2016 In Review: Western Europe and Collapse of the European Union
PART TWO OF 2016 IN REVIEW FOCUSED on Eastern Europe, Part Three focuses on major political events of 2016 in Western Europe. Eastern Europe is experiencing a revival of Christian based political parties and in most cases a rapprochement with Russia. Western Europe is also experiencing a revival of family-oriented, traditional-values oriented political parties skeptical of Europe and the continuation of the European Union correlated with an openness to Russia.
The United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) an anti European Union or Euro-skeptic party emerged in the United Kingdom as similar parties emereged all over Europe, most prominently in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia Greece, Netherlands and France. UKIP was founded only a few years ago in 1991. In a short time UKIP comfortably won the 2014 European elections, received the third largest vote share in last year’s UK general election, and achieved its long-sought goal of an EU exit. With 22 members in The European Parliament, UKIP is the largest UK party in the European Parliament; it has 488 councilors active in UK local government and has placed six of its members on the Welsh National Assembly.
The UK story has extra merit since Nigel Farage, a founding member of UKIP was the first foreign leader to arrive on US soil to meet with president-elect Donald Trump.
In September of 2016 (then again in November, 2016) Farage was in the US to speak at a Trump rally before 15,000 in Jackson, Mississippi. Introducing him, Trump stated:
“On 23 June, the people of Britain voted to declare their independence — which is what we’re looking to do also, folks! —from international government.”
Mirroring the Trump introduction, Farage told the Americans gathered in Mississippi to ignore the polls and to “stand up and fight the establishment.”
“You can beat the pollsters. You can beat the commentators… Remember, anything is possible if enough decent people are prepared to stand up against the establishment.” He added: “We can overcome the big banks, we can overcome the multinationals.” Later he stated “I wouldn’t vote for Hilary Clinton if you paid me….So many political representatives are politically correct parts of the liberal media elite”
Farage spent years advocating for a UK referendum to exit the EU (Brexit). His hard work paid off. By June 2016 the people of the UK voted to exit the EU. Thereafter, Farage became something of a global celebrity among right-wing conservatives including Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen of France. Clinton loathes both Trump and Farage. She has characterized the two as
“…alt-right” figures who were (are) part of a “rising tide of hardline, right-wing nationalism around the world” (PBS News).
“… went on to name Russian President Vladimir Putin as “the grand godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism” (PBS News).
In other words, Putin, Trump and Farage are a threat to globalists like Hilary Clinton. Unfortunately for Ms Clinton, the list in Europe alone, is growing larger year by year. It includes Victor Orban, President of Hungary; Andrzej Duda, President of Poland; Igor Dodon, President of Moldova; Rumen Radev, President of Bulgaria; Vadim Krasnoselski, President of Transnistria; Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus; Lega Nord, the Euroskeptic political party on the rise in Italy; Alternative for Deutschland, the Euroskeptic Party on the rise in Germany; Gert Wilders in the Netherlands, and in France the National Front of Marine Le Pen who is poised to be the next president of France in just a few months.
The rise of Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) came as one of the major political surprises of 2016. The party was founded in 2013, a year in which it surprisingly won 4.7% of the vote barely missing the 5% threshold necessary to sit in the Bundestag (the Lower House of Parliament that represents the people and elects the Chancellor aka the Prime Minister). A year later AfD managed to acquire 7.1% of the vote and 7 of Germany’s 96 seats in the European Parliament. By 2016 AfD gained MP seats in ten of Germany’s 16 state parliaments and is poised to gain seats in next fall’s federal elections.
Speaking about the 2016 state results in the Eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the BBC reported
“Anxiety about immigration dominated the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania election on 4 September, enabling the AfD to take second place (almost 21%), behind the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD – 30.6%) but ahead of Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU – 19%).”
The Telegraph worded the Mecklenberg results this way:
“The anti-migrant Alternative for Germany party (AfD) surged ahead of Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) in initial projections with around 21 per cent of the vote.”
“Perhaps this is the beginning of the end for Chancellor Merkel,” Leif-Erik Holm, the AfD’s regional leader, said as the results became clear.”
Reporting on 2016 state elections in the capital, Berlin, Politico reported that Germany’s two leading parties, the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats, both suffered heavy losses while the AfD was catapulted into the state assembly.
“Berlin’s voters have dealt the embattled chancellor another heavy blow. But what is most remarkable is the fundamental shift in the country’s party landscape and political process that this election heralds. Berlin is Germany’s political and social laboratory par excellence. It is a microcosm where the country’s major challenges play out as if under a microscope. So the stability and consensus that have long been Germany’s political trademark may soon be a thing of the past.
It seems that Germany’s Euro-skeptic party is on the move making headway promoting a pro-Christian/Humanistic anti radical-Muslim values campaign. In May of this year, AfD adopted an anti-Islam policy that includes a section explaining why “Islam does not belong to Germany”.
The developing trend (most advanced in Berlin) but in motion throughout most of Germany is clear: The age of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leadership based on liberal European values is being seriously challenged, perhaps coming to an end.
“The AfD’s rightward drift can be seen across Germany, but nowhere is it as clear as in the country’s eastern states. Supporters of eastern German AfD chapters are not looking for a conservative alternative on the political spectrum. They are interested in opposing and resisting the established political system.”
Whether or not the AdF will attain power in the fall remains to be seen; it is more of a long-shot than the National Front in France. But if Le Pen’s National Font pulls out the victory in the spring of next year and Chancellor Merkel’s CDU fails to fix the immigrant problem and address the surge in favor of protecting Germany’s cultural patrimony, AdF might be the beneficiary in more than one way in the fall.
Perhaps the most dramatic story of 2016 is the meteor like rise of Marine le Pen’s National Front Party. In France, as elsewhere, the liberal agenda has become so extreme that there is a noticeable counter-current welling up from the reservoirs of the country’s deep cultural and spiritual patrimony coalescing into a political current that is swiftly moving in the opposite direction, a counter current being led by the rising tide of a political party known as the National Front.
Emergence of Marine Le Pen and the National Front
Although the National Front (FN) was launched on October 5, 1972, it is part of a conservative tradition that has long opposed the social engineering masterminded by the radical doyens of the 1789 French Revolution and their liberal successors Consequently, the FN rejects both the revolution and its liberal legacy. Sensing the weakness of France’s various conservative constituencies, constituencies that represent its cultural patrimony, its historic national ethos, its spiritual traditions and its ancient moral precepts rooted in Christian faith and reason, leaders of the FN realized the importance of forming a national front, an umbrella party that united the conserving elements of France under one political banner.
Then on January 15, 2011, Marine Le Pen unexpectedly became the leader of the FN and since then has catapulted a municipal party into a national political power. The FN received nearly 5 million votes in the 2014 parliamentary elections and gained 25% of all the seats in parliament. Then in 2015 in the first round of regional elections, it placed first in half of the 13 newly reapportioned regions ahead of every party in France. In Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie, little Le Pen won 41% of the vote. News like this sent shock waves throughout Europe (as similar events were happening in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, but no one foresaw such an event in modern France, the Mother of Liberalism.
EU Globalists abhor FN, which has referred to the European Union as:
“…the last stage on the road to world government” and a “puppet of the New World Order.”
The rise of Le Pen indicates an acute change in the political atmosphere, the result of widespread discontent with worn-out liberal rhetoric and a broad desire to respect French tradition, its cultural and spiritual legacy as well as the Christian identity of Europe. Consequently,
Le Pen admires Vladimir Putin and refers to him as a “defender of the Christian heritage of European civilization.”
Ms. Le Pen elieves that
“Russia is unfairly ‘demonized.’ She has claimed that the campaign against the Russian leadership is being conducted at the highest levels of the European Union with support from the United States.”
Recalling BREXIT, Le Pen has proposed a FREXIT:
“The Brits have chosen their destiny and decided to leave the European Union. They made the choice of independence… I will hold a referendum (if elected president) on France’s EU membership because you have the right to speak out… Yes, my friends, it is possible to change things.”
As part of this change, Le Pen has not only indicated a desire to work with President Putin, she has also manifested her preference for Donald Trump and went as far drawing similarities between herself and the president-elect. Comparing herself to Trump she stated:
“We are similar because we are not part of the establishment, we are not part of the system, and we do not depend on anybody and we don’t take orders from anyone.”
Late in 2016, Le Pen stated that her election as president would result in the formation of a trio of world leaders (Le Pen – Trump – Putin) that “would be good for world peace”. She also stated that
“There is a worldwide movement. A worldwide movement which rejects unchecked globalisation, destructive ultra-liberalism… the elimination of nation states, the disappearance of borders….The forces at work in these various elections are ideas, forces which could bring about my election as the president of France next May.”
An election result that would utterly astound the liberal global elite.
Although no where as astounding as developments in France, developments in Italy during 2016 came as quite a surprise, a surprise that is pregnant with ramifications for the future of this leading Mediterranean nation.
Late in 2016 Italian voters registered a resounding “NO” to the liberal pro-European government referendum initiated by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. A “No-Vote” to the Renzi sponsored referendum could be interpreted as a vote of no-confidence in Renzi and his attempts to strengthen ties with Paris and Berlin in favor of the EU and Eurozone.
It appears that the way is open for an alternative right party to rise in Italy as elsewhere. The most promising candidate to appear in 2016 seems to be Nega Lord as part of a coalition consisting of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, right-wing Fratelli d’Italia and Lega Nord.
As reported by the Guardian:
“When Matteo Salvini took over the leadership of the Northern League (Lega Nord) at the end of 2013, Italian politicians and the media said his job would be to officiate at the party’s funeral. Two years later, it is back from the near dead — and stronger than ever.”
“Whether you credit the refugee crisis, the Marine Le Pen bandwagon or what party insiders prefer to call the #effettoSalvini (the Salvini effect), the party that sank to an historic low of 4 percent in the 2013 election — below the threshold for seats in the Senate — now has 16-17 percent support in nationwide polls.
Lega Nord, promotes Italy’s cultural values, supports the traditional family, is opposed to same sex union, globalism, and the spread of liberalism.
Indicative of its Euro-skepticism, Salvini, hosted a 2106 Milan Conference for a new group in the European Parliament known as Europe of Nations and Freedom Group (ENF), which includes Marine Le Pen and other Euroskeptic party leaders from throughout the continent. ENF is working to establish a “Europe of free nations in which power is fully returned from the European Union to the voters of sovereign states. The group’s commitments are to sovereignty, democracy, freedom and ending mass immigration so that members may advance their own interests at the domestic level.”
In the words of Marine le Pen VP of ENF and prime candidate to be President of France in the spring of 2017:
“Each day, the Europe of Brussels unveils its fatal design: deconstructing nations to build a new globalist order, dangerous for the security, prosperity, identity, the very survival of the European peoples.”
“Faced with the proponents of federalism, we are the guardians informed of the national spirit and the defenders of the interests of European peoples.”
At the close of the Milan meeting of ENF hosted by Salvini, Salvini had a photo taken with Le Pen and others containing the caption:
“We will not surrender to the clandestine invasion.”
Pro-Christian populism is making headway in Italy as well. If Lega Nord happens to pull a surprise victory in the next election, Italian voters should expect a referendum to withdraw from the European Union or Euro Zone.
Although New Era did not report on the Netherlands in 2016, it too is experiencing the rise of a new alternative party, the “Party for Freedom” (PVV) headed by Geert Wilders, (parliamentary group leader of his party in the Dutch House of Representatives) whom many refer to as “the Dutch Trump”. In 2016 the PVV won 5.9% of the vote. Then in 2012 the numbers rose to 10.1%. Polls referring to national elections scheduled for March 2017, indicate the the PVV will get about 20% of the vote, which would make it the largest party in the Dutch Parliament.
As cited at his weblog:
“Geert Wilders has become politician of the year 2016. 40,000 people participated in the annual public election held by tv-show ‘EenVandaag’. Geert Wilders dominated the 2016 political polls. For many participants, Wilders symbolises the dissatisfaction with current politics.”
- Replacement of the present Article 1 of the Dutch constitution, guaranteeing equality under the law, by a clause stating the cultural dominance of the Christian, Jewish and humanist traditions.
- Reduction of the influence of the European Union, which may no longer be expanded with new member states
- A five-year moratorium on the immigration of non-Western foreigners who intend to stay in the Netherlands.
- A five-year moratorium on the founding of new mosques and Islamic schools; a permanent ban on preaching in any language other than Dutch. Foreign imams will not be allowed to preach. Radical mosques will be closed and radical Muslims will be expelled.
- Restoration of educational standards, with an emphasis on the educational value of the family.
Although the PVV will garner a large percentage of the vote in the spring election, the reluctance of other parties to form a coalition government with the PVV indicates that it will have a difficult time becoming the leader of Dutch Parliament, which would keep Wilders from becoming Prime Minister. However, Wilders was in the US for the Republican Convention where he told an American audience that the PVV continues to gain ground; it has been “the number one party in the opinion polls” for the past year.
“An opinion poll published early July showed that if general elections were held today, the PVV would become the country’s biggest party with 35 seats in the 150-seat parliament. It currently has 15 seats.