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Will the European Union make a right turn? “The atmosphere will get a little hotter.”

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This could be a very good year for the far right in Europe. First of all, elections to the European Parliament will be held in a few months, and polls show that the far right has reasons for optimism. Moreover, Charles Michel’s resignation as President of the European Council opens the way for Viktor Orban to take over his duties.

The head of the European Council has so far tended to avoid controversy. Now Charles Michel has caused consternation across Europe when he announced he would leave his position before the end of his term. The reason is to run in the European Parliament elections. – It is not an easy choice, but it is a responsible one – emphasizes Charles Michel, President of the European Council. Charles Michel is the former Prime Minister of Belgium. He replaced Donald Tusk as President of the European Council in 2019. If he becomes an MEP, he will leave in July, although his term ends in November. Michel hears accusations from many sides of selfishness and endangering the EU’s interests. Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld wrote that it was the captain leaving the ship in the middle of a storm. “If you are so little involved in the fate of the EU, how credible are you as a candidate?” – he asks.

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The elections to the European Parliament will take place in early June. If, after Michel’s departure, EU leaders are unable to quickly choose his successor, the EU summits will be led by the pro-Putin Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, because his country will take over the EU presidency in July. This prospect raises concerns in many capitals, because after the European elections, a hot period of allocation of key EU positions will begin. Charles Michel reassures that there is still plenty of time to choose his successor. It promises hard work until the very end. “I have worked hard and I will continue to do so until the last day of my European role,” he assured.

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A right-wing turn?

This year’s summer in Brussels may turn out to be even hotter because the anti-EU, pro-Kremlin far right will almost certainly increase its influence in the European Parliament. “We should be afraid of a nationalist turn that will overshadow the twelve stars of the European flag,” emphasizes the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily. One of the Brussels portals even predicts “a breakthrough on the European right that will turn the European Parliament into a nightmare for the left.”

Will the far right really be so successful? I don’t think so. Polls predict that after the European elections, the majority will easily maintain the alliance of the European People’s Party, Social Democrats and Liberals. Therefore, the nationalist and Eurosceptic factions of Identity and Democracy and European Conservatives and Reformists, which include PiS, will remain in opposition. Both factions – even after merging – would be the second force in the European Parliament.

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One of the commentators of the German daily “Die Welt” estimates that “right-wing parties will probably win more votes and the atmosphere will become a little hotter, (…) but a possible shift to the right in the elections will not have a major impact on the EU.” The extreme right will consolidate a strong position in the two largest EU countries. In Germany, the AfD is the number two party. The number one party in France is Marine Le Pen’s National Rally. Both parties consistently use anti-emigration slogans, and their opposition to green policy makes them popular. Their pro-Kremlin attitude is a great threat.

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Main photo source: Reuters



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