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Videoconference Panel Discussion (with U. of Pittsburgh): A Parliament Against Itself? The Far Right in the Upcoming European Parliament Elections

Event Type
European Union Center, European Union Center of Excellence & European Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh
507 E. Green St., Room 411, Champaign, IL (map)
Apr 17, 2014   11:00 am - 12:30 pm  
Kim Rice

From May 22-25, 2014, citizens of the European Union will decide who will represent them in the European Parliament. With polls showing that only one in four Europeans trust their national leaders, and barely 30% of voters trust the EU, many experts are forecasting a strong showing for Europe’s far-right parties. With strong recent returns in local elections, France’s Front National and the Netherlands’ Party for Freedom have formed an alliance which may impact results in the May elections. Golden Dawn in Greece and the Austrian Freedom Party may also gain some seats in the EP. Other non-far-right but still anti-EU populist parties may also be able to gain some traction in the European elections that they are not able to get at the national level: the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), the True Finns (Finland), the Alternative for Germany party, and the Five Star Movement (Italy). What are the potential consequences of this “polarization” of the parliament? How will it reflect and affect popular opinion of the EU? Is there a danger that the traditional combination of voter apathy, low turnout, and populism will mean that May’s elections will return a “European Parliament against itself?”

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