Europe's "Trump moment"? This weekend's EU elections could see a surge for the conservatives

Europe's “Trump moment”? This weekend's EU elections could see a surge for the conservatives

There are many dissatisfied people in Europe who could take out their anger on the bureaucrats in Brussels this weekend.

In the vote, which began on Thursday and ends on Sunday, voters in the 27 EU countries will elect a total of 720 members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

The news website Politico called this “Europe’s Trump moment.”

One Dutch voter said: “People are fed up with the current system, so things need to change.”

The elites of the European Union are nervous – and for good reason.

Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt said: “I think it will be an existential struggle, an existential struggle against those who want less Europe. They (the right) are a recipe for a weak Europe. And a weak Europe will be destroyed.”

The European Parliament elections are seen as a referendum on the EU and national governments, and growing discontent within the European Union is prompting more and more citizens to vote for change.

Right-wing parties are already in power or supporting governments in seven of the 27 EU countries. But in almost all European countries they have now become a political force.

In the Netherlands, anti-immigration activist Geert Wilders is also close to taking over the government, and in France, Marine Le Pen's Rassemblement National is expected to win the most votes of all French parties in this election.

A key reason for the rise of the right is that Europeans have become poorer. A study by the European Center for International Political Economy found that the average EU country is now poorer per capita than all US states except Idaho and Mississippi.

Critics blame overregulation, high taxes, falling wages and higher energy costs, largely due to the EU's Green Deal and net-zero policies. While Brussels worries about the “end of the world,” many Europeans are simply trying to make it through to the end of the month on their paychecks.

According to a European Union Eurobarometer survey conducted in April, “poverty” was the main concern in this election.

In Germany, Holger Thuss, president of the European Institute for Climate and Energy, told us that the shift to the right among some Germans was “pure desperation. Everything has become so expensive. People want change. And they want to feel it, they want to see it in their wallets.”

The right in Europe is regularly referred to as the “hard right,” the “radical right,” and even “Nazi” and “fascist.” In most cases, however, their political positions are more similar to those of the center-right, such as the Republican Party in America. They want to curb the Green Deal and the regulations that are making Europe poorer, and build stronger borders to stop what they see as a migrant invasion.

In many European countries there is an acute housing shortage, while housing is provided to migrants.

Dutchman Henk Tapper said: “There are houses for foreigners, and Dutch people can hardly get a house.”

“We have a housing crisis in the Netherlands,” says Dutch journalist Chris Aalberts. “It was already difficult to find an affordable house in Amsterdam. But now it's impossible to find an affordable house even in cities that no one in America has probably heard of.”

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Frank Furedi, the executive director of the think tank MCC Brussels, is considered by many to be one of the most important intellectual forces on the European right. He hopes that this election will put a stop to what he sees as harmful Brussels policies.

He said they were “policies that have to do with promoting mass migration, with the green agenda, with net zero policies, which are very damaging to people's lives and to the economy, and possibly even with promoting gender policies. Gender ideology could also be curbed. All in all, I think the prognosis is positive, but there will not be as radical a transformation as many people hope. You have to remember that the European Union is a very undemocratic institution. And it is a massive bureaucracy. So my fear is that this massive bureaucracy will still be there the day after the election,” Furedi said.

Some are convinced that even if the right does not perform as well as expected, it will still be good enough to bring about some fundamental political change.


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