The mortgage crisis that began in the United States in 2007 dragged several European economies. It is too much, at this moment, to discuss the reasons that caused some of the weakest economies in the euro zone to fall into a crisis that could have led to their collapse. The important thing -now for today- is to put on the table the consequences that this crisis has brought to the balance of power within the member states of the European Union and in the community institutions themselves.
Thus, we have seen that, through democratic mechanisms, parties with clear authoritarian overtones and. In particular, Eurosceptics have taken power in countries such as Hungary, Poland and – more recently – Italy. In other countries, center governments have had to turn to the right in an effort to stay in power, such as the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte. , or the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. In many others, although they failed to win elections to form a government, far-right parties made important progress and managed to obtain representation in their parliaments or congresses; in this group are France, Austria, Germany and Sweden. It is worth remembering that there are local parties of this extreme right that have already taken power in some provinces, eg, Vox in Andalusia, Spain. Thus, right-wing populism has broken into European governments, not by surprise, but by the inaction of other political forces that opened the door for them.
Next May, the elections of the European Parliament (EP) will take place. If the date set for the ‘Brexit’ is met, by then, the United Kingdom will have left the European Union. What will a PE be like without the United Kingdom? What are the implications?
First, most obviously, the number of seats in the EP will be reduced from 751 to 705. Of the 73 seats that belong to the United Kingdom, 46 will remain in reserve in case a new State joins the Union and 27 will be redistributed among the 14 least represented countries. This agreement will be presented to the European Council to be discussed once the departure from the United Kingdom is formalized.
Following the populist tendencies of the right, the Eurosceptic parties are forecast to increase their number of seats. Political factions in the EP are organized according to political affinity, not nationality. That is to say, that the factions of both the left and the right are made up of members from different countries. Currently, there are eight political groups and Eurosceptics are divided into three. Given that the members of these groups come from different political parties, ideological cohesion has been difficult to maintain in both left and right groups. Up to date, there has not been a group that clearly positions itself as a majority within the EP.
However, a recent rapprochement between Italy and Poland announces the formation of a Eurosceptic group with greater cohesion than other factions in the EP. The Northern League (Italy) and Law and Justice (Poland) parties announced their intention to form an anti-European bloc in the EP, predicting the possible emergence of a Eurosceptic common front. If this block is joined by other anti-Europeans, for example, the National Association led by Marine Le Pen in France, the consolidation of a united Eurosceptic bloc will be increasingly feasible. Will it also be possible through democratic channels to reach positions of power in political community institutions that try to undermine European integration from within the EU itself? The enemy is being invited to sleep in the house.
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