Friday, February 21, 2014

On your mark ...

After months of preliminary maneuvers the electoral campaigns of Europe's many parties are taking shape in advance of the May elections. I begin with two contrary observations:

1) Most of the commentary I read is preoccupied with the threat of nationalistic, Eurosceptic, sometimes racist parties, whose presumed breakthrough in May will doom the European project and initiate a next era of European hostilities; and

2) the actual polling data, which suggests modest gains on the far left and right, and a small dip in the center-right, which now controls the EU Parliament but may lose its plurality to the moderate forces of the center-left. (By the Eu's byzantine procedures, though, the prize of the EU Commission presidency does not necessarily go to the winner, as in a true prime ministerial election, but devolves from an agreement by the 28 heads of state, who may or may not--at their peril!--respect the electoral outcomes.)

In any case, if the polls hold true the epochal crisis in which Europe finds itself may not be resolved, as some might hope or fear, by this election, which may merely kick that can a little further down the road. But it should be a provocative campaign season nonetheless, as I hope to demonstrate in subsequent posts.