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Lessons for Canada in the EU elections

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“End of the world” headlines notwithstanding, the European Parliament elections last week were far more nuanced than merely the rise of populists. In fact, the traditional, centre-left and centre-right alliances will continue to choose the EU’s leaders and to govern Europe — and the Greens will hold the balance of power.

Many fascinating nuggets are buried in the results. Turnout was up almost everywhere, the highest in 25 years. Secondly, both a regional and a generational divide clearly emerged. The old East European nations shifted hard right, most of the Mediterranean nations moved left, as did much of Northern Europe — but the Greens and the UK Liberal Democrats were big winners. Pollsters say the Greens may have won as much as 1-out-of-3 votes from Europeans under 30.

It is indisputable that the looney right, led by the Nigel Farage in the UK, and in France and the Italian racist Liga all saw explosive growth, as did the authoritarian parties in Poland and Hungary. Their efforts to organize their own voting bloc in the European Parliament seem unlikely to be stable, leaving a centrist EU leadership in charge.


© Toronto Star