Le Monde editorial: Europe under extremist pressure
French newspaper Le Monde believes that the contrast between the course of the French presidential elections, which have made way an unquestionable change in the head of state, and the chaos created by the Greek parliamentary elections, where no prospective government has yet taken shape, must not lead us to forget the shared tendency demonstrated by both elections: The rise of movements which, while in the minority, are increasingly vocal in their questioning of the order established by the traditional parties. This tendency is becoming increasingly marked throughout all of Europe.
In France, during the first round of the presidential elections, 18 % of the electorate decided to express their rejection of the European Union and immigration by voting for Marine Le Pen. In Greece, 7 % of the voters sent 21 deputies from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party to parliament, a party whose program includes installing landmines along the border with Turkey to prevent immigration. In Italy, the "anti-political" movement of comedian Beppe Grillo, who criticizes corruption and government savings measures, scored a breakthrough in municipal elections recently. Another form of party altogether, the German Pirate Party, which advocates for the free use of information technologies, noted a breakthrough into politics for the first time there and is disturbing the big parties.
These movements have little in common. It is difficult to compare young Spanish activists protesting against big parties profaning government, for example, with the anti-Islamist, xenophobic movements gaining strength in Austria and northern Europe.
Whether these movements question the current orientation of European politics from the extreme right or the radical left, or whether they are completely on the fringes of the system, they are attacking the traditional formations, particularly the big political trends which for decades have embraced the European project as their own. These movements are hammering away at the mainstream even more because the economic crisis and state indebtedness are creating a shared issue throughout the entire European political space.
A political Europe exists and each national election in the EU Member States will reflect this more and more. For the traditional parties, there is a great temptation to include these movements in their programs in response to some of these themes. For example, during his presidential campaign, Nicolas Sarkozy, under pressure from the nationalist Front National, took a tougher stance on the question of borders. This perfectly illustrates the danger of such developments.
It is completely obvious that this is not a good strategy. However, this challenge must be faced: It seems that today there is no movement at European level capable of responding to the questions posed by this front of resistance. The big parties must quickly address this issue before it overwhelms them.
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