Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist

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Commentary

EU elections deliver major gains for the far right

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Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist

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Far-right parties made major gains in the European Union’s recent parliamentary elections, alarming some observers. Others have dismissed that alarm, arguing that EU voters often cast their ballots purely as symbolic expressions of support or dissent, given the limited power that the EU actually has over its sovereign members. Adding to this debate, French President Emmanuel Macron is now calling for unexpected snap elections to determine which party truly has the support and consent of the governed.

Watch the above video as Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan breaks down the election results and offers his explanation for what’s actually happening in the European Union.


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The following is an edited excerpt of Peter’s June 13 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

The recent European elections yielded some significant gains for hard-right parties in a number of countries. Today, we’ll be focusing on Germany, Italy and France, and whether these shifts are game-changers or more political minutia.

The weak coalition government under Chancellor Scholz has greatly diminished Germany’s leadership role in Europe. The Italian right-wing leader, Giorgia Meloni, solidified her position at the table in the recent elections. France is the one we all need to pay attention to.

President Macron’s party underperformed at the polls, which led him to call snap elections. Macron is gambling that the far-right movement will fall flat on its face when a bit of pressure is applied … but if he’s wrong and the snap elections go the other way, France might be getting some updates to their government.

So keep an eye on the French, but let’s not get too worried just yet. There’s a slew of levels to this, and altering the power dynamics of Europe will take more than French snap elections.

Hey everybody, Peter Zeihan here coming to you from Florida. Sorry, no beach scene today, I’m kind of in a bit of a hurry. But a lot of people have written in expressing an interest in what’s going on in European elections and see if that happens. So I figured I would cover a little bit of that today. The short version is that we’ve got this thing called the European Parliament, which technically is the legislative arm of the European Union. And they have elections every few years. They just completed them. And in Italy, Germany and France, the hard right, racked up significant gains significantly higher in France in Germany than the ruling party did. And so the question, of course, is this a game changer? Let’s start with the Germans. The German government under Scholtz is a three party coalition that is very weak, because the three parties agree on very little. So whenever something happens in Europe, the three parties have to get together and have a coalition meeting to clamor out a common position before they start bringing in discussions with other countries. So it’s a long, laborious process, it’s really tedious. And because the coalition is so weak, and because the Chancellor of Germany Olek Schultz, is a weak leader. Germany has basically vanished for being a significant player in most European Affairs, or at least not not very much of a leader like it used to be. In the case of Italy. You’ve got a government led by Maloney, who actually is of the hard right if you want to use a term that some people find it a little bit weird. And so when her party did well, everyone’s like, Oh, she’s the up and coming leader, and there’s might be something to that. And then third, you’ve got France, which, as always, is a special case. In France. Again, the leading party under President McCrone. scuze me did very poorly. But and it was the National Front, which is kind of a traditional rightist party that did very well.

 

McCrone took this as kind of a personal insult to his view of everything, and called snap elections in France. So France will now have full parliamentary elections in order to figure out who’s been around the country.

 

Now, there’s a lot of if ands and buts that go with this. But basically France is going to have elections less than two weeks after the European Parliamentary elections results which is not a lot of time to get into be shaped up the criticism that a lot of folks have is it McCrone is a little hair and muck. He’s a French President, of course, he’s a little arrogant. That’s not a reasonable criticisms, certainly nothing new.

 

And so what is in play here? Well, we’ve got kind of two things you need to keep in mind. First of all, the European Parliament is not all that if basically, it is only responsible for one thing. And that is saying whether or not the European Commission which is the kind of the executive Barbara beat, eu is allowed to stand, they can voted down. If a new one is formed, like we will be seen here in a few months.

 

They can say no, we reject the slate of commissioners. And that’s really all the power they’ve got. So don’t read this for any more than it is. Because it’s not a huge deal. In that respect. The European Parliament is not what makes the decisions in Europe. That is the Council of Ministers, which is the group of prime ministers and presidents liberal Congress direct. Basically, they work by your unity, or something called qualified majority voting from time to time in order to decide what happens to be your Canelo. So what normally happens is you have a European Union Election that up European Parliament that goes one way, and then everyone takes a breather, and then we get back to politics as normal, where the far right doesn’t do nearly as well. Now, what will Chroma is doing is betting that that is still the case. And he can take the political wind out of the sails of what was basically a protest vote in a very short period of time.

 

Nobody believed but nine things behind anyway. So he betting that history is on his side on this one. And you know, we’re gonna find out real soon in just a few dates.

 

Okay. Second macarons personal leadership is not on the docket here. It’s not on the chopping block. It’s not at risk in any way. Because the political system of France is significantly different from the one in Germany or in Lumet states. So here, you vote for a president in Germany, you vote for a party. Here the president controls foreign economic policy. In Germany, you vote for the party coalition’s within their parliament, the Bundestag, and that coalition decides who the Prime Minister is. So you have a singular leader in both places who makes most of the decisions. And that’s typically not how it works in France and France. It’s split. So the parliament selects the prime minister, and they are responsible for domestic affairs.

 

But there’s a separate set of elections for the presidency, and that’s when McCrone is been elected independently. So let’s assume for the moment and McCrone was right, well, then the far right will be shown to be a flash in the pan and they go back to old politics. Let’s assume for the moment that McCrone is wrong, and the snap elections that he’s called go the other way. Well, then the government falls, we get a new prime minister. McCrone is still president, and in that scenario, we got something called cohabitation. Which basically means that not everybody agrees. In France, you know, whoop dee. So, I don’t want to make this up for more than it is. And even in the worst case scenario for the McCrone government, you basically would have a split prerogative, the real issue where this main matter is going to be a national elections, most notably in Germany later, but that’s going to be three years away. Unless of course the government falls and then we have a different…

 

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