Where Europe Heads to? Harbingers of Political Storm
Vladimir NESTEROV | 14.12.2014 | WORLD | BUSINESS

Where Europe Heads to? Harbingers of Political Storm

The daily routine has distracted the attention of ruling circles in Europe. They have failed to see in time the erosion of political order due to growing interference of EU supranational structures into the affairs of national states. The first warning was sounded during the May 2014 European Parliament election. Miscellaneous and sundry political parties united in their anti-EU drive received 30% of the votes. The Treaty of Lisbon was concluded in 2007 to replace the failed EU Constitutional Treaty. Since then it has become clear that the European integration is quite a reversible process. 

Source: sputnikipogrom.com

The powerful Euro-skeptic movement is divided into two main camps. They might be called «New Right» and «New Left». The first one gains ground as it squeezes out the traditional center and right parties. It calls for the return to traditional cultural and family values, taking protectionist measures in economy, gaining independence from supranational entities (especially the European Union), restoring Europe of national homelands and putting a stop to immigration from Asia and Africa. The «New Left» forces take strides on the way of making Social Democrats and old-pattern Communist parties retreat Europe-wide. The Party of the European Left, commonly abbreviated PEL, is a European political structure which operates as an association of around 30 Democratic Socialist, Socialist and Communist (reformed) political parties in the European Union and other European countries. It was formed in January 2004 for the purposes of running in the 2004 European Parliament elections. Unlike the majority of PEL members, the «New Left» are convinced Euro-skeptics. Sooner or later they will have to establish an organization of their own. They stand for dissolution of NATO, the development of international relationship based on justice and equality and putting an end to the militarization of the European Union. They oppose the military and political cooperation between the United States and the EU and speak out against the creation of Transatlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA). 

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The influence of the European «New Right» and «New Left» has increased since the elections. In autumn they upset the stability of Sweden’s political life. After the parliamentary elections in September 2014 the Sweden Democrats (a typical «New Right» political force) received 13% of votes (in comparison with around 10% at the European Parliament election) to become the third largest party in the country. They got their «golden share» in the Riksdag (the Swedish parliament). On December 3, the Sweden Democrats voted against the budget bill put forward by the coalition of Social Democrats and Greens to topple the government. Now the country faces its first snap election in 60 years scheduled on March 22, 2015. Sociologists believe that this time the «New Right» will get at least 18% of votes to become the main political arbitrator joining the government. In this case Stockholm may revise its policy towards Brussels. Unlike the traditional Right, the Sweden Democrats support traditionally strong welfare state policies. In particular, they speak out in favor of supporting families with children, they want to improve the plight of pensioners, increase the funds allocated for medical needs and boost subsidies to cover travel expenses of those who reside in distant parts of the country. The Sweden Democrats oppose mass immigration. Some time ago the party voted against the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement.

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Sweden is not the only European country to enter the election campaign. Spain, Great Britain and, possibly, Greece will also face elections in 2015. These states may be in for big surprises. 

The deep economic crisis in Spain and corruption scandals inside the ruling party led to the growth of popular support for Podemos («We Can»), a left wing political party. Podemos' economic manifesto includes the restructuring of national budget and EU debt. In opinion polls support for Podemos has surged as high as 28% ahead of both the centre-right governing People’s Party and the opposition Socialist Party. The new political force presents an imminent challenge to the two-party system established after Franco. 

The popularity growth of UK Independence Party threatens the two-party system in Great Britain. It got 28% at the European Parliament election, more than any other British political party. Its platform calls for the UK leaving the European Union, the introduction of tougher immigration laws and the support of small and medium business. 

There are many Euro-skeptics inside the Conservative Party led by David Cameron. Experts say there is a possibility of split. Euro-skeptics may leave the Tories to join the United Kingdom Independence Party with EU supporters filling the ranks of British Labor. In any case, the level of support enjoyed by the UK Independence Party makes it impossible for the country to be ruled as before with the Conservatives and Labor Party succeeding each other at the helm. If the UKIP takes part in forming the government, the relations between Great Britain and the European Union will significantly cool down. 

In Greece the economic crisis gave rise to the popularity of SYRIZA (the Coalition of the Radical Left), a left-wing political party opposing the austerity agenda of the European Union (EU). It received 27% at the European Parliament election, more than any other political party in Greece. After the elections Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left, called for snap elections to reflect the change in voter sentiment, but the old political elite refused to follow suit being afraid of defeat. The Greek parliament is to elect a new president next year. The ruling pro-EU coalition comprising the New Democracy, the Greece's main centre-right party, and the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, a social-democratic political party known mostly by its acronym PASOK, lacks minimum 180 votes needed to elect their candidate. According to the constitution, a snap election is to take place in case the parliament fails to elect a president. According to polls, SYRIZA is predicted to hold an election winning 5% lead. The party wants the external debt restructured to shake the Eurozone again. SYRIZA opposes the «reckless and irrational» policy of Greece on Ukraine and opposes the anti-Russia sanctions imposed by the West. 

 

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The forces opposing the «European choice» gain ground in other European Union member - states: Italy, France, Denmark, Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Finland and Slovakia. No matter how prosperous Germany may appear, the popularity of the Euro-skeptical Alternative for Germany (AfD) is on the rise. This party was founded in 2013. It describes itself as neither left nor right wing and insists that it cannot be classified using the traditional left-right political spectrum. The party won 7 of Germany's 96 seats for the European Parliament in the 2014 European Election. It exceeded forecasts in gaining its first representation in state parliament elections in Saxony (9, 7% of votes), Brandenburg (12, 2%) and Thuringia (10, 6%) during 2014.

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