Just how important is the European Parliament and its election results in both shaping the EU and Europe as a whole? The European elections saw a considerable boost towards right wing/populist parties, following a catastrophic, confused immigration policy by Brussels which couldn’t prevent political instability in countries affected by flows from Syria, Afghanistan and Libya in recent years. But what impact will that now how depends largely on the appointment now of a number of top EU officials, who will be elected through a draconian voting system within the EU’s institutions themselves. New jobs for the European Commission President, European Council and European parliament will be perhaps even more important in shaping the EU’s destiny as in many ways, the watershed moment of the MEPs’ elections, can take the project in one of two directions.
For the first time in its short history the European parliament’s ‘bloc’ of mainstream parties – Christian Democrats and Social Democrats – will no longer enjoy the majority vote in the parliament. Both these pan European groups took a hammering at the ballot box by populist parties, notably in France, Hungary, Italy and UK and to some extent in Germany.
These new parties, although bundled into one nascent ideology – anti EU – are not however entirely identical in their views, although an anti- immigration agenda it should be said binds them together. In reality, the recently formed ‘Brexit Party’ of Nigel Farage’s which was the clear winner in the UK ahead of all parties, flies slightly different colours to the others, in that its agenda is radical; the Brexit Party has no manifesto which binds its members together who come from different political strands in the UK, other than removing the UK from the European Union. And here’s where the minor but important detail needs to be noted. The other parties, which will no doubt be grouped with Farage’s in the parliament, and will be a recalcitrant gang of MEPs who don’t sign up to the consensus-driven, almost elitest ideology of the Brussels mindset, will be part of the establishment – even if they don’t want to be.
When UKIP swept 24 seats in 2014 and also emerged the winner, what few liked to admit was how quickly it became the acceptable tone of renegade views within the EU dimension; the photographs of Jean Claude Junker and Nigel Farage hugging each other in the parliament speak volumes. For the EU elite, who dream of an EU with much stronger, federalist power base, Farage was the rude boy in the house who ticked the box ‘opposition’.
And this is the role which, probably, the new group from Italy, Hungary and France, will play once the EU’s dazzle and glamour starts to be felt by those members.
But this cannot be the case for the Brexit Party which, no doubt, will enjoy itself with the cackle in the house (which is going to become louder, certainly) but will be seen as a fringe party compared to its partners, in that it is committed to at the very least removing the UK from the EU – which few should doubt, when it should happen, will be a considerable blow to the EU itself, if not a fatal one.
Indeed, the reason why the UK is in the mess that it is in, with a troubled Tory party struggling to pull off Brexit, is the paranoia and dirty tricks played by the EU’s side, terrified that a successful Brexit would mean the ultimate blow for the EU, certainly the EU as we know it. The ‘deal’ offered to Theresa May was a deal with only one real purpose: to reduce the UK to a completely servile state, worse off and in disarray and an example to all who should ever dare to think of leaving the EU.
The EU never believed Theresa May had the courage to deliver a no deal Brexit and so, advised by British Labour MEPs in Brussels no doubt, played their hand well.
But no more.
The Brexit Party’s leverage on the conservatives – the ultimate threat to reduce their power base at the next general elections if a no deal Brexit is not delivered – is powerful and real. The European Union would be foolish to imagine that Boris Johnson, as a new leader and PM, would not go through with it, simply because he, in turn, has no real alternative to stay in power and for the conservatives to keep the seats they hold.
And so, despite the Left’s laughable claim that the European Union elections were not quite the sweeping victory by far rights parties across the Union which was expected (as Greens and Liberals picked up a number of seats), the EU needs now to take its next steps very carefully.
Already, we are hearing idiotic statements in Brussels by the architect of the existing withdrawal agreement that Theresa May leaving and the Brexit Party taking the lion’s share of MEP seats will not affect the present deal. This is both erroneous and stupid.