Media Coverage

CGTN|EU vote signals a demand for a redefined European landscape

Jun 10, 2024

Voters stand in a booth and pick their ballots for the European Parliament elections at a polling station in Madrid, Spain, June 9, 2024. /CFP



By David Gosset


Editor's note: David Gosset, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, is the founder of the China-Europe-America Global Initiative. He is the editor of China and the World in three volumes, and the creator of the Inspiring Series, a collection of books that aims to introduce China to the world. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.



What transpires on the European continent carries global ramifications. Despite the critiques of globalization, we inhabit a world of interconnectedness where events in one region ripple across others. From June 6 to 9, EU citizens were summoned to vote for 720 members of the upcoming European Parliament. The selection of the new president of the European Commission will take place in the autumn, determined by the newly elected parliament.


Recent EU member voting patterns reveal a persistent surge in far-right party support, indicative of a broader trend. However, it's crucial to note that these parties no longer advocate for EU dissolution or other "exits." Rather, they seek a recalibration between supranational and national sovereignties. Thus, the EU vote signals not anti-European sentiment but a demand for a redefined European landscape.


The situation in Italy is emblematic. Giorgia Meloni, serving as the prime minister of Italy since October 2022, has transitioned from employing an anti-European rhetoric to adopting a much more conciliatory stance. Consequently, she now holds a significant position that enables her to play a crucial role in the upcoming election of a new EU Commission in the autumn.


Some analysts have aptly pointed out that Giorgia Meloni has now emerged as a central force in Europe, one that will not only exert influence on the parliament but also the future Commission of the EU. Her party, Fratelli d'Italia, secured victory in the European elections in her country, granting her not only legitimacy in Rome but also significant sway for her ideas in Brussels. This situation may confirm a broader principle: Italy often serves as the stage where emerging ideas or phenomena come to light before being adopted by others. Figures like Berlusconi, for instance, foreshadowed the spectacular populism later embodied by Trump.



A voter holds an identification document and electoral card before voting in the European Parliament election at a polling station in France's Pacific territory of New Caledonia, June 9, 2024. /CFP



Of particular interest is France, where Emmanuel Macron's party suffered a historic defeat prompting him to call for parliamentary elections. The prospect of a far-right prime minister on July 7 looms, introducing short-term uncertainties weakening not only France but also the EU as a whole. There are multiple reasons for Macron's defeat, but only time will reveal if his recent declaration, stating that he would not rule out sending French troops to Ukraine, influenced the decision of the French population.


The uncertainty surrounding the short-term future of Western Europe will undoubtedly be closely observed in other major capitals. Looking towards a longer-term strategic perspective, it emphasizes the necessity for the emergence of new European leadership capable of navigating the complexities inherent in an ancient continent comprising diverse nations. This leadership must not only strive to preserve peace among these nations but also to ensure the region's relevance in a world dominated by global powers.


Beyond Europe, other global regions should recognize the critical importance of the EU's success, primarily because European integration is fundamentally a project for peace. Moreover, the EU serves as a stronghold of multilateralism, which is indispensable for nurturing global harmony and prosperity. In today's world, where challenges are increasingly global in nature, there is a pressing need for champions to vigorously defend the principles of multilateralism.



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