The Next European Parliament

EU-Flags_2907981bElections for the European Parliament were held earlier this week, and with the exception of Spain, the far-right performed very well in the elections across Europe. In Britain, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) bested both the Labour and Conservative Parties, capturing the plurality of the country’s seats (28%). The Liberal Democrats, who are currently in a coalition with the Conservatives ruling the country, lost all but one of their seats in the European Parliament. In Britain, the election results are being described as a “political earthquake.”

France and Denmark also saw “unprecedented” victories for far-right parties, and overall, approximately one-quarter of the seats held in the European Parliament are now held by parties whose platforms oppose the European Union—often called “euroskeptics.”

The long-term fallout of the election remains unclear. While some have suggested that the language of “tidal waves” and “earthquakes” overplays the real degree of change, high ranking officials across Europe are viewing the election results and urging the European Parliament to rethink its role. After the election, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that “Europe should concentrate on what matters, on growth and jobs, and not try to do so much.” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte similarly called for “fewer rules and less fuss from Europe, and focusing Europe on where it can add value to things.”

In an interview with UKIP MEPs, Nigel Farage, the head of UKIP, noted that the EU’s “massive mistakes,” namely, the creation of the Eurozone and the expansion of the European Union into the former Soviet bloc countries, have facilitated the “growth of euroskepticism” and called into question the future of the European Union itself.

What do you think? I Nigel Farage correct? Do the most recent elections represent the fundamental failure of the European Union? What will the long-term impact of the 2014 elections be?

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