Greek elections are also scheduled for Sunday, with the center-left Pasok Party and center-right New Democracy having lost half of their support since 2009.
Ireland votes May 31 on the eurozone fiscal pact that calls for austerity among Europe’s most indebted nations. Polls are predicting a yes vote. But Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams has ridden a rising tide against the pact to make his party the second-most-popular in Ireland.
“The rise in political extremism in Europe,” writes Financial Times columnist Wolfgang Munchau, “is in part the consequence of stubbornness and stupidity among centrist elites.”
Where is Europe going?
Larry Summers is probably right, “Again Europe and the global economy approach the brink.”
With the demonstrations, riots, and governments falling like dominoes, Europe’s ruling elites are losing the confidence of the people and its ruling parties are bleeding support to the more militant left and right.
What does this portend for Europe?
Probably an easing up of austerity—of the tax hikes and budget cuts for payrolls, pensions and health care—demanded by Germany’s Angela Merkel and her fiscally hawkish allies. And it probably means an effort to stimulate the dormant economies of Europe without sending buyers of Europe’s bonds fleeing for the exits out of fear of inflation or default.
But the vision of One Europe that dates back to the 1950s and Jean Monnet seems to belong to yesterday.
Transnationalism, the idea of sacrificing the national interest for the greater good of Europe, is dying. Not one of the four leading French parties in the first round of voting was making the case for Europe.
Second, the idea of a multicultural Europe open to immigration from beyond its borders seems to be dead.
Third, the ideology of Occupy Wall Street has crossed the pond.
The senior Catholic cardinal in Britain is demanding that Cameron accept a “Robin Hood tax” on large financial transactions to make “banks and large financial institutions pay their fair share,” with the tax money going to the poor.
The One Percenters are in the gun sights everywhere. Rarely was Yeats’ couplet more apposite.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
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