European Union

E.U. Election Results: A Handy Guide to Europe's Political Factions

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||| fdecomite / Flickr

For those of us who are more used to two-party democracy, last week's elections to the European Parliament could easily be a source of confusion. By my estimate, the European Parliament's 751 seats will soon be divided between representatives of 198 different national parties, themselves organized into seven (or possibly eight) official groups—with each of those representing a political faction that draws support from at least 25 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who must, between them, represent no fewer than seven of the E.U.'s 28 member states. Got it?

If you want to know more, read on for a guide to Europe's main political factions, how they did in last week's elections, and what it means for the future of the European Union.

The Center

A majority of seats (62 percent) went to representatives of Europe's three main groups: the European People's Party (EPP), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D). Collectively, these groups represent the pro-E.U. mainstream, and include the main national parties from most E.U. member states. Nonetheless, each of these groups represents a distinct European political tradition.

The EPP are best described as Christian democrats. They are on the center-right of politics, being relatively pro-market and fiscally conservative in European terms, but nevertheless committed to a comprehensive welfare state and a regulated, mixed economy. They are moderately traditionalist, but not in an outspoken way—they have very little in common with America's religious right, for example. After last week's elections, the EPP remain the largest group in the European Parliament with 28 percent of its seats, but that is down from 36 percent last time. France's center-right opposition party, the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), lost half its seats in the European Parliament; the main center-right parties in Italy and Spain lost almost one-third of theirs.

ALDE are Europe's liberal centrists. The group contains both classical liberals and moderate social democrats; they generally favor trade, competition, and individual freedom—but not to the extent that you would call them libertarians. Moreover, two of the group's largest national parties—Germany's Free Democrats and Britain's Liberal Democrats—suffered heavy losses in last week's elections, and that looks set to further diminish the influence of classical liberalism within the group. Expect this bloc, which holds 9 percent of seats in the European Parliament (down from 11 percent last time), to trend in a more interventionist direction in future.

S&D, meanwhile, are typically referred to as socialists, a term that doesn't carry the same stigma in continental Europe as it does in the U.S. But while some of S&D's constituent national parties are eager to embrace socialism (here's looking at you, Ed Milliband), others (like Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party in Italy) are much more reformist, pursuing tax cuts, privatization, and market liberalization. What's more, many S&D members accept the E.U.'s strict limits on public debt and deficits. S&D, then, are perhaps better described as a broad, social democratic coalition—they are certainly committed to social justice and the welfare state, but they are not everywhere and always opposed to fiscal consolidation, business, and markets. They have 25 percent of seats in the new parliament, down 1 percent from 2009.

The Left

Another reason to hold off on calling S&D socialist is that a genuinely anti-capitalist group—European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)—won 6 percent of seats in the European Parliament, up 1 percent from 2009. The biggest news here was in Greece, where the radical left-wing parties (Syriza and the Communist Party) doubled their share of the vote, from 16 percent in 2009 to 33 percent in 2014—a sign of the deep unpopularity of the "austerity" policies that were imposed on Greece as a condition of its repeated E.U./IMF bailouts. With Syriza's leader, Alex Tsipras, now demanding an early general election in Greece, there may soon be renewed concern about the stability and integrity of the eurozone.

The Greens/European Free Alliance also lean left, albeit not quite so radically as GUE/NGL. This group, which consists of environmentalists and progressive parties representing "stateless nations and disadvantaged minorities," maintained its 7 percent share of seats in the European Parliament.

The Right

Perhaps the most interesting news to come from last week's elections, however, is the rise of the euroskeptic right, who oppose the doctrine of "ever-closer union" in Europe, and in some cases want their countries to leave the European Union altogether. But this is a very long way from being a homogeneous political bloc. Indeed, it may yet result in three formal parliamentary groups, and still leave several nationalist parties out in the cold.

At the respectable end of the spectrum are the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), a group dominated by the U.K.'s ruling Conservative Party and Poland's Law and Justice (PiS). As things stand, the group looks set to have 6 percent of seats in the European Parliament after last week's vote, down 1 percent from 2009. However, the alliances among euroskeptic parties are currently in flux, so the group could easily end up bigger than that. This group is united by its desire to make the European Union more open, decentralized, and free market. But beyond that, there are some differences of opinion. The U.K. Conservatives are relatively liberal on social issues, but also favor stricter immigration controls; PiS is more socially conservative, but also opposes restrictions on the free movement of people within the E.U.

The next euroskeptic group is Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD), which currently appears to have increased its share of parliamentary seats from 4 to 5 percent. This group is dominated by the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), which topped the U.K. poll with 27 percent of the national vote. UKIP seeks Britain's withdrawal from the E.U. and favors very strict immigration control, but it also has a number of free market policies and sometimes describes itself as libertarian. (I'm not convinced that it deserves the label.)

Interestingly, it is possible that UKIP will be joined in EFD by Poland's Congress of the New Right, which advocates a minimalist, nightwatchman state. The party won four seats in the European Parliament with 7 percent of the Polish national vote. It also "gained 28.5 percent of votes among 18- to 25-year-olds—more than any other party," according to The Guardian. It is unfortunate, then, that the party's leader, Janusz Korwin-Mikke—described by some as a Polish Ron Paul—is said to favor monarchy over democracy, oppose the right of women to vote, and has been quoted heaping scorn on the Paralympics, as well as questioning whether Hitler knew about the Holocaust. Libertarians would be well advised to contain their excitement.

Another problem for UKIP is that its Italian ally, the Northern League, plans to defect to the far-right European Alliance for Freedom (more on that in a moment). Meanwhile, its Nordic allies—the Finns and the Danish People's Party—might be off to join ECR. This could leave UKIP unable to gather representatives from seven different E.U. member states, and therefore prevent them from forming an official parliamentary group. (Official status is important because it comes with central funding, which pays for the groups' staff, facilities, and research.) It would be a cruel irony if UKIP's electoral success were to translate into parliamentary isolation, but it remains, for now, a possibility—to his credit, UKIP leader Nigel Farage has ruled out an alliance with several parties that are widely viewed as xenophobic and nativist.

Speaking of which, Marine Le Pen's National Front came out on top of the French poll, with 25 percent of the votes cast. She will now seek to win official status for her European Alliance for Freedom group. The National Front have 24 seats, and were previously in a parliamentary alliance with Austria's Freedom Party (four seats) and Belgium's Flemish Interest (one seat). The Dutch Party for Freedom won four seats (a surprisingly lackluster performance), and its leader, Geert Wilders, has said they will join Le Pen's alliance. Italy's Northern League (five seats) plans to sign up as well. Throw in the Sweden Democrats (two seats) and the European Alliance for Freedom has 40 seats in parliament (5 percent of the total) but still needs to find an MEP from a seventh country before it wins official status.

Taken as a group (there is some variation between the individual parties involved), this bloc can be expected to espouse a robust, nationalist ideology that is culturally conservative and authoritarian, opposed to immigration, concerned about Islamification, and skeptical of the benefits of global trade. Unlike UKIP, they have no particular affection for free market economics, and their chosen name (European Alliance for Freedom) will strike many as a misnomer. The previous nationalist group, which collapsed when its Romanian and Italian members fell out with one another, was at least more honest: it called itself "Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty."

Despite this, there are three nationalist parties that won seats in last week's elections, but with whom the European Alliance for Freedom will probably not wish to be associated. These are Hungary's Jobbik (three seats), Greece's Golden Dawn (three seats), and Germany's National Democrats (one seat). Though they all reject the neo-Nazi label that is usually applied to them, there are too many telltale signs of racism, anti-Semitism, and fascism for other parties to tolerate. As a result, Jobbick, Golden Dawn, and the National Democrats are likely to remain isolated.

Implications

Most coverage of the European election results—this article included—has focused on the rise of radical, populist parties. This is certainly significant. But the near-term effects of these elections will mostly be felt at the domestic, rather than the European level.

In Britain, UKIP's popularity may—if it endures—sway the course of 2015 general election, making the opposition Labour Party more likely to win by depriving the Conservatives of crucial marginal seats. It could make Scotland, which is relatively pro-E.U., more likely to vote for independence from the rest of the U.K. in September this year. And it could make other European leaders more willing to help UK Prime Minister David Cameron in his efforts to reform the E.U., and thus avoid a British vote for withdrawal in the referendum that is tentatively scheduled for 2017.

In Italy, the strong showing for the ruling Democratic Party is good news for Matteo Renzi's plans to liberalize, privatize, and reform his way to faster economic growth and a more sustainable debt burden in Europe's fifth-largest economy. The country's traditional center-right groups face a challenge to redefine themselves in a (possibly) post-Silvio Berlusconi era, after losing out again to the Five Star Movement's amorphous protest vote. France's UMP faces a similar future: how do they ensure that they are the ones to benefit politically from the failure of President Francois Hollande's failed socialist agenda, rather than the reactionary National Front?

Yet it may well be Greece where the impact of these elections is most keenly felt. The electoral success of parties on both the radical-left and the far-right suggests there may be trouble ahead for the Greek economy, Greek society, and perhaps the eurozone as a whole.

Back in Brussels and Strasbourg (the two homes of the European Parliament) the three traditional parties—EPP, ALDE, P&S—are likely to function as a grand coalition, ensuring the continued dominance of pro-E.U., "ever-closer-union" policies. Although the election results may have some immediate and unwelcome impact on policy—the Financial Times notes, for example, that the loss of several liberals from key committees may lead to more heavy-handed financial regulation—chances are that business will continue very much as usual.

This, in itself, is a shame: While there is no need for E.U. politicians to react to the rise of far-right and radical-left parties by copying their policies, there are lessons they should learn. They ought to be more respectful of the principle of subsidiarity, and decline to legislate and regulate things that are better left to national or local governments. They should realize that the E.U. is not meant to be a superstate, and accept that its direction should be dictated by representatives of national governments, rather than E.U. functionaries. Most important of all, they should realize that much more radical action is needed to boost economic growth in the eurozone, and to prevent it sliding into a Japanese-style "lost decade." That means taking measures to liberalize the E.U.'s internal market, reduce the deadweight costs of E.U. regulation, and pursue genuine free trade deals with the rest of the world, while also supporting efforts reduce corruption, redesign tax codes, and reform outdated and costly public services in E.U. member states.

In a context of decentralization and renewed economic growth, far-right and radical-left ideas would likely fade from view as quickly as they've appeared in this round of European elections. But if power continues to accrue to distant elites, and eurozone economies continue to fester, these ideologies will continue to attract European voters.

NEXT: Sriracha Triumphs Over Government Meddling

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  1. Great quote I read on the internets the other day:

    “The dark night of Fascism is always descending on America, but it only ever lands in Europe”

    1. Tom Wolfe

  2. It is unfortunate, then, that the party’s leader, Janusz Korwin-Mikke?described by some as a Polish Ron Paul?is said to favor monarchy over democracy, oppose the right of women to vote, and has been quoted heaping scorn on the Paralympics, as well as questioning whether Hitler knew about the Holocaust. Libertarians would be well advised to contain their excitement.

    Heh-heh. A paleo.

    1. described by some as a Polish Ron Paul

      Ahh journalism. “Some have said”

      Who are the ‘some’? Could they be…*tap*tap*tap*tap* other hostile journalists?

      Hmmm?

      1. ALDE are Europe’s liberal centrists. The group contains both classical liberals and moderate social democrats; they generally favor trade, competition, and individual freedom?but not to the extent that you would call them libertarians.

        Probably the most rational group. Nevertheless, this article is the best I have seen to unravel the tangle of Europolitics.

        1. Negative 1% GDP growth shrike.

          How is that quantitative easing going buddy?

          You know who else opposed central banks?

          RP?

          1. What’s a growth shrike?

            1. A nasty result of prolonged buttplug abuse.

            2. Buttplug is the artist formally known as Shrike.

              1. And he is Weigel. Weigel is as Weigel does.

    2. We should stick to supporting only those who actively aided the Holocaust, like Soros.

      1. You Soros haters crack me up. You hate him because he actively opposed fascism in the USA. Soros is a great friend of libertarians.

        1. I love Soros almost as much as one of your famous meltdowns, Shrieky.

        2. “Soros is a great friend of libertarians.”

          A contender almost equal to commie-kid claiming Gavin Newsom is a libertarian.
          I don’t know what’s in the water where you live, shreek, but stock up on the bottled stuff.

            1. Cato thinks that world class sleazeball Vaclav Klaus is a libertarian wet dream, so they aren’t always the most reliable source.

              1. Shrike is referring to a Soros talk at CATO that reason put up a year ago or so.

                In that video the CATO fellow economist attacked Soros.

                Shrike is exaggerating a bit.

                1. Shrieky feels the p value for the truth should not exceed 8%.

                2. WASHINGTON ? George Soros ? the money manager and financier of left-wing causes ? turns out to be a fan of Friedrich Hayek, the Austrian economist whose Road to Serfdom, warning of the perils of central planning, has been a bestseller amid President Obama’s expansion of government.

                  That was the message from Mr. Soros’s remarks here this afternoon at a Cato Institute forum.

                  Mr. Soros described his own views, emphasizing “fallibility” and “reflexivity,” as “in accordance with Hayek’s ideas.” He said that in the late 1940s, as a student at the London School of Economics, he had come out “on Hayek’s side” against socialism, “scientism,” and central planning.

                  Mr. Soros said he’d been “influenced” by Hayek. “He has had a big influence on my thinking,” Mr. Soros said, going on to describe government regulation as “a necessary evil.”

                  “If you can avoid the regulation, you should,” Mr. Soros said, explaining that regulation tended to be bureaucratic, arbitrary, and influenced by special interests, and therefore more imperfect than markets.

                  http://www.futureofcapitalism……-hayek-fan

                  1. And Soros-friend Hitler described himself as a socialist. Actions speak louder than words, Shrieky.

                    1. OK, so actions speak louder than words; what actions has Soros taken that you’re basing a negative judgment on? AFAICT, his actions have mostly been better than his words.

              2. It’s the problem with publicly supporting someone or something in good faith & for good reason: As further evidence comes in to show your choice wasn’t so good after all, there’s a tendency to keep up the support in bad faith to avoid admitting your judgment was incorrect.

                1. D’oh! The thread depth limit obscures that I meant that good-faith-to-bad switch remark about CATO w.r.t. Klaus.

                  1. I’m not sure what you mean about Klaus, the evidence for his sleaziness comes from when he was PM, it was plain to anyone who bothered to do more than just listen to his empty rhetoric.

                    1. But they liked him before that, when he was finance min.

                    2. And Reason people liked Klaus before he was PM too, but you didn’t see them carrying on for long after he became PM.

                    3. The Team Red faithful hate Soros because he campaigned against Bush, Robert.

                      The rest is just irrelevant nonsense.

                    4. Shrike can’t you even bring yourself to say that Soros funded pot legalization campaigns.

                      Jesus fucking Christ the one thing that Soros actually did that was libertarian and it flies over Shrike’s head.

                      Note: campaigning against Bush does not make you a libertarian….Lots of full blown tyrants and communists have opposed Bush. Are we to call Hugo Chaves and the Mulas in Iran libertarian now? If I criticize Chaves or Iran’s government does that make me a christfag Bush defender?

                    5. The campaigns involve legislation to highly tax and regulate pot. Folks that want to grow and smoke without government involvement aren’t too keen on this since the impetus behind it wasn’t freedom but control and tax revenue (which is another form of control).

        3. Soros has done much more to advance liberty than retard it.

          1. Soros has done much more to advance liberty than retard it.

            Found out a few days ago that Marx was a big fan of Central banks.

            Anyway Soros has been good on fighting the war on drugs. Good for him.

            He has also been horrible on supporting tyrants like Obama and other dems.

            Not so good for him.

            1. He helped bring down the Iron Curtain. Less prominently than the drug issues, the Open Society Inst. he founded was also looking at sex issues like prostitution. He’s been good on int’l trade & migration too. He’s actually worked for freer speech in parts of the world where they really need it. He’s good on many more business issues than he’s bad on. Yet somehow the ones he’s bad on seem to get the publicity.

        4. he actively opposed fascism in the USA.

          You mean he is against Progressivism?

          1. Fancy that?

    3. I think it’s always funny when socialists hold up Europeans as reasonable socialists that we should all be like, as opposed to silly Americans and their silly politics. As if:

      1. Europe doesn’t have it’s share of racist, sexist basket cases.
      2. Europe spent the first half of the 20th century embroiling the entire world in armed conflict, featuring not just millions dead and war crimes, but atrocious crimes against humanity.
      3. Spent the first half of the 20th century both implementing marxist/leninist socialism in the east, proving how much of a horrible system that is, and scaring the living shit out of everyone else in the process.
      4. Blame it all on Hitler, as if being antisemitic and violent was all his idea.
      5. This all happened within living memory.

      But hey: they were just working the kinks out. Now, they have great pensions, health care, and unemployment benefits. So, go, Europeans! Oh, how wonderful and better they are, really.

      1. In regard to your first point:

        I am a soccer fan and like any real soccer fan my interest in the sport is resting squarely in Europe as they have NBA teams of the soccer world in their countries.

        That being said from watching European soccer I have come to my own conclusion that Europeans are way more racist then America and therefore have plenty more than their fair share of racists. They throw bananas at the black players and make gorilla noises whenever they touch the ball. Also recently they have had to start kicking out Nazi/White Supremecy groups from stadiums. Even some teams have just walk off the field mid game in protest.

        So I will laugh in the face of any American progressive that tells me how much more sophisticated the European’s are than us.

        1. But..but..they aren’t *real* Europeans.

      2. You forget that in the last part of the 20th century they did a great job shepherding the peaceful and war crimeless breakup of Yugoslavia. Oh. Wait.

  3. the party’s leader, Janusz Korwin-Mikke?described by some as a Polish Ron Paul?is said to favor monarchy over democracy, oppose the right of women to vote, and has been quoted heaping scorn on the Paralympics, as well as questioning whether Hitler knew about the Holocaust

    Jeffrey A. Tucker can ghostwrite in Polish?

    1. They all have bills to pay. In Poland, you do it by writing about freemasonry and the Jewish conspiracy.

  4. Very nice article Tom. Quite helpful for those of us who don’t pay much attention to the shifting alliances. Could you, or perhaps the editors more generally, present the UKIP’s stances in terms of closer to US Democrat, closer to US Republican, closer to US LP? I’d like to be presented with some information about how a party garnering 27% of the vote in the UK stacks up against people who actually get elected in the US. I understand the need to be careful to not be presented as supporting anti-Semites and xenophobes, yet agree with others’ criticisms that it always sounds like no true Scotsman argumentation.

    1. I follow UKIP and Farage pretty closely and I would say that “British Tea Party” is not too far from the truth. Nigel and his impressive deputies all sound like classical liberals and free marketeers when they talk economics and self-government. They do go a wee bit off the rails on immigration, but given the ridiculous reality that says Britain has zero influence or control of their borders as a feature not a bug of EU membership, and also that the UK is a different animal size/population-wise than the US, I choose to give UKIP a pass on their immigration stance.

      What excites me most about UKIP is their dogged optimism in the face of relentless smears and their clear-eyed focus on the moral, economic and social imperative to get the hell out of political union with that raff of communists and idiots in Brussels.

  5. The German FDP was pretty much replaced by the Alternative for Germany party — and that’s a good thing.

    1. I was slightly surprised that the article didn’t address the AfD, and where they might end up.

      Short version: Their politics are very close to the British Tories, with whom they’d really like to hang out. However, Cameron is being strongly, strongly pressured by Merkel not to do so, since she doesn’t want the AfD to get legitimacy, and wants to put them in the UKIP box. They don’t want to join the UKIP group.

  6. As a non-European (Thank God)my sympathies lie with those Europeans who wish to withdraw, or better yet destroy the EU rather than those who seek to “reform” the central planning.

    1. As an American expat living in Europe, I bet my daily life suffers less fascism than your own.

      1. My daily commute between NY and NJ passes by stormtroopers hovering everywhere and occasionally pawing through my belongings – so yeah I can see where you’re coming from.

      2. I got pulled over a few weeks ago for going 68 in a 45. I informed the officer I was a CCW holder, was currently carrying and if he wanted any special precautions. I ended up with just a verbal warning.

  7. Good piece. But this bothers me:

    ” The electoral success of parties on both the radical-left and the far-right…”

    Remind me again which party in Greece is “far right.” You got Syriza and Communists, and you got Golden Dawn. I see zero free market advocacy or suspicion of state power in any of these. Neo nazi parties like Golden Dawn are OF THE LEFT. Why must we play into the hands of the Dezinformatsia? Let’s demand truth in labeling: there is nothing remotely “right,” to say nothing of “far right,” about Front National, Golden Dawn, Jobbik or any of the other fans of fascism.

    Where would the left be without constant manipulation and bastardization of language. I think it was Bakhtin who said “words carry with them the places they have been,” which in the case of the left means words travel through intricate bureaucratic ministries of truth before they are permitted for use in the general lexicon.

    1. You need a college freshman Ploy Sci course.

      1. So he needs a Marxist professor to tell him what fascism is?

        One would think a leftist would try and hide fascisms socialist origins….kind of like what you are doing this whole thread Mr. “true libertarian” Shrike.

        1. Yep Mussolini cried out that Socialism was great just before he died. Socialism, Fascism, and Progressivism in the same happy authoritarian family.

          Even the founding US Progs in Wisconsin were in love with early Italian Fascism. They liked eugenics and racism as well. Nice group.

          1. Mussolini called a fascism a government of the right.

            Later the Italian Fascists described fascism as a right-wing ideology in the political program The Doctrine of Fascism, stating: “We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the ‘right,’ a fascist century.”[48][49] Mussolini stated that fascism’s position on the political spectrum was not a serious issue to fascists: “Fascism, sitting on the right, could also have sat on the mountain of the center … These words in any case do not have a fixed and unchanged meaning: they do have a variable subject to location, time and spirit. We don’t give a damn about these empty terminologies and we despise those who are terrorized by these words.”[50]

            Wikipedia with sources

            1. “Everything in the state, nothing outside the state”

              “Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State ? Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual; Fascism reaffirms the State as the true reality of the individual.”

              “Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived in their relation to the State.”

              “Fascism recognises the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade-unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which diverent interests are coordinated and harmonised in the unity of the State.”

              Il Duce was a socialist before he refined his theories of government. As an aside, his views are not right wing.

      1. try again, pretty sure you meant Poli Sci

  8. How does the political center become so fragmented? I understand how, worldwide and within individual countries, the far “left” becomes fragmented, as we’ve see so often and as satirized in The Life of Brian, and although I haven’t seen it, I could understand how the far “right” or the far anything could fragment as well. What I don’t understand is how the center, composed of people whose views on issues are moderate, could fail to form and retain a much smaller number of lasting unified organiz’ns. I mean, who gets so het up as to say, “We can’t currently compromise with those who want a 26% tax or those who want a 20% tax; we say 23% and insist they move at least 2% in our direction while we move no more than 1% in theirs.”?

    I’d also like to see how USAn politics is explained to Europeans. However, I would bet they have a lot easier time than vice versa.

  9. “They should realize that the E.U. is not meant to be a superstate, and accept that its direction should be dictated by representatives of national governments, rather than E.U. functionaries. ”

    Yeah, EU functionaries are really likely to get on board with reducing their power. Because that’s what apparatchiks always do.

  10. EU politics- Pick your favorite flavor of statist socialist

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  12. From a European reader:

    I think we European citizens have spoken loud and clear. It’s now up to Brussels and pro-EU parties to pay attention to the wake-up call. If they ignore it, the results may be catastrophic.

    Of course the anti-EU sentiment is not the only reason for the electoral results, but it’s certainly one of the reasons. The question, for us who still believe in some sort of “Europe” (and yes, I am one), is which aspects of the current European Union are rejected by more and more people, and how to re-engineer the European Union.

    I haven’t voted because there is no party for which I wanted to vote. I am for local autonomy and self-determination but against racism and xenophobia, for the civil rights of everyone but against political correctness, for equal opportunity but against affirmative action, persuaded of the high importance of some specific issues but skeptical of single-issue parties, etc. etc.

    re “There are lessons they should learn. They ought to be more respectful of the principle of subsidiarity, and decline to legislate and regulate things that are better left to national or local governments. They should realize that the E.U. is not meant to be a superstate, and accept that its direction should be dictated by representatives of national governments, rather than E.U. functionaries.”

    Totally agree.

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