Ukraine, ecology, immigration... 4 questions on European issues after the breakthrough of the far right

Ukraine, ecology, immigration… 4 questions on European issues after the breakthrough of the far right

The rise of the extreme right in Europe, associated with the large ebb of ecologists and centrists on the continent, should influence the content of policies more than the functioning of the institutions of the European Union.

Is Europe moving to the right?

YES. The center of gravity of the new European Parliament is shifting. The three groups on the right of the board are the only ones to gain elected officials: 8 for the European People's Party (EPP where the LR sits); 4 for the European Conservatives and Reformists group (CRE, where Reconquête is based); 9 for the Identity and Democracy group (ID, where RN deputies sit), according to a provisional count. In twenty out of twenty-seven Member States, a right-wing party comes out on top. In Germany, the AfD, expelled from ID after its apology for the SS, rose to second place behind the Christian Democratic right. In Austria, the far right (FPO) comes first by far.

Will this lead to a vast recomposition? Probably not. The President of the Italian Council, Giorgia Meloni, boss of the post-fascist nationalist right-wing party Fratelli d'Italia, may be tempted to negotiate the switch of her elected representatives from CRE to the EPP or to try to become the pivot of a large single party of the conservative right where the elected representatives of the RN would gather. But the differences between the parties are too strong to envisage a hypothetical “right-wing bloc” which remains in the minority in the hemicycle in any case. The necessary coalitions will be made, as in the past, with variable geometry, also with the social democrats or the liberals depending on the texts proposed.

Can the functioning of institutions be blocked by the push from the extremes on the right?

NO. If, until now, the most right-wing parties often practiced sterile obstructionism in the Strasbourg Parliament, their electoral gains and especially their participation in coalition governments (Italy, Netherlands, Finland, Czech Republic) or their support for cabinet in place (Sweden) changes everything.

“The Eurosceptics will reintegrate into the system and Meloni is already working on it,” anticipates Thibault Muzergues, author of Post-populism (Ed. de l’Observatoire). They do not want to block institutions, they want to transform them. » “Parliament risks appearing as a capricious and volatile chamber, where the development of compromises will prove more tedious,” anticipates outgoing MEP Arnaud Danjean (PPE). Therefore, the European Council, which brings together heads of state and government, could seem more reasonable because it has shown its ability to reach agreements. »

Are reversals on major issues to be expected?

YES. In any case, inflections. And first on the Green Deal, this set of measures adopted by the European Commission in order to progress towards climate neutrality in Europe. An emblematic measure such as the ban on the sale of new cars with combustion engines, planned for 2035, should be delayed.

The pro-environmental policy of recent years will be more adapted to the constraints of economic competitiveness. Worried about new constraints deemed dissuasive on investments, the French, Dutch and Greek right-wingers want to emphasize industrial policy, including protectionist measures: “We cannot go green if we are in the red” , summarizes the Dutch Christian Democrat Robert Van Eerd.

At the European Council, heads of state and government will have to respond to concerns about immigration reflected in the push by the extreme right. The Border Protection Agency, Frontex, will probably see its resources increase. And the Commission will be under greater surveillance on societal issues.

Will these results have consequences on the Ukrainian file?

YES. The ambiguities of the extreme right in France on support for Ukraine make us forget that at the European level the French parties are isolated within their groups. If the Italian President of the Council, Giorgia Meloni, the Swedish Democrats, the Dutch Geert Wilders whose party is now in a coalition government, all are in favor of sending additional weapons to Ukraine and are placing themselves on a very Atlanticist line.

Conversely, the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, supported by the German, Austrian and Romanian extreme right, accuses NATO of “driving (his) country into a global conflagration”. In addition, the degree of military assistance largely depends on national capitals, as demonstrated by Emmanuel Macron's announcement last week of a Mirage 2000-5 delivery to kyiv. Finally, it is the result of the American election in November that will prove vital on this aspect.

How many seats in the European Parliament?

720. The EPP (which brings together the Christian Democrats) occupies first place with 185 elected officials.

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