Angela Merkel, Austria, Donald Trump, Europe, France, Francois Hollande, Front National party, Geert Wilders, Germany, Hungary, Marine Le Pen, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump influence on Europe, Viktor Orban
The Trump win has fairly put the cat among the pigeons in Europe. Across the continent politicians are flapping about like a lot of wet hens all tripping over each other in their strident condemnation, and total complete blind panic. They had an “emergency meeting” on Sunday and another one this morning!
But why? Well this changing of the guard in America could hardly have come at a worse time for the hide bound established liberal we-know-best-what-you-need-consensus in Europe. The next year to eighteen months is just stuffed full of elections, and every one of these has now been bust wide open to the right wing. Trump winning has fair put a wind in their sails, and the established liberal corporatist elites in Europe are every bit as discommoded as those in the United States.
I would never like to use the term panic…..but PANIC!
They worry that their electorates are as concerned with jobs, money, education, immigration, globalisation and corruption as the American electorate proved to be. All this “Better Together” guff did not work for the British back in the summer with their Brexit referendum and it looks as likely to fall on deaf ears in Europe next year as well. The electorate now, in way too many places, are seeing the European project as a grand trough for the politicians, with damn little for them. Add in concerns about Trump and his “Grand Bargain” with Russia on spheres of influence, the USA finally getting heavy with Europe on paying up its share of defence spending, falling trade, market fluctuations and their own troubled Euro, and our politicians are in for a heavy year ahead.
Over 40% of Europe will be going to the polls in the next eighteen months, and it could be more if the UK decides to hold a snap General election in the spring (which I think is a certainty).
First off is a nice little Referendum next month to ease us into the main courses later. Italy’s Matteo Renzi is determined to have a Referendum on his plans to strip the powers of Italy’s upper House to bring down governments – especially his own. To add to the gaiety of this event he promises to step down if he loses. Excellent. He can get to go first. His main opposition here is the Five Star Movement who seem on a bit of a roll and Euroscepticism abounds. Hope he’s packed up his office in preparation.
Next up, also in December, comes Austria’s election of its Head of State. This is a re-run of the earlier election after the Courts ordered the first null and void. The possibility of the Far Right’s Freedom Party under Norbert Hofer doing well gives us the opportunity of saying hello to Europe’s first democratically elected far right head of state since 1945. If this comes off expect the odds on all the following to shorten substantially.
Plucky little Liechtenstein will start the year off with a Parliamentary election. Liechtenstein has a total voting electorate of about 50,000 so it’s not even slightly important. Sad but true.
Spring is sprung, the grass is riss, I wonder where dem Nazis is? Ah yes if its March it must be Holland. Geert Wilders’s Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) is hoping to do well on the wave of anti-Islamic feeling that is rising in Holland. Holland traditionally was in a bloc with Britain on things European and may well be feeling a little lonely come the spring. Expect Geert to do well.
April / May 2017.
First round of the big events start here with the French Presidential. Francois Hollande – possibly quite the weakest President France has had in living memory, still has to decide if he wants to go hell for leather and be ignominiously trounced, or perhaps give the whole process a body swerve and retire beforehand. If he does decide to run he sees himself up against Nikolas Sarkozy who is another equally unpopular offering. The real fun lies in seeing if Hollande even gets to the second round. However, waiting in the wings for her big chance is Marine Le Pen “Madam Frexit” of the ultra-right Front National whose odds on gaining the Presidency get better every day. Juppe who is also mentioned as a candidate tends to be mentioned in sentences that include the word “Clinton” so I don’t expect much of run from him. At the moment, there is a large and growing movement who would be quite happy for France to follow Britain and dump the EU so this should be riveting.
Germany will be entertaining us twice next year. In May there will be the Regionals. Expect Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to do poorly and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) to do well. This will give us a clue as to the Presidentials later in the year.
The UK are back at their ballots again in May for Regional elections. Given the present febrile nature of politics in Britain anything might happen, but we can bet it won’t be anything nice. There is also a serious probability that our beloved Chairman May will be forced to go to the country for a proper mandate regarding Brexit before May. Fun and games all round.
September / October 2017
After the holidays the Germans come back with their Parliamentary elections which may see the AfD further entrenching their gains. By now I would reckon we will have seen Merkel resign.
Finally in October the Czechs see us out with a General Election. Bohuslaw Sobotka had a poor showing in the regional back in September. His main contender is one Andrej Babis a local billionaire businessman who is capitalising on the voters distaste for the traditional parties. Hmm sound familiar?
Beyond 2017 there are elections in Hungary in February 2018
Outside the EU Serbia and Norway also hold elections next year.
All in all, Trump is having an impact on the rest of the world from the start.
Copyright David Macadam 2016