Published On: Sat, Jul 29th, 2017

End of the EU? Wave of populism takes over bloc

Angela Merkel revealed just last month she was rocked by Brexit, and feared for the future of the EU, but the result of the French presidential election gave her new hope.

However, that hope may be dashed after the findings of Epicenter (the European Policy Information Centre).

Populism is being described as the ‘third force’ in Europe – with right-wing parties gaining renewed support across the bloc.

The Epicenter report revealed the total number of European voters who bucked the Brussels rhetoric and chose an anti-system force at the last political elections was 21.4 percent.

This means 55.8 million people preferred an alternative to traditional political forces – or those preferred by the EU.

Speaking two months ahead of the federal elections in Germany, where she will fight for a fourth term, Mrs Merkel said: “For many people, including myself, something changed when we saw the Britons want to leave, when we were worried about the outcome of the elections in France and the Netherlands.” 

Yet the Epicenter report has revealed the threat to the Brussels bureaucrats is as big as ever.

Despite the victory of Macron in Paris and Mark Rutte in Amsterdam, the vote for populist parties increased in both countries.

There was a rise of +6.4% in France, from 21.7 percent in 2016 to 28.1 percent in 2017.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands there was a +6.8 percent  jump from 10.1 percent to 16.9 percent. 

The report said: “There are no signs that make us think that the support for these parties may decrease in the short term.

“It is likely that the number of populist parties inside the government will increase in the near future, as countries like Austria and Italy will vote soon.”

In nine European countries (including seven EU Member States) the “populist-authoritarian” parties have come to play a role within the government.

In the Italian elections of 2013, over 11.4 million voters (33.7%) chose an ‘anti’ force.

Hungary, Poland, and Greece were the leading nations where support for anti-system parties is high.

Christian-conservative parties and the Social-Democratic forces are ahead according to Epicentre based on the analysis of election data from 1980 to the summer of 2017.

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