[Politics] EU elections

Projected seats by my assignation of general political position, with official blocs in brackets. 751 MEPs total, with pre-election MEPs in brackets.

Conservative (EPP): 180 (down from 221)
Eurosceptic / Nationalist-populist (ECR, ENF, EFDD): 171 (up from 118)
Left (S&D): 146 (down from 191)
Liberal (ALDE): 109 (up from 67)
Green/Progressive/Left (Green/EFA, GUE/NGL): 108 (up from 102)
Others: 37 (down from 52)

You might query how I've assigned some official blocs (for instance, the ECR could qualify as Conservative, and fudging together the Greens and progessive green/left/regionals) but I think it's reasonable enough.

General analysis:

This was perhaps not the massive breakthrough that European nationalists were hoping for, but still represents a big growth spurt and makes them a significant force. The other big beneficiaries from the decline of the mainstream left/right were the liberals, suggesting limited movement towards extremism.

Overall the general picture of left and right across the EU Parliament has little changed. The "right" generally is still equivalent to the centre & left, except that the right is now half comprised of nationalist-populists. If the UK departs, this pattern will basically remain.

* * *

In terms of the UK election, explicitly pro-remain parties beat the explicitly pro-Brexit parties in vote share (42.4% - 33.9%). Including estimated pro remain / leave in Conservatives and Labour, the vote was more pro-remain by about 5% (51.5-46.5). However, turnout was very low, well under 40%, so what this would augur for a potential new referendum is unclear.

The new "Brexit Party" was largest single party, although effectively all it did was cannibalise UKIP and strip some extra leave voters, mostly from the Conservatives. Meanwhile, Labour did not take such a big hammering as the Conservatives, but clearly a lot of its remain voters punished its prevarication by decamping to pro-remain parties.

Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, the nationalistic candidates are winning.

They want to drag us back to the stone age where we can all operate under the rules of the jungle instead of the rule of law.

They would love a Europe divided and being picked apart by powers such as Russa, and China who they suck up to.

These neanderthals belong back in the age of sticks, and stones rather than the age of open hearts, and open minds.

Admittedly I'm not that familiar with EU politics, but from how Yanis Varoufakis describes it, it doesn't sound very democratic. Rather, it sounds like the EU (and ECB) serves the interests of finance and (some) industry. But these elections (or any elections, for that matter) being the nominal democracy the liberal political order is founded on, yet serve as an outlet for public discontent; the voice of the people comes through albeit distorted: they may not and cannot describe what they want (never mind achieve it) but they can register their rage. So there you are. Quite a similar boat as the United States. Capitalist faux democracy with European characteristics.

It's a clever set up, I'll give it that. Politicize a bunch of stuff tangentially related to the economy but leave the bulk of the decisions in a very few private hands. Vigorously debate that which is 'political' but do not question the underlying economic order, the domain of the owners; the real class structure.

The problem, of course, is fascism. Mushy liberalism in its subservience to capital demonstrates its inadequacy in the day-to-day living of practically everyone: and worse, this liberalism is nearing the end of its utility as a project of liberation. More and more it becomes a glorified blocking coalition against the forces of reaction. Its accomplishments, which are indeed many (though the practical impetus for them came from the left pushing liberals to at least live up to the truisms of their own philosophy), are now under threat from the timidity of that philosophy in the face of pressing questions!

The bottom line is that liberal elites would rather drown the liberal political order in a bath of racism than even write a check, not to even mention re-politicizing the underlying economic structure. They'd rather lose the fight on immigration and borders and preserve capitalism than win with a broad working class coalition that challenges the owners. They'd rather 'well, actually, statistics' that question than address the concerns of the common folk. And that is why liberals are going to get us all killed. A full blown fascist hegemonic struggle cannot be tolerated in a nuclear age, and yet here we are: our rulers would rather throw everything away on the chance that they can get to their underground bunkers in time to enjoy the apocalypse than usher in the next age of society; an age that isn't ash and may yet have a chance not to be underwater. An age in which, yes, they would no longer get to think they're better than everyone else. Pride comes before the fall.

Gergar12:
They would love a Europe divided and being picked apart by powers such as Russa, and China who they suck up to.

They're a funny bunch. They're all busy forming international strategic alliances to assail the status quo of global co-operation, but they'll be the first people attacking their erstwhile chums if global co-operations falls.

When you've decided the real enemy is the establishment, you may as well take Russia's money without a qualm because your enemy's enemy is your friend. Saw the same in the USA: Russian interference in US politics was evidently no big deal (or even a good thing) to Republicans just so long as it was undermining the Democrats.

Seanchaidh:
snip

The EU Parliament is directly democratically elected. How much attention the public pay to what the EU parliament does, however, is another matter. Often, the votes follow issues of domestic politics rather than EU business, so there can be a lack of democratic oversight.

The EU as a whole is much more complex. Much of the big decision-making is done outside the EU parliament; it has to in order to represent the sovereignty of its member states. And yes, this ends up sometimes technocratic and democratically distant. Nevertheless, through national governments and MEPs, the people of Europe have both direct and indirect ways to influence what's going on.

Seanchaidh:
Admittedly I'm not that familiar with EU politics, but from how Yanis Varoufakis describes it, it doesn't sound very democratic.

Its worth noting that mister Varoufakis is a man with a bone to pick so I wouldn't take his words on the EU completely at face vallue.

My vote ensured that there is a little more variety and one fewer Green in the EU parliament.

Yeah, well i was tired of voting "strategically" (so the lesser evil or such) And wasted my vote on the party which is mostly in line with my own opinions (Humanists)... they've got 0.2%. Less than the damn animal rights party, what the hell? I mean yeah, i knew they wouldn't get enough to basically do anything, but come on: One seat or so too much to ask?

Well at least the parody party got two seats this time.

Oh and i am german. German parties got 96 seats, if i remember correctly. So about one percent gets you one. About 60% voter turnout this time which is a nice plus though (Still, is it too much to move your ass and vote some times? I mean, i am anxious, depressed and barely leave my apartment anymore, with a cynical / politician-hating disposition - even i could do it).

Overall i am very frustrated with anything politic. Damn idiotic partys. Still no direct democracy. Bureaucracy like in the 70ies/80ies.

Just , well i thought it would get better with time but we are stuck with "eh, good enough it seem" shortsighted thinking... and in turn frustrated citizens. I began to fear for the future... which is saying something (not that voting would change that much... but at least trying would be nice)

Overall not too disappointed with the result.
But also not too surprised.

Voted Pirates again. Might be the last election for them to get a seat so easily in Germany. Next time there will be a minimum hurdle keeping small parties out.

An interesting showing for both Green parties and for European nationalists.

Also interested on hearing from some Europeans as to what the general mood is towards enlargement of the European union, specifically in the Balkans. EDIT: Excluding Turkey. I know that's a hive of bees.

Satinavian:
Overall not too disappointed with the result.
But also not too surprised.

Voted Pirates again. Might be the last election for them to get a seat so easily in Germany. Next time there will be a minimum hurdle keeping small parties out.

Arg... damn... see another step back (hadn't read that): "We have too many small interference in our section... i mean 7 out of 96 people here don't belong to a big uniform blob, all acting like their horrible hivemind dictates. We couldn't possible use this for healthy discussion, intelligent diplomacy and democratic regulations" -

"I have an idea, how about we just don't let them in?"

"But... but, that would be undemocratic..." (Evil laughter and alien screeches)

Seriously though, that has been bullshit in federal elections as well for forever. It is meant to represent the damn citizens, excluding opinions based on "Hm... but the list will be loooong" or "I don't know... people could vote joke-parties" or such is not enough.

Like i said: frustrating. (But hey, not only the U.S. is having troubles with it's antiquated systems, at least - We are all banded together in hate of our politics, hehe)

Hades:

Seanchaidh:
Admittedly I'm not that familiar with EU politics, but from how Yanis Varoufakis describes it, it doesn't sound very democratic.

Its worth noting that mister Varoufakis is a man with a bone to pick so I wouldn't take his words on the EU completely at face vallue.

Yeah, how dare the EU stop Greece from inflating away thier debt. I can't see any problem in dramatically increasing your money supply

CM156:
An interesting showing for both Green parties and for European nationalists.

Also interested on hearing from some Europeans as to what the general mood is towards enlargement of the European union, specifically in the Balkans. EDIT: Excluding Turkey. I know that's a hive of bees.

Depends a lot on which country you live in. Prior to the 2008 market crash and the subsequent decade of economical punishment for Greece, Spain and a few other countries, everyone wanted the former Yugoslavian countries to join and there were talks about just letting them in by fudging the economical requirements. Since then, people are a lot more insistent on them getting their finances in order.

Mostly, with Brexit looming large and nationalists/isolationists gaining traction in the EU, it is a non-issue right now. The stated reason for the EU (to avoid wars, promote open trade and understanding between EU countries) is being challenged to its very core with the UK leaving and a lot of nationalists wanting to dismantle the EU from within. Whether Serbia is a viable candidate will have to wait until the EU is stable once again.

I'd really be more in favor of an economic community, rather than a political union. Brexit is not the only problem the EU has. Southern EU states have been on a perpetual money transfusion of the western european taxpayer. It's only a matter of time before they get tired of paying for Spain's unemployment figures, southern Italy's disastrous economic policies and the constantly hinging on bankruptcy Greece. Then in the east there is Poland, a nett receiver where the PiS party took direct control of the legal body that appoints judges; completely abusing the separation of powers in defiance of any EU legislation. In Hungary there is this nationalist loon in the form of Victor Orban, again someone with stark anti-democratic policies. The list goes on and on.

An economic community with association treaties with Turkey and Ukraine would work best. To work together you don't have to live together. Anti-terrorism strategies, Russia policy, cybercrime, refugee crisis and geopolitical issues also necessitate cooperation. Isolating yourself like the U.K. and pretending your nose bleeds also isn't an option in today's world. But neither are the kind of federalist tendencies of pro-EU supporters(predominantly Germany and France).

Speaking of which I always had the impression the rapid expansion of the EU was due to ideological beliefs of Wolfgang Schauble, the apriori architect. Germany seems to suffer from this long historic guilt trip in which it wants to prevent becoming a resurgent, militaristic superpower ever again. It's immigration policies also seems reflective of that. Germany seems so afraid of it's own history that powerful ideologists seems to want the country fully submersed in a federalist superstate, regardless of the opposition of this political unification.

I don't think the EU has a sustainable future in it's current form, but regardless of organization cooperation is more a necessity than ever.

CM156:

Also interested on hearing from some Europeans as to what the general mood is towards enlargement of the European union, specifically in the Balkans. EDIT: Excluding Turkey. I know that's a hive of bees.

I'd be broadly in favour of adding Balkan countries, although there are issues. Although I'm likely to soon be an ex-citizen of the EU, so maybe it doesn't matter that much what I think. I'm eligible for Irish citizenship though: I might claim that if Brexit occurs and turns out to be a ton of shit.

* * *

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia should be relatively straightforward.

In terms of Serbia and Albania, probably trickier. The obvious problem for Serbia is Kosovo: Serbians are not prepared to give it up, but most EU countries have officially recognised it is no longer a part of Serbia. Serbia also has to get over traditionally close ties with Russia, as that's potentially a sticking point. Albania is of course also highly involved with some of these regional territorial problems, and Albania is also (as I recall) particularly underdeveloped.

The last one to consider is Moldova. Moldova is further away from EU accession than the others. As a quick history, Moldova was basically Romanian, but was split from the main in the 19th century and given to the Russian Empire. The Russians and later Soviets aggressively tried to Russify it, with partial success. I believe there is also some consideration of Moldova re-unifying with Romania, although that's coming more from Romania than Moldova. It is also extremely economically underdeveloped, far more so than Albania.

stroopwafel:
I'd really be more in favor of an economic community, rather than a political union.

I don't think the EU has a sustainable future in it's current form, but regardless of organization cooperation is more a necessity than ever.

The economic and political spheres are surprisingly hard to separate: ever-closer economic harmony, beyond for instance a simple trading bloc, requires political harmony too. Likewise, if the EU is meaningfully going to exert influence beyond money, it needs political harmony again. If it remains just an economic community, the end likelihood is it will be outmatched and picked apart in "divide and conquer" tactics by more focused powers such as USA, Russia, China.

That said, I agree that the EU has significant problems. I am heavily pro-EU, but that doesn't blind me to the fact it needs reforms, and must do more to address concerns of Europeans. Ironically, Brexit may end up the spur to it doing this.

Southern EU states have been on a perpetual money transfusion of the western european taxpayer. It's only a matter of time before they get tired of paying for Spain's unemployment figures, southern Italy's disastrous economic policies and the constantly hinging on bankruptcy Greece.

Yeah, it's not remotely that one-sided. They've come away with virtually none of "our" money.

Northern Europeans talk about Southern Europe needing bailouts, but where were they borrowing that money from in the first place? Answer, northern Europe. And what were they buying with it? Answer, a lot of stuff from northern Europe. Northern Europeans conveniently omit the shoddy lending standards of northern European banks and the huge profits they made on those loans, and the northen European profits and jobs supported from supplying the goods and services bought with those loans.

Pretty much only Greece got a debt write-down, and it was their creditors - EU banks (like Credit Lyonnais) - that took the majority of the hit. Various countries might have got plenty of loans in various ways... but loans are repayable, so northern Europe gets that money back in the end.

The ECB did remarkably little to ease their immediate pain, maintaining policies mostly favourable to northern Europe such as low inflation. Thus the cost to northern Europe has been extremely low: a lot of the reason the crisis dragged on so long was that the ECB and EU did just about the bare minimum possible with a high priority of minimum discomfort for northern Europe.

The biggest issue northern Europeans took on was in terms of risk, by the EU/ECB effectively agreeing to guarantee southern European debt on the wider Euro (this relieving pressure on their interest rates) - but no countries collapsed such that anyone came to the wider EU to collect.

Agema:

stroopwafel:
I'd really be more in favor of an economic community, rather than a political union.

I don't think the EU has a sustainable future in it's current form, but regardless of organization cooperation is more a necessity than ever.

The economic and political spheres are surprisingly hard to separate: ever-closer economic harmony, beyond for instance a simple trading bloc, requires political harmony too. Likewise, if the EU is meaningfully going to exert influence beyond money, it needs political harmony again. If it remains just an economic community, the end likelihood is it will be outmatched and picked apart in "divide and conquer" tactics by more focused powers such as USA, Russia, China.

That said, I agree that the EU has significant problems. I am heavily pro-EU, but that doesn't blind me to the fact it needs reforms, and must do more to address concerns of Europeans. Ironically, Brexit may end up the spur to it doing this.

Southern EU states have been on a perpetual money transfusion of the western european taxpayer. It's only a matter of time before they get tired of paying for Spain's unemployment figures, southern Italy's disastrous economic policies and the constantly hinging on bankruptcy Greece.

Yeah, it's not remotely that one-sided. They've come away with virtually none of "our" money.

Northern Europeans talk about Southern Europe needing bailouts, but where were they borrowing that money from in the first place? Answer, northern Europe. And what were they buying with it? Answer, a lot of stuff from northern Europe. Northern Europeans conveniently omit the shoddy lending standards of northern European banks and the huge profits they made on those loans, and the northen European profits and jobs supported from supplying the goods and services bought with those loans.

Pretty much only Greece got a debt write-down, and it was their creditors - EU banks (like Credit Lyonnais) - that took the majority of the hit. Various countries might have got plenty of loans in various ways... but loans are repayable, so northern Europe gets that money back in the end.

The ECB did remarkably little to ease their immediate pain, maintaining policies mostly favourable to northern Europe such as low inflation. Thus the cost to northern Europe has been extremely low: a lot of the reason the crisis dragged on so long was that the ECB and EU did just about the bare minimum possible with a high priority of minimum discomfort for northern Europe.

The biggest issue northern Europeans took on was in terms of risk, by the EU/ECB effectively agreeing to guarantee southern European debt on the wider Euro (this relieving pressure on their interest rates) - but no countries collapsed such that anyone came to the wider EU to collect.

The problem seems to be more structural than that. Low interest loans were never going to mitigate the government spending that put those countries into debt in the first place, and it wasn't until some massive pressure from the E.U. that they(espescially Greece) conceded to economic reforms. Saying ''you loaned that money to us. we bought imported goods and services from you'' isn't really an argument to not repay your debt.

I don't like the EU but as long as the only alternative is nationalism I critically support it. Voted for the German Linkspartei, the leftist party. Briefly considered clothing for one of the more orthodox socialist parties, the German Communists or the Marxist-Leninists but I might as well not vote at all

stroopwafel:

The problem seems to be more structural than that. Low interest loans were never going to mitigate the government spending that put those countries into debt in the first place, and it wasn't until some massive pressure from the E.U. that they(espescially Greece) conceded to economic reforms. Saying ''you loaned that money to us. we bought imported goods and services from you'' isn't really an argument to not repay your debt.

Spain, Ireland and Portugal had modest national debts when the financial crisis hit. Portgual's national debt (% GDP) was about the same as Germany or France, and Spain and Ireland's lower. Spain and Ireland had also been successfully reducing their national debt for years. Italy's national debt was awful, although was being gradually reduced. Greece, as we know, was fiddling the books.

Greece and to an extent Italy aside, it wasn't so much the governments doing the dangerous borrowing - it was the private sector. The Euro had facilitated lower interest rates because the everyone it was safer to lend to southern European nations. The Euro had also caused a problem because southern Europe was relatively inefficient. Normally countries would see currency depreciation (inflation) to compensate, making their exports and home industry more competitive compared to abroad, but they couldn't do that with the Euro. Consequently it was much easier for N Europe to export to the south, much funded by bank loans which often also ultimately came from the north.

So these countries did have big debt problems, but not always (initially) government debt. When the financial crisis hit, their debt-riddled economies took a battering. As the government takes a hit whenever the economy does (lost revenue, welfare, generally propping things up) they incurred a lot of national debt from their recessions. Even then, with a conventional recession, it would have probably been tolerable: except the financial system was screwed and it was hellishly hard to borrow money.

The problem I have with much of the common narrative is that it's converted into a bogus morality tale. But it's more a series of cause and effect with no-one really at fault. A Spanish construction firm is now offered loans at 6% instead of 9%... why wouldn't it use that? Why wouldn't it assume the bank lending the money knows what it's doing and there's no problem? How is it supposed to realise the huge macroeconomic issue that the Euro has skewed Eurozone lending in a damaging way that's going to blow up in its face in ten years' time... particularly given even governments and banks haven't realised? Millions of actors just made economic decisions according the normal reasons and circumstances at the time, unaware there was a ticking time bomb underneath.

Apart from the Greek government, mind. That was flat out fraud.

Agema:
You might query how I've assigned some official blocs (for instance, the ECR could qualify as Conservative, and fudging together the Greens and progessive green/left/regionals) but I think it's reasonable enough.

ECR's the more explicitly generic conservative bloc, EPP's more for liberal conservative and Christian democratic parties.

09philj:

ECR's the more explicitly generic conservative bloc, EPP's more for liberal conservative and Christian democratic parties.

I disagree. The EPP is the traditional conservative bloc; Christian democratic parties are conservative parties.

The ECR is a much newer creation, formed largely at the behest of the UK Conservatives with the Polish PiS who wanted a more EU-hostile grouping. It certainly is conservative, but think it is very much more distinctive because it is nationalist/Eurosceptic.

 

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