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Just in time for Brexit, the EU is finally growing up

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In the face of rising nationalism, many people predicted that this year’s European Parliament elections might have spelt the end of the European project. Instead, for the first time, we can begin to talk about a European electorate – the voters’ hopes, their fears and how they want the EU to change in line with their views. After a decade of painful, divisive, adolescent disputes over the economic and financial crisis, 2019 may be remembered as the year in which the EU grew up.

Ahead of the elections, it became clear that more people were experiencing mixed emotions about their European identity alongside national identity. Paradoxically, while 68 per cent of Europeans think their country’s membership of the EU is a good thing according to Eurobarometer data, majorities in most member states believe the EU might collapse in the next 20 years. Three quarters of EU voters believe that the political system is broken, either at a national or European level, or both.

This state of uncertainty about the world around them explains why the dominant emotions experience by the European electorate are stress and fear. From Italy and France to the Netherlands, nationalist parties........

© Independent