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European Parliamentary Elections results, major concern?


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I work as an usability specialist for larger software company, even though that my work should have little to do with politics, there has been government contracts for EU specific web-portals. But I liked civic classes in school and I try to keep myself updated on how our government and EU works, so most of my knowledge comes from reading it from internet :), which means that my knowledge probably has large holes in it.

Dude, you're more educated than the vast majority of EU citizens. You actually know what you're talking about. My hat off to you.

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Its not that I don't believe Monte and you but I would prefer to get few other opinions, you understand of course. Its just the most sensible way to end the debate :geek:

 

TLDR: nobody including the major economies paid any attention to the financial criteria for Euro integration, and in a currency union the currency is always run for the strongest member(s), not the weaker. That's great if you're the stronger members, if you're the weaker it sucks.

 

There isn't really any debate about it. Yes, Greece did cook the books. They weren't alone in that, nor in there being little to no oversight or auditing, while other countries simply ignored the criteria- France was over the annual debt/ GDP limit, for example, for every single year except 2006, but since it was France nobody cared. So too, at various times, was Germany. You can check out the adherence here, in the member states by SGP adherence table. Long story short, the only long term EU member and Euro user to adhere to the guidelines was wee diddly Luxemburg. And maybe Finland, depending on if you set the 'long term' bar at less than 20 years membership.

 

They wanted the Euro launch to be a success more than wanting it to be sustainable and work for everyone, indeed as set up currently it is, basically, a money siphon that pumps cash from the poorer regions into the richer.

 

As for the specifics of why joining the Euro is a bad idea for a weak economy that is simple economics. With a floating exchange rate for your own sovereign currency the value is set by several different factors- economic strength (or perceived economic strength, says I from a bubble currency country. NZD volume is only slightly less than the Chinese Yuan, utter madness even considering the Yuan ain't floating freely), interest rates, money supply ('quantitative easing', also related to interest rates) among them; and you have considerable amounts of control over the rate even in a theoretically freely floating system. Generally speaking, a weaker economy has a lower exchange rate relative to a stronger economy which makes exports more competitive, while a sovereign currency also allows debt reduction by quantitative easing, ie printing money. Neither of those is available to the PIIGCS. In a monetary union the exchange rate is determined mostly by the strongest, largest economies, as they contribute most to the unified pie. For them it is an advantage in fact, because the weaker economies pull down on currency value which makes their exports more affordable than they 'should' be in a sovereign currency situation, ie the Euro is lower valued than the Deutchmark would be given the strength of Germany's economy, because Greece et al pull down on it. This makes Germany's exports disproportionately competitive worldwide, and they are disproportionately competitive within Europe too. But that is exactly reversed for Greece, their exports and tourism are uncompetitive because the stronger and far larger German economy pulls the Euro value up from where their sovereign currency would be, Greece cannot become more competitive as they do not control their currency value at all, nor can they cannot inflate debt away as they cannot print money.

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If Bruce is told the truth by someone who doesn't share his views, he ignores them or asks for 'clarification.' It's actually patronising and insulting.

 

I shan't bother engaging with him any more.

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If Bruce is told the truth by someone who doesn't share his views, he ignores them or asks for 'clarification.' It's actually patronising and insulting.

 

I shan't bother engaging with him any more.

 

I'm a strange person Monte, I don't just believe everything people  tell me on the Internet.

 

But if this means you won't engage with me anymore I'm sorry because I do enjoy our little debates :)

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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They wanted the Euro launch to be a success more than wanting it to be sustainable and work for everyone, indeed as set up currently it is, basically, a money siphon that pumps cash from the poorer regions into the richer.

 

That's an odd conclusion, since it's basically the opposite in my books.

 

The weaker countries get a lot of money in subsidies or money to save them from bankrupcy.

On the other hand they barely add money to the EU since they're "poor"... by which it means the citizens aren't poor, but the government is due to low taxes, high tax-evasion and rampant corruption.

 

The strong Euro doesn't really help much for all countries in the EU for export, but as if you say export is mainly tourism, that wont be quite as affected. And it's not exactly the EU's own fault, since the strong Euro is more due to the Dollar's decline (because the economy in the US is taking a beating thanks to Iraq and Afghanistan and the exploding bubble of banks) than good EU finances.

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^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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If Bruce is told the truth by someone who doesn't share his views, he ignores them or asks for 'clarification.' It's actually patronising and insulting.

 

I shan't bother engaging with him any more.

 

Welcome to the club Monte, I'll show you the secret handshake latter.

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They wanted the Euro launch to be a success more than wanting it to be sustainable and work for everyone, indeed as set up currently it is, basically, a money siphon that pumps cash from the poorer regions into the richer.

 

That's an odd conclusion, since it's basically the opposite in my books.

 

The weaker countries get a lot of money in subsidies or money to save them from bankrupcy.

On the other hand they barely add money to the EU since they're "poor"... by which it means the citizens aren't poor, but the government is due to low taxes, high tax-evasion and rampant corruption.

 

The strong Euro doesn't really help much for all countries in the EU for export, but as if you say export is mainly tourism, that wont be quite as affected. And it's not exactly the EU's own fault, since the strong Euro is more due to the Dollar's decline (because the economy in the US is taking a beating thanks to Iraq and Afghanistan and the exploding bubble of banks) than good EU finances.

 

 

Actually, it does help someone. The "strong" Euro is still weaker than if for example Germany would have a currency of its own. One of the arguments often used in Germany to stay in the Euro is that if Germany had its own currency again it would skyrocket and end up massively hurting their export, which they rely on heavily.

 

By the way, it is easy to blame Greece and other poor countries for having collected far more debt than they could handle, but on the other hand with the money they borrowed they bought a lot of things from the northern countries in the E.U., and no one ever complained about. No one said "Stop, Greece, you can't keep buying from us, it will get you into trouble!" In simple terms, Greece was an addict, and we were its enablers.

 

It's easy to take the black and white view on this, like people who think that all the money going to Greece is due to some misplaced altruism. In fact, it's to save our own skin. We save the Greek banks because if we don't the French banks to which these banks are indebted might collapse, which may cause the German banks to which they are indebted to collapse also, etc. etc. The whole system is linked in such a way that there really isn't any alternative. I can certainly fault the governments of Europe for allowing us to get in this mess, but a lot of the criticism of how they are handling it is quite honestly based on very simplistic thinking of people who can't see the greater picture.

 

]If you want to know how things are in Greece for actual normal people, take a look at something like this: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-09/greece-to-restore-electricity-to-poor-disconnected-households.html  I'm just saying, sure, there is money going to Greece but it's not going to partying Greek people who live leisurely off your tax money.

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If Bruce is told the truth by someone who doesn't share his views, he ignores them or asks for 'clarification.' It's actually patronising and insulting.

 

I shan't bother engaging with him any more.

 

Welcome to the club Monte, I'll show you the secret handshake latter.

 

 

Sarex stop being a naughty boy or I'm going to tell your parents and suggest they revoke your Internet pprivileges for at least 1 week, I don't want to do this but you need to learn to curtail that cheekiness !!!  o:)

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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I know it's not altruism. They are 'loans'... but we all know we'll never see most of the money back, and in the end a bunch of the debt will be whiskered away, as has been done before to save countries with massive debts. Our politics try to save their face by saving we'll get all back + interest... but we all know we wont. Not in 30 years, not ever. And then later on they need another loan, and another.

Yes, Greece defaulting would have been costly... but I still wonder if we didn't pay a higher price by keeping it upright, if we defaulted it from the start, and then took the money to take the blow locally, in the end it wouldn't have been much more financially sound. The linked banks that would collapse would be far easier to uphold than the Greece banks in the end ended up doing.

Taking the fall, but fixing it on the longer road, rather than patch it up and hope the patch holds... which seems very unlikely.

 

I might be totally wrong, but that's my view on the issue.

 

And yes, we pretty much all know the money wont make the life of ordinary citizens better, but instead will make the richer richer and for a big part dissapears into the corrupt heart of the government... much like the money granted to Ukraine.

 

Which makes the EU's apparent lack of proper overview of it's spending all the more aggrivating.

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^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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Letting Greece default would had shown that Euro is only monetary union for good days and on bad days its members are on their own, which would had removed most of economical stability that it has brought (meaning that price of loans would have risen probably more than they did and euro's swings in euro's value would probably been in much large and more difficult to predict) and caused it to lose it value as reserve currency, which would have put lots of other countries under economical threat. But even when take that consideration it's difficult to say which choice of action would have cost more in end. Euro countries decided to choose safer option, stabilizing currency by lending money for Greece to pay its debts and it would have quite minor impact on eurozone if they would have acted faster and if Greece would have been only country with problems.

 

But in Euro crisis there is so much blame to throw around that it's in my opinion quite unnecessary start to point fingers to any one country or institution, especially when last five years has been agonizing for most of the "worst" offenders. Although that said I would like to see bit more control put for banks so that they don't do so much speculative investments with money that is not theirs.

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Letting Greece default would had shown that Euro is only monetary union for good days and on bad days its members are on their own.

Which was, you know, what was originally agreed. No bail out.

You're a cheery wee bugger, Nep. Have I ever said that?

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look, I think we need to be clear. We knew even before Greece joined that there was no control built into the Euro. The Financial Times - a news-stand paper - said as much. If it hadn't been the Greeks it would have been someone else.

 

You can't have any system without control. Unless you're a deranged politico who thinks we'll all just get along by being nice.

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Letting Greece default would had shown that Euro is only monetary union for good days and on bad days its members are on their own.

Which was, you know, what was originally agreed. No bail out.

 

 

Too bad that the no-bail-out clause (Article 125 of the Lisbon's treaty) don't protect member states from economical destabilization if they let some members to default, especially when its their money that will be defaulted. So I think that many politician and even economist felt wrongly that no-bail-out clause would protect them from economical crises in other member states which come and bite them hard with sad reality that if loaned money don't come outside of eurozone then letting country to default would also hurt those member states that loaned the money in first place, even if it's private money, which would cause ripple effect that would hurt even those member states that haven't loaned any money at least directly for member state that is going to default. 

 

I agree with Walsingham that there was too little of oversight to see that there was no excessive borrowing and other bad habits in member countries. Most of oversight was left for financial markets, because it was assumed that they would not saw branch under them, but that failed miserably when some banks helped Greece hide their too rapidly growing debt and overall there was too much faith that markets will grow with out any glitches, which lead that many other members addition to Greece also had over extended their borrowings.

Edited by Elerond
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They wanted the Euro launch to be a success more than wanting it to be sustainable and work for everyone, indeed as set up currently it is, basically, a money siphon that pumps cash from the poorer regions into the richer.

 

That's an odd conclusion, since it's basically the opposite in my books.

 

The weaker countries get a lot of money in subsidies or money to save them from bankrupcy.

On the other hand they barely add money to the EU since they're "poor"... by which it means the citizens aren't poor, but the government is due to low taxes, high tax-evasion and rampant corruption.

 

The strong Euro doesn't really help much for all countries in the EU for export, but as if you say export is mainly tourism, that wont be quite as affected. And it's not exactly the EU's own fault, since the strong Euro is more due to the Dollar's decline (because the economy in the US is taking a beating thanks to Iraq and Afghanistan and the exploding bubble of banks) than good EU finances.

 

 

Most of the whys have already been said, but I'll reiterate. While the Euro is a strong currency, a free floating DM would be stronger hence Germany has an export advantage from being in the Euro (conversely the drachma would be far, far weaker, so is disadvantaged) and the southern states tended to have massive trade deficits with the stronger economies, which is fueled by borrowing largely from those same northern states that have large trade surpluses with their southern neighbours. The bailouts mostly were/ are about saving those who loaned the money, north European banks primarily, so the money will, largely, circulate back to those doing the bailouts anyway. They're also about saving perhaps the single biggest European Integrationist pet project from having countries leave when the Euro is supposed to be an inevitable step on the march to the USE, and definitely not something anyone should ever leave.

 

The relative USD (and UKP) decline is due to quantitative easing/ printing money/ low interest rates to stimulate the economy and inflate away debt- while that too has its risks it is also something that Greece now cannot do, and the Eurozone as a whole won't do.

 

Tourism is significantly effected by exchange rate, because it effects how far your money goes. To illustrate, the UKP:NZD exchange rate basically went form 1:3.5 to 1.1:2 around 2007-8, while the exchange rate with the Euro stayed about the same. I, as a tourist, had significantly more spending power in the UK when I visited than before- if I wanted to go to a 10 quid castle it's $18 instead of $35, but if I went to a 10€ castle it still cost the same and was now near twice as expensive, relatively speaking, as Britain. Same is true for someone in the Euro zone, if they go the UK for a holiday they get near twice as much bang for buck as before while Greece still gives them the same- tourism is an open market, while all other things being equal having the same currency and free travel is a major advantage it doesn't trump a potential halving in price elsewhere. If Greece were still on the drachma its value probably would have declined even more than Britain's and it would be giving even better bang for buck.

 

(Realistically lower exchange rates mean that imported stuff is more expensive, so it isn't as simple as I've made out, but even so lower currency is a massive advantage for tourism)

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Look at the USA, each state is almost like a separate country. But the USA works because despite some of the differences between the states almost all US citizens are united by one common thread. They are all American in identity. And that's what the EU lacks?

 

They share 'American' identity today mostly thanks to civil war and subsequent rise of mass media.

For EU to realize it's imperial ambition it would have to undergo a similar experience.

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Look at the USA, each state is almost like a separate country. But the USA works because despite some of the differences between the states almost all US citizens are united by one common thread. They are all American in identity. And that's what the EU lacks?

 

They share 'American' identity today mostly thanks to civil war and subsequent rise of mass media.

For EU to realize it's imperial ambition it would have to undergo a similar experience.

 

 

You could be right about the EU and what they need for greater or rather more meaningful cohesion. Also the reality is it doesn't matter how or why the USA shares a common identity. All that matters is that they do as this makes them stronger in time of crisis and unites them like after 9/11

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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How fitting there was no new "Game of Thrones" episode last weekend. Now we can instead discuss the real game of thrones going on inside the European Parliament, which is far more exciting since it actually has a real impact on people's lives. Let's do a damage control: people talk about a "political earthquake" caused by the new eurosceptic/anti-immigration parties. Here, the facts.

 

Let's first divide them into categories, which respond roughly to the three party groups they will likely form in the European Parliament - if they can.

 

It's the soft eurosceptics in the ECR (previously 7%, now 6%, perhaps growing to 8% after negotiations) who want the EU but not the Euro - formerly dominated by the Tories but now under control by the East European National Conservative parties. These are not untainted by xenophobia, but it's by and large not a characteristic of the group.

 

We have the EFD (previously 4%, currently 5%, future existence uncertain, they might get 6% of seats though) with Nigel Farage's UKIP, hard eurosceptics who basically just want the EU to Foxtrot Oscar. Previously the EFD was the most toxic party group in the parliament, which none of the others wanted anything at all to do with do to the blatant racism attributed to many of it's members. The kind of guys who can state as an obvious fact that "you wouldn't want to live next to Romanians", but who still refuse to cooperate with other parties because of "anti-Semitism". In any case, you've all met these types of guys before: the guys who think that every kind of decision made from above they don't like is oppression, who want secession from everything they can secede from no matter the price. Especially among American political stereotypes I think you can find counterparts of these guys in the deep south, the kind of guys who believe, say, Texas should secede from the US. Currently however, a lot of parties are jumping ship from this faction, who might become too small to form a party group when the EP convenes. If they do, it will be one that is less racist and more libertarian than its predecessor.

 

Which leads us the the new EAF party group (previously non-existent, currently 5%, perhaps growing to 6% after negotiations), a new group uniting everybody who despises pretty much every ethnic minority you can guess: Muslims, Gypsies, Jews (okay, they are divided on the last one). These are also unique in that many of the constituent parties are admirers or sympathizers of our dear friend Vlad in Russia. No wonder he is BFF with people who want to wreck the EU, then he can pick apart Eastern Europe as he wants. In any case yes, the EAF is definitely eurosceptic. This group has potential to steal several former EFD and ECR parties. The last time a similar group existed in the EP we were treated to the exquisite circus of watching them split apart over trying to agree about which peoples they didn't like - eventually someone mentioned "East Europeans" and then naturally the East European racists went bananas and left the group.

 

Then we have the real relics, the actual neo-nazis who are too extreme to be accepted in any group: Jobbik from Hungary with 3 seats (14% of Hungary's), Golden Dawn from Greece with 3 seats (14% of Greece's) and NPD from Germany with 1 seat (0,9% of Germany's seats). These won't have the forces to create a party group, but will still have 0,9% of the seats in the European Parliament. By themselves, a negligible force.

 

So, all in all: 0,9% neo-nazis. About 7% (6% + 0,9%) blatantly racist anti-EU populists. A separate group of about 6% strongly anti-EU and anti-immigration who pretend not to be racists at all (I believe most of them are fuelled by some kind of xenophobia, but I also don't believe in Kantian necessity of good intentions - as long as they say they are not racist and actively denounce the "real" racists, I'm fine). That adds up to 13% hard EU-sceptics. This number is indeed up from about 7% in the previous parliament. I'll leave it to you to decide if it's an earthquake.

 

I would put the probability of UKIP not being able to keep the EFD party group at 50% (due to the limitation of minimum 7 countries among constituent parties). On the other hand, the Tories will likely find that even though their own influence has diminished, their party group will very slightly increase their seats if the EFD group blows up. I consider the EAF pretty much a fait accompli, which would put France's FN as this election's big winners - no surprise to anyone who has followed the news perhaps. This in spite of that the EAF will be even more toxic than the EFD of last parliament.

 

The UKIP might be in for a very, very cold shower however. Even if they land this, they will need a lot of new parties to compensate for the ones who have been voted out from the EP, and the ones who jump ship from the EFD. A failure will be a death sentence to any influence the UKIP would have had in the EP - in spite of increasing their seats by more than 50% they will lose overall influence.

 

It is very ironic that as British sympathies are drifting towards UKIP and away from the Tories, and as the failed common currency project needs reform or dismantlement (which the UK would be crucial in pushing for), the British influence in the EP will be at an all-time low. Meanwhile, Germany is the bedrock upon which the two big party groups (who together hold over 50% of the seats) rest. In an ideal alternate universe, the Tories would never have left the EPP and 50% of the British would have voted conservative in the current EU election, and only then voted UKIP in British parliamentary elections if they really hated the EU. That would have left the Tories at the helm of the EU's largest political faction and in the most powerful position of any European political movement to negotiate solutions to the problems of the Union. You can never assume that the voter collective, or even the parlamentarians, are capable of these meta-perspectives though. It's funny that as the British UKIP voters complain about not having influence in the EU, voting for UKIP (depending on the future of the EFD) might turn out to be the worst possible way to project British interests in the EP.

Edited by Rostere
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How fitting there was no new "Game of Thrones" episode last weekend. Now we can instead discuss the real game of thrones going on inside the European Parliament, which is far more exciting since it actually has a real impact on people's lives. Let's do a damage control: people talk about a "political earthquake" caused by the new eurosceptic/anti-immigration parties. Here, the facts.

 

Let's first divide them into categories, which respond roughly to the three party groups they will likely form in the European Parliament - if they can.

 

It's the soft eurosceptics in the ECR (previously 7%, now 6%, perhaps growing to 8% after negotiations) who want the EU but not the Euro - formerly dominated by the Tories but now under control by the East European National Conservative parties. These are not untainted by xenophobia, but it's by and large not a characteristic of the group.

 

We have the EFD (previously 4%, currently 5%, future existence uncertain, they might get 6% of seats though) with Nigel Farage's UKIP, hard eurosceptics who basically just want the EU to Foxtrot Oscar. Previously the EFD was the most toxic party group in the parliament, which none of the others wanted anything at all to do with do to the blatant racism attributed to many of it's members. The kind of guys who can state as an obvious fact that "you wouldn't want to live next to Romanians", but who still refuse to cooperate with other parties because of "anti-Semitism". In any case, you've all met these types of guys before: the guys who think that every kind of decision made from above they don't like is oppression, who want secession from everything they can secede from no matter the price. Especially among American political stereotypes I think you can find counterparts of these guys in the deep south, the kind of guys who believe, say, Texas should secede from the US. Currently however, a lot of parties are jumping ship from this faction, who might become too small to form a party group when the EP convenes. If they do, it will be one that is less racist and more libertarian than its predecessor.

 

Which leads us the the new EAF party group (previously non-existent, currently 5%, perhaps growing to 6% after negotiations), a new group uniting everybody who despises pretty much every ethnic minority you can guess: Muslims, Gypsies, Jews (okay, they are divided on the last one). These are also unique in that many of the constituent parties are admirers or sympathizers of our dear friend Vlad in Russia. No wonder he is BFF with people who want to wreck the EU, then he can pick apart Eastern Europe as he wants. In any case yes, the EAF is definitely eurosceptic. This group has potential to steal several former EFD and ECR parties. The last time a similar group existed in the EP we were treated to the exquisite circus of watching them split apart over trying to agree about which peoples they didn't like - eventually someone mentioned "East Europeans" and then naturally the East European racists went bananas and left the group.

 

Then we have the real relics, the actual neo-nazis who are too extreme to be accepted in any group: Jobbik from Hungary with 3 seats (14% of Hungary's), Golden Dawn from Greece with 3 seats (14% of Greece's) and NPD from Germany with 1 seat (0,9% of Germany's seats). These won't have the forces to create a party group, but will still have 0,9% of the seats in the European Parliament. By themselves, a negligible force.

 

So, all in all: 0,9% neo-nazis. About 7% (6% + 0,9%) blatantly racist anti-EU populists. A separate group of about 6% strongly anti-EU and anti-immigration who pretend not to be racists at all (I believe most of them are fuelled by some kind of xenophobia, but I also don't believe in Kantian necessity of good intentions - as long as they say they are not racist and actively denounce the "real" racists, I'm fine). That adds up to 13% hard EU-sceptics. This number is indeed up from about 7% in the previous parliament. I'll leave it to you to decide if it's an earthquake.

 

I would put the probability of UKIP not being able to keep the EFD party group at 50% (due to the limitation of minimum 7 countries among constituent parties). On the other hand, the Tories will likely find that even though their own influence has diminished, their party group will very slightly increase their seats if the EFD group blows up. I consider the EAF pretty much a fait accompli, which would put France's FN as this election's big winners - no surprise to anyone who has followed the news perhaps. This in spite of that the EAF will be even more toxic than the EFD of last parliament.

 

The UKIP might be in for a very, very cold shower however. Even if they land this, they will need a lot of new parties to compensate for the ones who have been voted out from the EP, and the ones who jump ship from the EFD. A failure will be a death sentence to any influence the UKIP would have had in the EP - in spite of increasing their seats by more than 50% they will lose overall influence.

 

It is very ironic that as British sympathies are drifting towards UKIP and away from the Tories, and as the failed common currency project needs reform or dismantlement (which the UK would be crucial in pushing for), the British influence in the EP will be at an all-time low. Meanwhile, Germany is the bedrock upon which the two big party groups (who together hold over 50% of the seats) rest. In an ideal alternate universe, the Tories would never have left the EPP and 50% of the British would have voted conservative in the current EU election, and only then voted UKIP in British parliamentary elections if they really hated the EU. That would have left the Tories at the helm of the EU's largest political faction and in the most powerful position of any European political movement to negotiate solutions to the problems of the Union. You can never assume that the voter collective, or even the parlamentarians, are capable of these meta-perspectives though. It's funny that as the British UKIP voters complain about not having influence in the EU, voting for UKIP (depending on the future of the EFD) might turn out to be the worst possible way to project British interests in the EP.

 

Thanks for sharing Ros, that was a very detailed and interesting post :)

 

And 13 % is not a seismically concerning number and if that represents the real Eurosceptic number then we don't have to worry about a breakup of the EU in the near future

Edited by BruceVC

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Thanks for sharing Ros, that was a very detailed and interesting post :)

 

And 13 % is not a seismically concerning number and if that represents the real Eurosceptic number then we don't have to worry about a breakup of the EU in the near future

 

 

Bear in mind that a lot of people couldn't actually be bothered to even vote, and among those many are the sort of people who vote for the populist anti-Euro parties. These are the sort of people who grumble about everything related to the E.U. and then when the time to vote for the European Parliament comes they can't even be bothered to vote for their party. You can certainly wonder about these people's political engagement, but it doesn't mean they are happy with the E.U. These people do vote in local elections, and then they can vote on parties that end up in a parliament that actually means a damn.

Edited by JadedWolf
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Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.

 

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A post-election analysis

 

TL;DR-version: Damn if you do, damn if you don't :p

"Some men see things as they are and say why?"
"I dream things that never were and say why not?"
- George Bernard Shaw

"Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

"The amount of energy necessary to refute bull**** is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

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The problem with the 13% figure is that it is not the whole story, even its increase is not the whole story. The really big deal is that it is increasing and is not evenly distributed throughout the union, but is granular, the largest country has almost no eurosceptic component at all. But if the eurosceptic vote gets to 50%+ in any specific country in a general election it suddenly becomes a very big deal. While UKIP has no realistic chance of winning a general election in the UK it most certainly can make sure that the Tories lose, if they get 5-10% of the vote that would otherwise go to them, and that automatically pulls the Conservatives further to the sceptical side than they've been in years for anything other than lip service. Same with Greece, the eurosceptics (or at least the Euro sceptics) came extremely close to winning there in the last general election(s) and would have won (I think) based solely on the Euro election results.

 

While countries leaving the Euro or even the Union is not at least in theory a mortal blow to the European Idea it only has to happen once for it to become possible and conceivable (well, almost certainly inevitable) that it will happen again. At the moment integration has had 60 years of uninterrupted momentum, anything like a drop out and it certainly would not be uninterrupted momentum any more.

Edited by Zoraptor
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The problem with the 13% figure is that it is not the whole story, even its increase is not the whole story. The really big deal is that it is increasing and is not evenly distributed throughout the union, but is granular, the largest country has almost no eurosceptic component at all. But if the eurosceptic vote gets to 50%+ in any specific country in a general election it suddenly becomes a very big deal. While UKIP has no realistic chance of winning a general election in the UK it most certainly can make sure that the Tories lose, if they get 5-10% of the vote that would otherwise go to them, and that automatically pulls the Conservatives further to the sceptical side than they've been in years for anything other than lip service. Same with Greece, the eurosceptics (or at least the Euro sceptics) came extremely close to winning there in the last general election(s) and would have won (I think) based solely on the Euro election results.

 

While countries leaving the Euro or even the Union is not at least in theory a mortal blow to the European Idea it only has to happen once for it to become possible and conceivable (well, almost certainly inevitable) that it will happen again. At the moment integration has had 60 years of uninterrupted momentum, anything like a drop out and it certainly would not be uninterrupted momentum any more.

 

You make raise some good points. Basically you are saying the danger isn't so much the EU dissolving itself but individual countries leaving due to Euro sceptic parties coming to power in local elections . But in the case of Greece this would surly be economic suicide for them. They probably would have to return to the Drachma which would be almost worthless, there banks systems would be under huge pressure and they would still have to pay the EU back for the bail-outs. But I can see other countries leaving the EU not being under the same pressure as they aren't in the same debt ?

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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An update on the current situation.

 

Here's two blog posts underlining the problems I wrote about in my previous post. I think my initial assessment still is pretty accurate.

 

As things stand now, Nigel Farage's EFD alliance looks moribund. The new EAF group will maybe make it, but only barely. UKIP will be faced with the dilemma of either joining the EAF (opening themselves up to criticism of cooperating with racists) or joining the ECR (opening up for accusations of "selling out" to the Tories). The possibility of retaining the EFD alliance looks very, very unrealistic indeed, with the EFD in that case being forced to include either parties they have dismissed as racist extremists before, or any of the new extreme-right parties like Poland's KNP which have made themselves infamous through gems such as "it is not possible to rape a woman" and "there is no proof Hitler knew about the Holocaust", Golden Dawn or the German neo-Nazis. Everybody, bring forth your popcorn.

 

The failure of the EFD to secure support translates in practice to the UKIP losing ****loads of EU funding, and being relegated to the naughty chair in the EP. Expect their next campaign to be very meagre. On the other hand, if the EAF group becomes a reality, then France's Front Nationale are looking to gain a lot of money for their organization and future campaigns.

"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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