A weak economy may enhance the chances of the far right in the European elections

The decline in inflation allows one to expect an improvement in conditions after more than a year of zero growth. However, it is expected that the economic improvement will be recorded after the summer, that is, after a later date European elections Scheduled from June 6 to June 9.

Thierry Chopin, a political expert at the Jacques Delors Institute, explained to Agence France-Presse: “There is a connection between the emergence of populist forces and economic and financial crises,” adding that “the radical right today greatly exploits the feeling of declining financial conditions and very strong pessimism” among the population.

The war in Ukraine hit the EU economy to the core as it was recovering from the Covid crisis. High gas and electricity prices have hit families and weakened large parts of the industrial sector, such as chemistry and mining.

75 percent of Europeans believe that their standard of living will decline during the current year, and approximately 50 percent of them believe that it has actually declined, according to the results of an opinion poll conducted by the Eurobarometer Institute and published in December. 37 percent of respondents consider that they face difficulties in paying bills.

There are many factories closing in the automobile production sector, especially in Germany. Between November and January, Bosch Automotive Equipment announced the cancellation of 2,700 jobs, while ZF confirmed the closure of a site employing 700 people, and Continental confirmed the cancellation of thousands of administrative jobs.

Charlotte de Montpellier, an economist at ING Bank, stresses that “German industry has been greatly affected by high energy prices and is suffering from the electric transition in the automotive industry. At the present time we do not see many orders.”

Germany is in recession

The difficulties of the largest European economy, which has been in recession since last year, affect the entire continent.

Consumption remains weak due to the significant rise in prices and the high interest rates it imposes European Central Bank It reduces investments and leads to the faltering of the real estate sector, while preventing international trade, which is suffering from the slowdown recorded in ChinaBy compensating for weak internal demand.

Jack Allen-Reynolds of Capital Economics said: “The stagnation in the euro zone economy will continue in the first quarter because the effects of monetary tightening continue and budget austerity increases.”

The necessity of eliminating budget deficits imposed by European rules restricts the countries' margin of action. In February, France re-imposed a fee on electricity, which led to prices rising by nearly 10 percent.

European environmentalist Philippe Lambert expresses his concern, saying, “Austerity may push an increasing portion of our citizens into the arms of the extreme right because they believe that the authorities are neglecting them.”

Far-right pressures

Four months before the European elections, several opinion polls show a significant improvement in the “Identity and Democracy” group, which includes the French National Rally led by Marine Le Pen, the Belgian Vlaams Belang, the German “Alternative for Germany” and the Austrian Freedom Party.

This group may become the third bloc in the European Parliament, surpassing the liberals in the “Renew” group, which records very close results with the European conservatives and reformists, who are another group from the radical right, which is recording progress with the “Brothers of Italy” led by Giorgia Meloni, the Polish Law and Justice Party, and the Spanish Vox.

Thierry Chopin expects that the “grand coalition” composed of conservatives, social democrats and Renault “will retain the majority, but it will be weaker.” It may decline from 60 percent of the seats to 54 percent in the next parliament, according to a study by the European Council on Foreign Relations research center.

The radical right is putting pressure on European institutions by supporting the farmers' movement, among other things. If his position is strengthened as a result of the upcoming elections, he may tighten his approach to immigration policy and obstruct the adoption of many texts, especially environmental legislation.

It will also try to reverse the trend of greater integration in the European Union in recent years.

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