Anti-EU parties are set to gain a third of European parliamentary votes in May, a new study says. Analysts warn it may bring down the whole political system in Europe, leaving Brussels powerless.
The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) report describes the vote as "the most consequential parliamentary vote in the EU's history" and says it is even possible for Euroskeptic parties to gain more than 30 percent of the EP's seats "if their popularity continues to grow or if some of the fringe members of the mainstream join them."
The report argues that if such a situation occurs, the EU could find itself "living on borrowed time" and outlines ways that various anti-EU parties could align with each other to garner more power in Brussels.
The shaky situation in Europe is the result of the EU "trying to get rid of nationhood" and the fact that EU institutions are "too remote from the individual citizens," Jon Gaunt, a UK radio host, journalist and political commentator, told RT. That point was also reflected in the report which acknowledged that anti-EU parties are advocating a return to a "Europe of the nations" instead of what Gaunt described as a "non-democratic superstate."
If anti-establishment parties gain more influence in EU politics, they could defuse arguments made by pro-EU parties that the project is"imperfect but capable of reform," the report said.
Despite the rapid rise of anti-establishment parties, the report claims that the "silent majority" across Europe are still pro-EU. Gaunt believes, however, saying that the EU project is at "the beginning of the end" and efforts by pro-EU parties to reform the bloc are "too little, too late."
While the report generally takes the view that Europeans still mostly “believe in and associate with” the EU project, it accepts that the status quo cannot simply be defended and that movements like the Yellow Vests in France have demonstrated that ordinary people “see no link” between what happens in the corridors of power and the issues they personally care about.
One of those who echoes that view is Laszlo Maracz, a European Studies professor and humanities researcher at University of Amsterdam, who told RT that the mass protest movement in France reflects that the EU project is experiencing a “very deep crisis in confidence” which could lead some countries to “the brink of political meltdown” and France in particular could enter into some “revolutionary state of affairs.”