In this edition of U talk Sophia from Utrecht asks, “How do you explain the current rise of Eurosceptic parties throughout Europe? And is it a threat for the EU as we know it today?”
Her question is answered by Pascal Delwit a political analyst at the Free University of Brussels.
“For a large part, we’ve got to see the rise of Eurosceptic parties and right-wing populist parties in the light of the changes that the European Union is currently experiencing. These changes are numerous. The first change of course is due to the transformation of the Union itself from a small European community into an area made of 28 Member States today. So, from an identity point of view, from what the EU represents today, we are in a different configuration.
‘The second one is due to the economic crisis which has been structurally affecting Europe since the end of the 70’s and then from time to time in a severe way since 2007-2008. This creates a lot of uncertainty, a lot of fears which traditionally leads to identity isolationism.
‘And the third one is due to Europe’s representation on the international stage: Europe is in a consistent decline, of industrial decline, Europe is losing the historical place it used to have.
‘So, we’re in a logic of identity isolationism which leads to the denial of various forms of solidarities. This denial for example can express itself through rising regionalism within Member States. On a national level, this denial can expresses itself through the rise of political parties such as the True Finns in Finland, the Alternative for Germany in Germany or the FPÖ in Austria which all call for putting an end to solidarity within the EU.
‘Those parties have an impact on major traditional parties which fear that they could gain ground electorally and politically. Major parties themselves now tend to be more reluctant to go for more Europe, tend to be reluctant to be more pro-active in the European Council.
‘We could see this tendency with the vote on the EU budget several Member States and thus several political parties have been very reluctant to increase the EU budget because they feared they would be “punished” by voters in national or European elections.”
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