European ground shifts beneath supporter’s feet

Nigel Farage. Photo: Diliff

When all is said and done following the European Union elections, the person who really counts is the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe. Is Merkel correct in believing that surging support for rightwing parties stems from economic insecurity — and not a fundamental objection to EU powers? Still, EU supporters are treading with care. Excerpt of Manthorpe’s new column:

There is no comfort for Europe’s band of supporters of a bigger and more powerful political union that their side won nearly 64 per cent of the vote in last weekend’s election.

That victory cannot override the reality that parties that want to either radically reform or abandon the 28-member European Union (EU) doubled their support from the 2009 election to 36.4 per cent of the vote.

As leaders gathered in Brussels on Tuesday evening for an informal post-mortem dinner, the mood was markedly downbeat. Even the most avid EU supporters were displaying an unusual lack of certainty about the group’s immediate future.

French President Francois Hollande, for example, can, like all his predecessors, usually be depended on to respond to any crisis within the EU by issuing demands for more centralized European control and power.

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