Future Europe Initiative

  • Euroscepticism and Populism to Gain in Dutch Representation in the European Parliament

    As is the case elsewhere on the European continent, parties away from the political center are expected to perform quite well in the European parliamentary elections in the Netherlands on May 23. With twenty-six seats in the European Parliament allocated to the Netherlands, polls in recent weeks have suggested that around five will be won by the far-right populist, Eurosceptic Forum voor Democratie (Forum for Democracy or FvD), a party that did not contend in the last European elections in 2014. This is not unusual. Fringe parties tend to perform better in European elections than in the national elections, as seen in the 2012 general elections and subsequent European elections in 2014. A similar cycle could take place this time, as the European elections follow the general elections of 2017.


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  • The Importance of Hungary’s European Election

    In polls conducted in 2014 and 2018, 60 percent and 80 percent of Hungarians, respectively, said they consider themselves to be citizens of the European Union (EU). Nevertheless, Hungary had less than 30 percent voter turnout in the European parliamentary elections in 2014. In 2019, a year after Hungary’s center-right Fidesz party decisively won the national elections for the third consecutive time, there are two reasons why Hungarians should be more involved in the European elections on May 26: this election will determine the place of Hungary’s parties in the European political spectrum and the outcome will have consequences for Hungary’s municipal elections

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  • Strong Support for the EU in Sweden Ahead of European Elections

    This article is part of a series on the 2019 European Union parliamentary elections.

    Support for the European Union (EU) remains high in Sweden. Recent polls show that while 65 percent of Swedes support EU membership, only 19 percent would like Sweden to leave the Union. As a result of this strong public support, Sweden’s two most Eurosceptic parties, the Left Party (part of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left or GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament) and the Swedish Democrats (part of the European Conservatives and Reformists  or ECR group in the European Parliament), have abandoned their demand that Sweden ought to leave the EU, instead saying that they would work from inside the Union to shift it in their desired direction.


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  • EU Parliamentary Elections: What to Expect in France

    This article is part of a series on the 2019 European Union parliamentary elections.

    On May 26, French voters will choose between thirty-four lists on a nationwide proportional ballot in the European Union (EU) parliamentary elections. Historically, European elections have failed to sustain public attention, suffering from parties treating it as an afterthought (often recycling losers from national elections) and the complex and distant nature of European institutions. In 2014, French voter turnout in the EU elections was 42 percent, a far cry from the 78 percent of the first round of the 2017 presidential election. For these reasons, European elections have generally been a godsend for extremist forces.


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  • Here’s What to Expect from Germany’s European Vote

    This article is part of a series on the 2019 European Union parliamentary elections.

    Continuing the recent domestic trend of political fragmentation, the parties of Germany’s ruling “grand coalition”—German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) and her junior partners of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD)—are expected to lose significant shares of the vote in the European elections later this month compared to 2014. However, the outcome of the election in the European Union’s largest economy and most populous member state will not impact Germany’s broadly pro-European Union (EU) positions and strategy in significant ways.


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  • Europe’s Unsettling Parliamentary Elections: A View from Spain

    This article is part of a series on the 2019 European Union parliamentary elections.

    Since the first European parliamentary elections in 1979, and notwithstanding the growing powers of the Parliament, the prevailing impression these contests have left has been boredom, almost afterthoughts. Progressively declining voter turnout cycle after cycle drove home this point. Efforts to make the elections more relevant, like the establishment of the spitzenkandidaten system linking the results to the selection of the president of the European Commission, made hardly a blip. This year, however, the elections to be held between May 23 and 26 have gone from barely relevant to disquieting.


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  • Italy’s Salvini Will be the Man to Watch in the European Parliamentary Elections

    This article is part of a series on the 2019 European Union parliamentary elections.

    With European Parliament elections fast approaching, Italy is on the verge of a political crisis—but it has nothing to do with Europe. Neither the right-wing League nor the anti-establishment Five Star Movement—the two partners of the unlikely populist coalition that has ruled Italy since 2018—has made Europe the focus of their campaigns, albeit both having fueled anti-EU sentiments in recent years.


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  • Sweden and European Defense: Why Words Matter

    Over the last year, the debate on European defense has intensified after French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned concepts such as a European Security Council, a European army, and European strategic autonomy. Despite ambitions to play an active role in developing European defense cooperation, the Swedish government has not yet publicly elaborated on such conceptual visions. Through more visible participation in the debate on European defense and strategic autonomy, Sweden could gain more influence and bring in important regional issues related to Baltic Sea security, thus shaping long-term visions and frameworks for European defense and strategic autonomy.


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  • The Huawei Challenge

    Despite an effort by the United States to persuade its friends and allies not to use 5G wireless communications technology developed by Huawei, many will find it hard to avoid doing business with the Chinese telecom giant altogether.

    Robert A. Manning, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, explains: “It will be difficult to avoid licensing any Huawei or Chinese 5G technology as Chinese firms hold 37 percent of all 5G patents.”

    Huawei, for instance, said Manning, “has over 1,000 patents, so many nations and carriers may have little choice but to license some Chinese 5G technology.”


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  • How the West Can Confront a Resurgent Russia

    The United States, working with its allies and democratic partners, can push back against Russian aggression, which has been marked by interference in elections in the United States and Europe; the harassment, invasion, and annexation of neighbors; and the propping up of despots in places such as Syria and Venezuela, Atlantic Council Distinguished Fellow Daniel Fried told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 1.

    “The world’s great and emerging democracies have the power and political legitimacy” to not only push back against Russia, but also “to maintain a rules-based system that favors freedom and advances our nation’s interests and other nations’ interests,” Fried said at a hearing on “Countering a Resurgent Russia.”


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