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Europe’s Tea Party Moment

Anti-EU parties staged their strongest showing ever in Europe’s elections last weekend. Is this the beginning of the end for the European project?

Published on: May 29, 2014
Ivan Krastev is the Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria.
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  • Andrew Allison

    It’s not a question of fighting back the panic, but of deciding whether to listen to the voters and make some changes or, as they have been doing, simply ignore the will of the people. Hollande and Cameron are unlikely bedfellows in proposing the former, Merkel and the European Commission will attempt the latter. Maintaining the status quo, or as the EU argues for, further erosion of sovereignty will simply drive more of the disaffected to the left and right extremes.

  • rheddles

    Wow. It is amazing how different perceptions can be.

    many are convinced that their vote does not make a difference in how the EU is governed.

    I always had the impression that their vote never did matter because the European Union was a creature of the rulers not the people and thus the European Parliament had no power. And this author reinforces that by writing about parties and elites as though they are who matter and dismissing populists as misguided and misbehaving children.

    Germany will remain lonely and confused in the driver’s seat.

    Isn’t that what they’ve wanted since the time of Wilhelm II? And this time they got it without firing a shot.

    A Brussels rule states that a country’s influence in the EU Parliament is proportional to how many MEPs it has in the two major political families: the socialists and the conservatives.

    What an odd rule. But odd things sprout out of Brussels. And who knew they had conservatives in Europe? They really believe in limited government and popular sovereignty?

    Finally and most importantly, populists have as of yet failed to come up with an alternative to the EU.

    Why does there need to be some alternative to the EU? Do their national governments no longer function?

    it is fascinating to observe how our perception of the events is influenced by the historical anniversaries we are celebrating at
    this particular moment.

    It is interesting that the author thinks of 1989 and 1789. I thought more of the Treaty of Fontainbleau and The Guns of August. What’s next? Waterloo and the Somme. But don’t count on the Anglosphere to bail them out again.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Euro and the EU = Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact
    The Euro and the EU are going to fly apart because the forces dividing them are stronger than the forces holding them together, just like the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact did. They both have failed economically, with the EU’s share of the World GDP falling 40% while the US share has remained unchanged since the Reagan era. They both speak a multitude of languages, and have a multitude of cultures, unlike the US which is a melting pot, and speaks English. They were both forced together by the elites and have to be held there by the elites or they fly apart. The EU was supposed to vote for a Constitution, but the 500 page insanity submitted was a joke and failed miserably. This means there isn’t a legal basis for the EU, as the citizens have never agreed to the monstrosity.

    Is there a Chance for Europe? That fact that you have to ask the question answers itself. NO, we are only waiting for the first domino to fall like Poland started the collapse of the Union and the Pact. I think the UK will leave and then others will swiftly follow. France in particular is never going to accept an inferior position to that of Germany despite the fact that it is inferior in every way.

  • canadianhegemony

    There is nothing “alarming” about it. The UK was (thankfully) prescient enough to retain its own currency. As to the European Union the UK public have sufficient common sense to know a bad deal when they see it. Every poll shows them overwhelmingly in favor of an in-out referendum despite foot dragging from the parties in power, and the voters are overwhelmingly in favor of leaving the EU. The UK’s exit is now inevitable.

  • Oliver Shank

    Tea Party moment?

    The tea party ‘movement’ has been in the United States since their inception. It’s aims are low taxes, and small federal government. The tea party… Nothing new.

    We realize that persons comprising our government in Washington D.C. cannot govern our country well, as our country is much too complex, and the effort is shot with exogenous variables. So we are patient.

    We have always been a mercantile nation. We are a productive people. We are wealthy because we are productive. To the extent that a productive people can have an ‘elite’ it comes from the productive sector. People like Bill Gates, Ellison, and countless others whose names one might not recognize because they haven’t a constant hunger for publicity.

    We notice that a substantial number of our servants in Washington D.C. are trying to move our government away from the our aims: low taxes, and small federal government. Our government is arguably the oldest continuous form of government on the planet, and has worked very well for us. We naturally see no reason to abandon these principals, and we support people with similar principles for office by voting for them, sending them money, and promoting them. The people with these principles have always been here, the people with these principles are not going anywhere, and the people with these principles are persistent.

    Since people have believed in our principles for a very long time, and since we are actually rather low key, and since our political behavior is rather standard grass roots behavior, it seems a stretch a point to compare for example UKIP with the tea party movement.

    Oliver Shank,
    Ithaca Tea Party

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