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Tuesday, 29th April 2014

The Eurosceptic Surge and How to Respond to it

Source: European Council on Foreign Relations

Ahead of the European elections in May, Europe’s far-right parties are forging an anti-EU alliance...The so-called European Alliance for Freedom aims to form a group in the European Parliament (which currently requires 25 members from seven EU member states). It is also reaching out to the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Finland’s Finns Party, the Danish People’s Party, and Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

The opposition of these far-right parties to the idea of “ever closer union” is also shared by some the bigger and more established Eurosceptic parties in the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, such as the British Conservative Party and the Polish Law and Justice Party, and by the central and eastern European far-right parties such as Jobbik (Hungary) and Golden Dawn (Greece). The emerging anti-establishment coalition might also benefit from the support of some of the 18 left-wing parties in the United Left/Nordic Green Left group, which includes Syriza (Greece), Die Linke (Germany), and the Socialist Party (Netherlands), and other parties such as the Five Star Movement in Italy.

This coalition of Eurosceptic parties is likely to make life difficult for the mainstream parties in the European Parliament. The world’s first supranational parliament now has the power to block the appointment of the European Commission, to veto the majority of European legislation, to block the signature of international treaties and trade agreements, and even to hold up the EU’s annual budget. The Eurosceptics hope to use these powers to wreck the European project from within. Some commentators even see the anti-EU alliance as a kind of European version of the Tea Party and predict that it might even be able to pioneer a kind of European version of the “shutdown”.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

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