An ugly dawn

The 8th of June has come and exams are finally over. On the whole I believe that I've fared well, although the last exam (that is today's exam) could have gone much better. But enough about that. The MEP elections have come and gone and we can breathe a sigh of relief but effectively the story has only just begun. The first point that comes to my mind is that despite the showing in Malta, in Europe the 'new dawn' was more of an 'ugly dawn'.

The Party of European Socialists (PES) have failed and failed miserably when they should at least have given the European People's Party (EPP) a run for their money. From the very word 'go', polls did predict a status-quo, that is the EPP retaining their 268 seats and the PES their 200 seats. But the truth is that whilst the EPP did indeed retain their seats, the PES lost almost 40, some to the greens, some to the far right and to the independents. The ideological battle against neo-liberal conservative forces did not do its magic because in the end the ordinary working citizen is more concerned with the precariaty of the job market in his own nation state than with the battle of ideas on a trans-national front. And that is where the right and far right can work wonders by exploiting such sentiments to their advantage especially when there are fear-factors involved...such as the nemesis 'foreign worker' (whether he is an EU-national or a third-country national makes no difference) who is coming to steal their hard-earned job and their livelyhood.

Figures (according to Euronews.com) show that the progressive-left, that is the European United Left(GUE–NGL), PES and European Greens (Greens-EFA) put together, have gathered 248 seats in total which on its own is already less than the 267 of the EPP-ED. Assuming that the entire Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDR) will vote together with the progressive left on certain issues then the figure would rise to 328 (approx). This is where some hope exists for the progressive agenda in the European Parliament. The EPP-ED, Eurosceptics, European Far-Right and Independents make up the remaining 408 seats.

A principal loser in this election was certainly the PES but the biggest winner, in my opinion, were the far-right albeit they only gained 8 seats from 2004. Not to sound pessimistic, but although the advantage is apparently small, it indicates a rise in the politics of fear based on skin-colour and an inbred hatred of different cultures. On the other hand, I am glad that the Greens have shown their mettle, an indication that on an ideological level, the 'Green New Deal' was more welcome and more understood than the 'New Social Europe'. It is certainly an indication that climate change is becoming more predominant on the political agenda.

In the last paragraph I purposely said that a principal loser was the PES, but they were not the biggest losers. In my opinion the biggest losers were citizens themselves who, although rightfully discontent with European institutions and/or their national governments, chose to keep moaning and whining instead of exercising their once-in-every-5-years right to do something about it. Thanks to us (I say 'us' with modesty for I did vote), Barroso can keep on with business as usual.

In the end...an ugly dawn for the European Union.

P.S. I will dedicate my next post on the election in Malta

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One Response to An ugly dawn

Red said...

As centre-right and far-right parties seem to become more powerful within the European arena, we should not be surprised to witness an increasing number of "savage" laws when it comes to the rights of millions of workers during the next few years.

The immigration issue has surely, in my opinion, contributed to a greater amount of support for such parties. I have been to other European countries and I have always got the impression that the centre-left/centre-right parties never really managed to do much in order to deal with the fact that populations can no longer be seen as homogeneous. Thousands of immigrants, especially from Africa, have been flocking to Europe during the past few years and it seems that no government has changed its curriculum or implemented various projects in order to educate the locals about the importance of living in a multicultural society. The vacuum left by such governments was apparently filled by the racist messages propagated by various far-right parties. Of course, racism feeds on ignorance and ignorance tends to generate a great deal of fear.

With reference to the PES, I think that their support among Europeans has plummeted since many parties belonging to this group were unable to prove themselves during their finest hour (i.e., the recession). Spain could be mentioned as an example; the PSOE is presently facing an unemployment rate of around 20%. And this in a country with a supposedly socialist government!!!

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