Diplomatist Magazine Diplomatist April 2018 - Page 19

INSIDE EUROPE forces. For instance, in 2017, the Netherlands and France avoided the populist trap. In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte won a tight election against Geert Widlers, leader of the extreme-right and nativist party, Party for Freedom (PVV). In France, Emmanuel Macron won the second round of the presidential election against Marine Le Pen. Macron is considered as a model as in less than a year, he was able to win the French presidential elections by leading a movement, Onwards, on a pro-European campaign. However, to the East, other EU member states such as Austria, Hungary, and Poland have shifted towards the extreme- right. In 2017, Austria elected Sebastian Kurz, leader of the right wing Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), whom did not shy away on forming a coalition with the extreme-right Freedom Party (FPO). In the case of Hungary, under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and Poland under the ruling Law and Justice Party, the attacks on the judiciary, freedom of press (mostly Poland) and a more ethno-nationalist agenda in Hungary have directly challenged the foundation of EU values, principles and norms. Both countries are progressively turning away from constitutional democracy. Hungarian Prime Minister has openly preached the virtues of ‘illiberal democracy.’ Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (L) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán Lastly, in Germany, although Angela Merkel was able to secure a fourth mandate in September 2017, the rise and strong results of the extreme-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), campaigning on an anti-immigration platform, signaled a new reality in German politics. Consequences for the EU and Italy The Italian case underscores several trends already fermenting: challenges to form a government; political crisis of mainstream political parties in Europe; and the need to reform the EU. In the short-term, the priority for Italy will be about building a coalition to govern. In case of failure to form a coalition that will have to include M5S and/or LN, potential new round of elections or even an unelected technocratic government may very much be on the table. The process to form a government may be lengthy. The shift in European politics, as portrayed in the latest electoral race in Italy, is the challenge of the mainstream center-left and right parties. After decades in power, with in particular no ability to alter the economic and political establishment, the populist forces in almost each EU country are either winning elections (Italy with M5S, Greece with Syriza), or getting assimilated with either right or left parties (Austria with FPO), or their messages are being adopted by mainstream parties (i.e. in France with Laurent Wauquiez of center-right copying the Front National, in Italy with the LN and Forza Italia, in the UK with UKIP and the Conservative). This signals a radicalization of the political rhetoric and ideas embedded into identity politics. The European social democrats, particularly in France, Germany and Italy, have been dealing with a major credibility problem. One reason was the ‘third way’ strategy pursued by Tony Blair in the UK and Gerhard Schröder in Germany leaving the Euro VVgG2vF7&VF&ƗG&&VFP&V6VBV'26VFW"VgB'FW2fR7Bw&VB7@WW&V6VG&W27F'FrvFg&6RvW&7V6&WV&Ɩ2W7G&BFRWFW&G2FR66RbFǒFRB66&VBG2vW7B&W7VG266RG2f&F7vFFV2g&6RvFFR6V֗2VFW"VV0:V6BU2FǒFW6R'FW2fVVG2fPg&VBFV6VfW22&R&F6VgBGG&7FrVr@W72VGV6FVBfFW'2FW7F&Ɨ6VBFf&FW6PfVVG2fRVB&RFR֖w&FbfFW'2g&ЧFRG&FF66FV7&G2FW7FRFRƗF6V6W'FFW2&Vv&FrFR7G'V7GW&PbFRWBvfW&VBFR7BbFRVV7FFPgWGW&RbFRUR26VG&f'7BFƖ2&V&G7W'BbFRURBFRWW&f"7F6RFRFW7@WW&&&WFW"7&r#rFƖ2W&W727W'Bf"6WW&VƖ7֖w&FcrRf"B#RPv7BBbWW&VV6֖2BWF'VSPf"B#bRv7BFW6RGv77VW26֖w&FƖ7B&Vf&BFVw&FbFRWW&RvFVB'g&6RBvW&vfRF6VFRFǒFWVFpFRWrvfW&VBG2FVv6ƖRBFW7F0VvF7FR6FbFǒFRVvFF26VB&PVFW"67G'V7FfR"6ǒV&GV7FfRFRWF6W2bFRFƖVV7FW6R6&P7F&6FVBFRV'BbURFVw&FBGFVG0F&Vf&WW&VvfW&6S&6r6ƖF&GBFPWW&VWfVvRwV&FrFFW&W7G2ࢢFRWF"26V"&W6V&6fVrBFRWW&VV6VFW"FRVfW'6GbƖ2BW&&Ф6vB&W6V&6766FRBFRWW&VV6VFW"BFRVfW'6Gb֖֒WG&&F'BVFVF'FF7B( "fb( "77VRB( "&#F( "p