EU readies for key elections with far right forecast to surge

EU voters go to the polls in a week's time, with far-right, nationalist parties expected to do well in the bloc's next parliament in a time of social and geopolitical uncertainty.

The outcome of the June 6-9 elections will help determine the make-up of the next European Commission, whose chief Ursula von der Leyen is hoping to earn a second term.

At stake is the posture the European Union will assume over the coming five years, globally in partnership with key Western ally the United States – which has its own electoral choice to make in November, between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

EU voters, according to surveys, are weighing up issues such as the war in Ukraine, economic prospects, trade protectionism including in the United States, the risk of AI to jobs, migration, and climate change.

But with nearly seven out of 10 Europeans seeing the EU as "a place of stability in a troubled world", according to a Eurobarometer poll, there is little appetite for Brexit-like moves in member states.

Instead, far-right candidates are appealing to voters on nationalistic – often ethno-nationalistic – manifestos while pledging to stay in the European Union albeit with a marked Eurosceptic stance.

They vow to champion cultural and economic preferences, tighten border controls, and have decision-making become more bilateral rather than Brussels-based.

Overall, however, Europe's political centre is expected to hold.

(AFP)


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