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Euroskeptics: Fractious factions

Patrick L Young is expert in global financial markets working in multiple disciplines, ranging from trading independently to running exchanges.

Published time: May 05, 2014 11:39
Reuters / Yves Herman

Despite the wealth of the English language, I am uncertain what collective noun is best for a gathering of euroskeptics. One possibility: “a Consensus of euroskeptics” looks increasingly unlikely.

Despite the fact that the EU has played fast and loose with concepts it allegedly espouses such as democracy...and against a background of vast Mediterranean unemployment, it is remarkable to reflect just how little anti-European activity is prevalent in say Spain where the same ‘speak your weight’ machine politics dominate the landscape. Then again the conventional media in most EU nations retain a firm hard-wired pro-EU bias, often incentivized by lavish grants.The BBC, for instance, has long had its nose in the EU grant trough. Therefore the road to euroskepticism is a tough one as the media will blithely ignore or smear those without blind faith in Brussels. Last year the fledgling German AfD was broadly ignored by pundits who deemed it incapable of gaining any votes apart from a few fringe "nutters". Despite being largely disregarded by, er, ‘free and fair’ media, AfD came within a whisker of the 5% threshold to have representatives under Germany’s rather corporate, party democracy.

AfD is an interesting point to start our journey through the disparate world of euroskepticism. For their skepticism is not the same as others’. The rapidly expanding euroskeptic universe is already riven by factional disputes which resemble the endless machinations of student Trotskyites battling each other over the future of the revolution while everybody else just gets on with life. AfD espouses a very German hue of euroskepticism, believing that Brussels needs root and branch reform which they hope to change from within. Thus AfD resembles Britain’s Conservatives who abandoned the Europhile Christian Democratic leagues (EPP) to create the somewhat less fawning ECR. Incidentally, Mrs Merkel was incensed at the idea David Cameron might make an alliance with AfD if they enter the European Parliament. If she prevails, will it be fair to say she is running two MEP groups?

UKIP, in many ways the poster child of modern euroskepticism, is riding high in Britain. Denounced as deranged ‘little Englanders’ in the media, UKIP is edging ahead in current polls which could mark a breakthrough election for leader Nigel Farage, generating a significant flow of euroskeptic additions to the European Parliament. However Mr Farage deems Brussels so corrupt and incompetent that renegotiation is futile. Thus AfD aren’t willing to ally with UKIP despite their being a broadly credible mainstream grouping.

A pedestrian passes a United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) European elections campaign poster in Vauxhall, central London April 22, 2014 (Reuters / Luke MacGregor)

UKIP is at a critical point, but apart from AfD they too have a narrow window of potential parliamentary allies amongst the emerging big beasts of euroskepticism. It is difficult to blame UKIP for being reluctant about new cross Channel partners. For starters the French have begun drinking up the euroskeptic message. The National Front could top the poll there. True, Marine Le Pen has been working to detoxify the brand her father spent so long running as a more overtly racist enterprise. However, it is tough to stomach the blind protectionist nationalism of France’s National Front while it’s former anti-Semitic fury now seems to focus on Islamic immigrants in particular. Nevertheless, in the otherwise fragmented world of euroskepticism Le Pen has found a key ally, the Dutch Freedom Party with similar aims and extremes. However they may not retain their recent poll lead because the party is fragmenting as a result of an anti-Moroccan chant performed by leader Geert Wilders in what looks like being a significant vote losing campaign gaffe. At the same time undermining your own party from within is a new departure even for the somewhat fractious world of euroskeptic relations. Then again it resembles student Trotskyism through and through.

Nevertheless otherwise non-harmonized but firmly euroskeptic parties of multiple shades could make up 30% of the seats compared to 12% currently. However, the various factions may yet rush to create post-election alliances in order to qualify for lucrative grants, and also to join the working committees at the core of Parliamentary policymaking. Meanwhile, in a clear example of how the EU promotes democracy in name only when it suits the cause of more Europe, the blindly fanatical Europhile EPP and Socialist (S&D) parties are already saying that so long as the euroskeptic bloc is a minority, the two biggest groups will maintain their grand coalition to ram policy through regardless of the opposition - or the growing skepticism of the electorate.

Such staggering contempt for democracy hardly suggests Europe is on the right track.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Comments (8)

 

Mark Bradley 14.05.2014 02:16

[quote name='gfhdjs' time='06.05.2014 09:57']RT, it would be good, to oppose the Free Trade agreement between the EU and the uSA.

...per haps...there will be a report soon on RT?

[/quote ]

It would be good for all the working class people of the world to oppose that and every other "free trade" agreement. They are oligarch pig troughs. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

Mark Bradley 14.05.2014 02:14

Anna Liddell 12.05.2014 19:22

Europe showed its true colours this weekend.

Bo oing those angelic Tolmachevy Sisters and giving the whole thing to that bearded freak.

That is what the EU will promote. That is what the cultures of countries in the EU will have to abide by.

Even Georgia gave 10 points to Austria. What was that about?

The EU is a threat to Morality. Not only in Europe but in the entire world.

  

H ear Hear. As for Georgia they've always been a bunch of closet sodomites. Its also possible, they didn't realize that was a man

 

Kevin 06.05.2014 10:24

Finally someone showing why and how the EU remains invisible. Bought media blockage. A hidden gravy train. You can't fool all the people all of the time, But, here a huge number are fooled into the EU lavish and good propaganda. Also helped by MEPs getting tons of tax payers money thrown their way. Here is also how the EU has made the rich richer.

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