A Letter From… Finland! 

 

The European Parliament elections were held just a month after Finland had elected its national Parliament. The national vote set the frame for the EP campaigns.

 

European elections so close after national ones meant that campaigning posed a challenge to parties and candidates alike, as voters suffered from a slight election fatigue and media focused much more on the negotiations over a new government. The European campaigns were somewhat affected by a lack of enthusiasm. Continue reading

A Letter From… Slovakia! 

 

In Slovakia, the European Parliament elections were always considered as peripheric in terms of both the interest of the citizens and the fact that they barely ever brought a surprising change. Thus, it is only fair to say that the European Parliament election that has taken place on the 25th May 2019 represents a dramatic departure from the past.

 

In 2014, Slovakia managed to set a historically low turnout for the European Parliament election at 13%. This turnout was a blunder that no politician in Slovakia wanted to see replicated. A big portion of the impetus came early last year, when a murder of a young journalist and his fiancée has led to massive protests and new political interest that has been most embodied by a coalition of two new parties. Continue reading

A Letter From…Czech Republic! 

 

After the results were published, several Czech political parties have proclaimed that they were happy with the results. Whether there was a reason for merriment is a fairly difficult question to answer.

 

In my opinion there was no clear winner. ANO, the party of prime minster Babiš did win most votes, but the 21 % ANO received is rather underwhelming (ANO polls around 30 % nowadays). As a member of ALDE, ANO possibly faces a domestic image problem if Macron’s party LREM takes a leading role in the European party family. Many voters of ANO do not endorse Macron’s agenda for deeper EU integration. Continue reading

A Letter From… Poland! 

 

If ever there was any doubt that hard work and due diligence pays off, this doubt was dissipated during this European election in Poland.  A party of Euro-skeptics, nationalists, ultra-conservatives wishing to relegate the position of women back to the Dark Ages; a party of homophobes, who gives neo-Nazis no more than a pat on the hand for hijacking otherwise peaceful parades during national holidays – this party has taken the European elections by storm despite record-high participation levels.  Why?  Because they put in the biggest, most inhumane amounts of effort and they believe in what they do. Continue reading

A Letter From… France! 

 

 

European elections have always been atypical in France. Most French citizens have never really understood proportional elections and single ballots. In addition, non-EU related debates and programmes always prevailed.

This year’s European elections were no exception: lack of interest by citizens and the media, lack of knowledge about the election, lack of a European programme for most of the candidates on the electoral lists.

 

What is different in 2019 is the context: For the past six months, the yellow vests’ movement has absorbed all the attention of the media, with protesters looking for work and riots occurring each Saturday. Some thought this movement would not even last a month; others argued it was a new beginning. Both were wrong. Continue reading

A Letter From… United Kingdom! 

 

The best news of the night, consistent with the picture elsewhere in Europe, is that voter turnout went up sharply, from 35.4% in 2014 to 50.5% this time. Europeans are beginning to value Europe, or at least to recognise its importance.

 

In the UK, more people voted for anti-Brexit parties than for pro-Brexit parties (this excludes those who voted Labour or Conservative, since both parties are divided). The result is consistent with recent opinion polls that show 55% of UK citizens now opposed to Brexit and only 45% in favour. It is widely seen to increase the chances of a second referendum on EU membership. Continue reading

Upcoming event: EU-Ukraine Integration at a Crossroad – Opportunities and Risks of the Association Process 

A joint event of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and Promote Ukraine

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Ten years have elapsed since the European Union entered a new period in its evolution – one of the most complex in the history of European integration. This period started with the 2008-2009 global economic and financial crisis, which caused the Euro area crisis and the Greek debt crisis, and later spread to other, non-economic areas. This gives rise to questions regarding the future of the European Union, its integration association, as well as its impact on the development of the global economy.

Answers to these questions are especially important for Ukraine, given that since 2014 its strategic course of fundamental socio-economic and political transformations has been very closely connected with the European integration idea, and the Association Agreement with the EU has become a key mechanism that determines the pace and directions of Ukrainian reforms. Continue reading