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LOOKING AHEAD
13.06.2009

June 9, 2009 (the date of publication in Russian)

Alexander Sotnichenko

SPRINGBOARD FOR THE ULTRAS

Euro Parliament elections carried forward the proponents of Muslim's proscription from the Holland

The poll at the European Parliament elections is not over yet, but the EU television has already brought the sensational news. First, low rate of the voters' interest for the elections was discovered: average attendance among all the countries made up about 40% of the electorate and in some countries it was even less. For example in Lithuania, it made up just 15.7% of the electorate. In the second place, all the experts noted the increase of the quota of extremist party members in the main law-making body of the United Europe. In all the contemporary politics textbooks European Union is portrayed as the most progressive regional international organization, which is often compared with the retrogressive structure of the CIS. But the results of the recent elections show that EU has plenty of problems.

The world economic crisis became the main reason of the political instability in the EU. It forced its citizens to concentrate on their own national problems. More and more Europeans blame the globalization and Euro-integration for the worsening of the economic situation. Thus, the decrease of interest for the supranational institutes is just another step towards the failure of Euro constitution. At the same time, several marginal political parties have managed to unite their supporters around the populist ideas. One of them is the Party for Freedom, headed by the well-known Dutch politician Geert Wilders (whom RPMonitor has already written about).

Holland became the first country, who published the official results of the European Parliament elections. Liberal Christian-Democratic Party of Holland took the first place, having acquired five benches. But the Party for Freedom, which has got 17% of the votes and four benches, is close at their heels. The party participates in the elections of such level for the first time and its success is provided not only by the populist statements of its leader. We may assume that the wide section of Dutch and European voters agree with the main planks of the program of ultraliberal party from the Netherlands.

The Party for Freedom is geared against the further integration within the scope of the European Union. According to the multiple statements of its leader, Geert Wilders, his party strongly objects Turkey joining the United Europe. Besides this, he is displeased with the excessive level of integration of Holland with the other members of the EU. "We want to spend our money not in Romania or Portugal, but here in Holland!", – declared the politician during the elections, thus, allowing his opponent, the leader of the Dutch Christian Democrats Jan Peters, to call the Party for Freedom "an anti-European force".

In the midst of the economic crisis and the increase of unemployment, Europeans started to pay more attention to the problem of migration. Earlier, expatriates from the non-European countries bothered only the small stratum of nationalists for whom the color of skin, religion and culture of their neighbors really mattered. But now the situation has dramatically changed. Every hired worker started to pay attention to the strengthening competition with the immigrants. Wilders clearly answers the two main question of the average European in the times of the economic crisis: Who is to blame? Ц The Muslims; What is to be done? Ц Immediately send them away and crisis will come to an end.

Will the Party for Freedom be able to become an authoritative power in Europe and what is its perspective? The lack of interest of the Europeans for the European Parliament elections is mainly conditioned by its limited powers. Euro MPs have only the right to manage the European financial resources, but they can not define the policy of the EU. Moderate political program of the neo-liberals of the European People's Party of Holland, who got the majority of the votes, is well-known to everyone and the Party for Freedom with its four MPs will not stop the integration processes. But these radical politicians will get the prestigious Euro MP status and the rostrum for spreading their ideas. Wait a while Ц and scandalous Islamophobic movies, which made Geert Wilders famous, would be demonstrated in the Euro Parliament. This would certainly worsen the relations between the immigrants and native Europeans, which are already strained. And if some of the MPs would be killed by the kindred forces from the hostile opposition camp (which also has plenty of people who are fond of blaming the others for their own troubles) Ц the ratings of the Party for Freedom can really go beyond the limits. So, the result of the Euro Parliament elections for the Euro-skeptic Wilders is, mostly, the springboard to the post of a Prime Minister in his own country.


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