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HomeNewsDavid Campbell Bannerman’s EU Watch: Can the EU withstand another electoral shock?

David Campbell Bannerman’s EU Watch: Can the EU withstand another electoral shock?


Brussels is not just in denial, it is now in full panic. If UK’s Brexit wasn’t bad enough, now we have ‘Brexit 2’ – the unexpected populist election of Trump as president.

This has sent further shockwaves through a PC liberal elite arrogant in pushing the ‘European values’ they see as ever so superior. Lord Kerr’s disgraceful attack on fellow Brits as ‘too stupid’ to do many jobs immigrants do is a good representation of this remote and arrogant disdain for democracy and the views of the electorate.

But what really concerns them now is what will be ‘Brexit 3’, if not 4 or 5? The EU faces a year of significant electoral hurdles at which nations and pro-EU governments may well fall and fall heavily before similar populist anger.

It starts with Italy’s referendum on constitutional changes on 4th December. If the Italian Government lose that they are likely to fall, and a subsequent election may put the interesting 5 Star Movement, allies of Nigel Farage in the European Parliament, in Government. Leaving the euro is on the cards if this happens, whilst Italexit is possible. Italy’s economy hasn’t grown since it joined the euro – a huge indictment of euro economics.

On the same day, a rerun of the Austrian presidential election could see a right wing anti-immigration president, Norbert Hofer, elected, playing havoc with EU border and immigration policy. Austria won’t be told how many immigrants the EU tells them to take.

In the new year, significant are the Dutch elections at the end of March, the French presidential and assembly elections in May/June and then the German chancellor and federal elections due in September.

If Dutch PVV Leader Geert Wilders wins the popular vote in March then one of his first priorities is a referendum on EU membership – a good candidate for Brexit 3. Of course if a few of the handful of net contributors to the EU, such as the UK and the Netherlands, quit the party, the EU would suffer a massive budget loss.

The French presidential elections have ingloriously dumped Sarkozy in a primary. They are fascinating in foreshadowing a run-off in a second vote between Marine Le Pen of the Front National and the new UMP front runner and Thatcher admirer Francois Fillon. Both offer forms of referendum which may include one on EU membership. France leaving the EU would certainly mean ‘adieu’ for the whole project.

Then there’s Germany. Once the unassailable figure of Europe, Chancellor Merkel has plunged disastrously in popularity post her decision to open the doors to a million Syrian refugees. She has fanned the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, who are set for big gains. She may still win but she admits it will be a hard fought contest.

Against the backdrop of continued appalling economic performance in the Eurozone with Italian banks on the edge, Greek and Spanish youth unemployment at 60 per cent, and the migrant crisis still substantially unresolved, any one of these impending Brexit 3s could indeed prove terminal to the EU’s grand plans.

(Image: Erlebnis Europa)

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David Campbell Bannerman
David Campbell Bannerman
David Campbell Bannerman is Conservative MEP for the East of England and a member of the European Parliament's trade committee.

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