Fringe parties change face of new EU Parliament

Juergen Baetz, The New York Times / Washington Post, 01.07.2014

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Link to original article


It is more raucous, more anti-immigration and more skeptical of the European Union: Welcome to the 28-nation bloc’s new Parliament.

Expressing resurgent nationalist sentiments and distrust with how the EU is run, voters in May handed almost one in three seats to parties seeking to slash its powers: Some want tough immigration curbs and to re-erect borders, others seek to dismantle the euro currency or want to see their country leaving the union altogether. [...]

The 200-odd euroskeptic lawmakers, however, will not only make debates livelier but will also have an impact on policies as leaders scratch their heads seeking to reconnect with an ever more disenchanted European electorate.

“There is a backlash,” said Janis A. Emmanouilidis, senior policy analyst with the Brussels-based European Policy Center think-tank. “Now everybody only talks about better implementing existing policies, but there is great caution regarding any further steps of EU-integration,” he said.

The emboldened radical parties will also use their EU offices to put more pressure on their respective national governments, he added. [...]

“They aren’t a coherent group,” Emmanouilidis said, adding that “parliament will find a way to work; there will be a grand coalition of pro-European forces” running the show.

Link to original text in The New York Time here

Link to original text in Washington Post here


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