archiveauthordonateinfoloadingloginsearchstarsubscribe

Commentary. Europe still stands and falls with the states that make it up: France – like Germany, where the neo-Nazis have caught up with Scholz – is one of its pillars, on the verge of collapse.

European elections were like D-Day in reverse

With its fundamental policy choices, the European Union only managed to build a very weak bulwark against the most extreme right, and Sunday’s vote tore it apart. The symbol of the rout is Emmanuel Macron, whose surrender disguised as a new start mirrors his irrational back-and-forth on the war in Ukraine.

In just a few weeks, the fate of the French parliament seems sealed – and with it, sadly, that of the political heart of the continent. The parties of the far right are entering the Union as lords of the manor, one they did not help build and have always tried to tear down.

The bleak outcome of these elections is in sharp contrast with the almost-unchanged façade on display in the Strasbourg Hemicycle. Here, von der Leyen proclaimed herself the winner of the elections and tried to set herself up as the alternative to the extreme right that she helped bolster. The election result was like a powerful jolt that, for now, only cracked the building without bringing it down. Overall, the balance in the European Parliament seems not to have changed much.

The old alliance of Populars, Liberals and Socialists may have enough votes to continue unfazed, indifferent to the earthquake. But it won’t be possible to turn a blind eye. Because united Europe still stands and falls with the states that make it up: France – like Germany, where the neo-Nazis have caught up with Scholz – is one of its pillars, on the verge of collapse.

No matter how much the Populars and Socialists work overtime to offer a sweetened version of events, the victory of the extreme right is a dramatic result in the face of history. Parties that are xenophobic and racist, in many cases openly nostalgic for fascist regimes and neo-fascist themselves, are outpacing and resoundingly defeating parties that have been cornerstones of Europe for eighty years. D-Day was commemorated a few days ago – this was a D-Day in reverse.

The Italian result, with lower turnout than the Union average, is only a nod of approval for Meloni, not a triumph. Schlein’s success was more unambiguous, beating the most optimistic predictions. The Greens and the Left similarly overperformed, bolstered by support for newly-elected MEP Ilaria Salis. A lonely light inside a very dark tunnel.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your weekly briefing of progressive news.

You have Successfully Subscribed!