Monday, April 7, 2014

EU Elections: Why Should We Care?


Here are a few reasons:

1) With 200 or so political parties from 28 nations vying for seats that will eventually group into 6 or so EU Parliamentary super-parties ... these elections are a political junkie's dream come true.

2) Given that the EU is the world's largest--and wealthiest--body politic, there's a lot at stake.

3) Increasingly the affairs of Europe's 28 states and 18 Euro-zone members are regulated in Brussels (or Frankfurt or Strasbourg or Luxembourg--i.e. by the EU in some form). The Parliamentary elections are the only gasp of fully democratic process governing this powerful machinery.

4) As in the US, politics in major European democracies are somewhat stalemated in the face-off of right and left, and paralyzed by the ongoing economic stagnation. Aggregating this problem at the 28-state level doesn't automatically produce a solution, but may offer a more effective scale for resolving issues. For example, would questions of minimum wage and unemployment insurance work better if federalized across the whole EU than in nations struggling each with its own fiscal pressures?

5) As the new Parliament organizes itself, cracks and affiliations between points-of-view that are somewhat idiosyncratic in one country make assume a clearer shape. For example: if a working majority takes shape among Schulz's social dems, Tsipras's far-left, and the greens, this could encourage related parties in a country like France to work more effectively together--despite the fact that the respective party leaders all hate each other.


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