BERIL – The new Europe

The new EuropeLast week’s European Parliament (EP) elections have revealed a number of sad but important truths about the EU’s current state. The political opinions in Europe in general and in member states individually tell us a lot about the EU’s future.

Only 43.1 percent of potential voters cared to go to the polls, which means the turnout was almost the same as the last EP elections.

It is quite alarming that more than half of the Europeans neglected to vote in such an important election. This behavior can be explained either by the voters’ happiness with the current situation or by their pessimism, as they believe nothing will change anyway.

People’s lack of trust in the EP or other European institutions, or in the EU as a whole, is palpable. More than the results of the elections, this lack of trust and indifference is worrying.

Ordinary people in Europe are not interested at all in what is going on in Brussels or within the EU mechanisms. It is time for all decision makers in the EU and in member states to question themselves and try to understand why European citizens have lost their faith in the EU.

Besides this general analysis, the results of the elections are upsetting as well. The campaign period has proven that those who defend the EU idea are no longer able to find convincing arguments and euroskeptic rhetoric is occupying all front pages.

Those anti-EU political currents have used populist methods with success and they have managed to mobilize anti-EU people in their countries. They have manipulated people’s fears, worries and sensibilities, telling them the EU is to blame for everything that goes wrong in their daily lives.

It appears they have been quite convincing in that. We all understood that the majority of Europeans no longer expect anything good from Brussels.

This is above all a terrible credibility crisis.The winner of these elections is the extreme right, the Christian Democrats and the radical left.

The center right has lost many votes, while socialists managed to rise a little bit. The spectacular increase, however, is in the votes of the extreme left and right.

Nationalists and anti-EU members of the EP will be so numerous that they will probably be able to form a working group in the parliament.Everyone is aware that nationalism is on the rise in Europe and that this is not only about the extremist political currents.

Even the “center” parties are using a more nationalistic rhetoric with every passing day. In France, the Front National received 25 percent of the votes, while the radical left Syriza party in Greece became the most popular political player in the that country.

One can suggest these are totally different cases, as one is far right and the other leftist, but their common point is that they are both extremist and anti-EU integration.This new and quite disturbing political picture is of course one of the consequences of the economic turmoil in Europe.

A lot of people consider the EU and Brussels’ prototype decisions as one of the reasons for the crisis. Furthermore, in countries most hit by the economic crisis, people react to Germany’s dominant position and believe this crisis above all serves Germany’s interests.

Furthermore, foreigners, all kinds of “others,” and Muslim and Roma immigrants are negatively perceived by more and more people. That is quite worrying for the future of peace in Europe.

I wonder if people ask themselves why we had two world wars in the 20th century, both of which erupted in Europe and between almost the same players. Have people forgotten that the EU is, above all, a project for international peace?If one day Turkey becomes a member country, one wonders how many European countries will still be in the EU.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

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