Affairs, which asked participants about the biggest challenges their countries are facing.

He used the findings of a survey called "The New Atlanticism" to support their assessment of the results.

More than a third of respondents in Germany and France and most people in the US and the UK believe that harmful decisions by political elites are among the biggest challenges their countries face.

"Nationalism is inherently a threat to a supranational project like the EU, so yes, the rise of nationalist parties -- like the one in the UK that brought us Brexit -- are a threat," Hannah said on whether the elections are contributing to an increasing far-right threat in the EU.

French far-right leader "Marine Le Pen called the vote a rejection of (President Emmanuel) Macron and his pro-European policies and a return to sovereignty."

- Results shock French, German leaders

The center-right European People's Party (EPP) is expected to win 186 seats, according to the latest projection published by the EU.

The Green Party/European Free Alliance slipped to sixth place in the legislature, managing to secure only 53 seats.

The Socialists and Democrats claimed 135 seats, the European Renewal Party 79 seats and the Left 36 seats.

France and Germany are poised to be the countries most profoundly impacted by the outcomes of the elections.

French President Macron, following a significant defeat in the European vote by Le Pen's far-right National Rally party, on Sunday announced the dissolution of the lower house of parliament, known as the National Assembly, and called for snap elections.

Following initial projections, National Rally emerged as the frontrunner, securing approximately 31% of the vote, surpassing the share of Macron's Renaissance party, with around 15%.

"It's a high-risk, high-reward strategy and signals Macron retains a lot of confidence," Hannah said.

"Let's not forget Macron has espoused his own type of anti-globalism, but on a less extreme geographic and functional scale: his promotion of strategic autonomy would seek to ween Europe off US military primacy and security guarantees.

"Our survey showed roughly a third of French citizens want Europe to fully manage its own defense and pursue a neutral relationship with the United States," he added.

Similar to Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz faced a significant setback in the exit polls, with his Social Democrats securing only 14% of the vote.

In contrast, the mainstream Christian Democratic Party emerged as the top contender with 30%, while the far-right Alternative for Germany party claimed second place with 15.9%.

Germans were also least likely to report "I have friends who hold political views which are the opposite of mine" and most likely to believe "the political agendas of political parties I oppose threaten my country's well-being," said Hannah, referring to their survey.

"So the political polarization in Germany appears to be felt on a very personal level, and the stakes are perceived to be very high."

#EU parliamentary elections
#European Parliament
#Mark Hannah
9 days ago