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Is There Still Hope for the European Union?

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Posted on May 27, 2014

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Far-right, Eurosceptic political parties won significant victories in the recent European parliament elections, but does this spell the end of the EU? Not necessarily. Yes, France’s Front National is as xenophobic as it gets, and Britain’s Ukip wants to get the U.K. out of the EU pronto, and then there’s the neo-Nazi Greek Golden Dawn party, which well, goes without saying is bad news. French President Francois Hollande went so far as to call the elections a “political earthquake.” However, the union may not be lost quite yet.

In some countries, even Greece and Spain where right wingers dominated media attention, left-wing parties made strident gains. And in other member states, such as Portugal, Romania and Slovakia, socialist parties were the ones to take European Parliament seats. So what are we to make of these seemingly disparate voting tendencies across Europe? According to some news outlets, people may have used the recent election to “protest vote.”

The Guardian:

[Sunday’s] European vote was not an election, it was a referendum. Britain’s Ukip will in time slide from the stage, as will France’s National Front. The vote does not upheave party politics: it was the emphatic assertion of Euro-scepticism, the moment when a critical mass of Europe’s voters withdrew their consent from ever greater union…

For European economic cooperation to break down would be a tragedy, but it would be laid squarely at the door of leaders who allowed their ambitions to diverge from the opinions of their peoples. Reformers must urgently ease the pressure of labour migration and the weight of Euro-regulation. If they do not, they will unleash forces not seen on such a scale in Europe since the 1930s…

Europe is not culturally homogeneous and federalist, like America. Its peoples are pluralist. Throughout history they have revolted against attempts to weld them into one – from Romans and Bourbons to Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin. If forced into a supranational straitjacket they rebel. The EU can at least draw comfort from [Sunday] night’s rebellion being peaceful, one of ballot not bullet.

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—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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