POTATUS Isn't the Only Case of Gastro-Intestinal Upset in Europe: It's EU Election Day!

AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

There has to be some serious Pepto Bismol chugging going on in the hallowed halls of Brussels as European Union elites face arguably the most severe challenges to their uninterrupted rule yet. From Geert Wilders' improbable recent triumph on their own front doorstep to the unremitting rise of the populist AfD party no matter what Whack-A-Mole tactics a panicked German Green coalition employs to stomp it out, an icy wind of severe citizen displeasure is frosting the tapestries in their once cozy confines.


Chief among the targets of ire, both MEPs (Member of the European Parliament) and leaders of EU countries, is Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. 

Or, as she's mockingly referred to in certain quarters, the self-styled "Queen of Europe."

As she's beginning to run out of sympathetic friends, her reign may be coming to a close.

What a pity.

Ursula von der Leyen’s chances of a second term as president of the European Commission are in doubt amid claims EU heavyweights are turning against her, and a fresh outbreak of infighting among the Brussels institutions.

The European Parliament elections this weekend will be the prelude to an intense period of international horsetrading over the EU’s top jobs for the next five years and how they are shared out among the bloc’s political families.

Until very recently, Mrs von der Leyen’s coronation for another five years  was seen as a foregone conclusion. Leaders were expected to be reluctant to make big changes while Europe was still dealing with the cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine.

But the Brussels rumour mill is now abuzz that she has lost the support of Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz, and that other EU leaders are exasperated at what they see as her high-handed posing as the “Queen of Europe”.

Well, Macron and Scholz could also be leaning towards dumping the unpopular von der Leyen because they have some election-year difficulties of their own. Macron is facing down a significant challenge from the hard right in France and may soon be in big lame-duck trouble in his last term.


...Another diplomat scoffed at the idea of Mr Macron wielding the axe because it is predicted his party will be trounced by Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in the European elections.

His Renew group of European liberals is expected to shrink to 78 seats, further diminishing the influence of a man in his second and final term as president of France.

Politico, as is their wont, will continue frantically clanging alarm bells (RADICAL RIGHT! POPULIST!) clean up to ballot box time.

As Europe votes, a populist wave surges 

Five months before the US election, radical right parties are expected to make major gains in the EU election

Even as they basically throw in the proverbial towel, they acknowledge a seismic shift is in the making. The only question will be, what does it register on the Richter Scale?

"Stunning rebukes" is a good start. 

And speaking of "spasms," watch as Politico hits the Nazi/fascist/Mussolini/Hitler and even Franco (!) high notes in their complete anti-populist denunciatory meltdown.

...In recent days, far-right parties have been showing startling strength in polls in countries across the European Union. If this translates to major electoral gains, as now appears likely, it would deliver an embarrassing rebuke to the two most prominent leaders on the continent: French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, both struggling with lackluster poll numbers.

...If the right performs well in Europe this week, it will suggest this same movement — once regarded as a momentary spasm — has enduring power.

...In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party is expected to trounce Macron’s party, increasing the likelihood of the far-right leader, or someone of her ilk, winning a presidential election due in 2027.

Across the Rhine, the far-right Alternative for Germany party — whose lead candidate recently told an Italian newspaper there were good people to be found among Nazi SS troops — is seen as vying a second place with the Scholz’s Social Democratic Party.

In Italy, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, which has its roots in the country’s fascist past, is due to increase its number of seats in the European Parliament. In Poland, the nationalist, anti-abortion Law and Justice party is looking to make a comeback after losing power last December.

For a Continent that has prided itself on having laid the rest the ghosts of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco, the resurgence of the right as a political forces is coming as a shock. POLITICO’s Poll of Polls shows far-right groups substantially increasing their share of the 720 seats in the European Parliament to as many as 184 seats, as voters across the bloc swing to the right.



...Coming just five months before a U.S. presidential election, the right-wing surge is also seen as setting the stage for a possible shift in transatlantic relations. If Trump is reelected in November, he could seek to team up with pro-Russian European politicians like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to seek a peace deal in Ukraine on unfavorable terms for Kyiv.

It couldn't possibly be a complete piece of demagoguery without a Trump swipe.

So tedious.

And they sound positively bereft at the thought of what the outcome of these elections could mean for the direction of Europe.

...What’s likely to change are the EU’s priorities, with the coming five years looking set to be less focused on environmental policies and much more on economic competitiveness amid increasing rivalry with China and the United States, with an emphasis on tough border controls.

Yeah. That sounds...exactly why people will vote the way they've indicated they're going to.

After an Afghan immigrant brutally stabbed two people at a rally last week - one of them a German police officer who later died - Chancellor Scholz once again promised to get tough about immigration and deportations. Only this time, he was serious, thanks to his shaky position with elections looming. Immigration vies for the number one issue only with inflation as far as German voters' main concerns. 

What's working against Scholz is that the German people have heard the tough talk before, and nothing's happened. No one's buying what Scholz is selling. 


Ever so helpfully, his coalition allies, the Green Party, despite the police officer's murder, immediately and publicly pushed back on the idea of deporting Afghan murderers to Afghanistan. "You realize the Taliban aren't nice people?" they helpfully pointed out. "We don't do things like that."

...The interior ministry, he said, “is working on facilitating the deportation of criminals and dangerous individuals to Afghanistan” and is in talks with “Afghanistan’s neighboring countries about the practical implementation.”

The Greens, however, pushed back on the proposal.

I understand that a few people are a bit nervous before the election,” Greens party co-leader, Omid Nouripour, told public broadcaster MDR this week. “If you simply abandon people in border regions, they will be back in three months.”

What the chancellor is calling for here violates fundamental human rights,” Greens lawmaker Schahina Gambir said in a statement following Scholz’s speech. “There are documented arbitrary executions in Afghanistan and torture is legal. Sharia law prevails, which is incompatible with our principles of the rule of law. The demand for deportations paves the way for the recognition of an Islamist terror regime: the Taliban.”

I guess that documented arbitrary execution of the police officer in Mannheim doesn't bother the Green Party a lick. Sending murderers back to murderers does.

This is the Green mentality. How they ever get elected is beyond me.

The four days of EU elections will run through Sunday, and no results will be announced until every country has voted. The Netherlands led off and Wilders' party is polling "neck and neck" with their rivals in the Green-Labour Alliance.


...Although the Green-Labour alliance is set to take more seats in the European Parliament according to the exit poll, Mr Wilders' Freedom Party is on course for big gains.

...Under European law final results are not released until every country has voted, late on Sunday evening. Some 373 million Europeans are eligible to vote in the world's second biggest democratic election after India.

The next European Parliament will have 720 seats, with each country having seats proportionate to their population. Germany will have 96, France 81 and Italy 76, while the Netherlands has 31.

The Dutch have come out to vote, which is surprising some observers who thought there'd be a certain amount of fatigue after all the arm-wrestling to form the new government. Is that indicative of the measure of engagement across the EU?

We'll have to keep an eye on things this weekend. 

I'll make sure any updates I find are in our headline section, as I am the unelected queen of those.

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