EP elections, Erdoğan and Poroshenko
The election results were more or less predictable. So there is now no surprise. Parliamentary elections, which have been held in the EU since 1979, attract the attention of voters for reasons besides European integration, the establishment of a federal order and enlargement.

There are weird elections where national problems draw greater attention; the Euroskeptics raise their voices; the EU is severely criticized over many problems and accused of inaction; even small and marginal parties are able to win seats at Parliament because of the election system; and the voter turnout is generally low.

Nobody likes these results; but the future and image of the EU, the most original and ambitious project in human history, are hurt most. The same happened this time as well. Let us take a closer look.

The elections attracted attention worldwide because of the far right's success in some countries; the Front National won 25 percent of the vote in France, one of the founding nations of the EU. This is not, however, surprising for France, which has been unable to confront nationalistic and racist practices and acts in the past. But I should note that the overall performance of the far right throughout Europe wasn't that great. Support for extreme-right parties significantly declined in Belgium, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Italy, Romania and Slovakia.

But extreme-right parties won 23 percent in Denmark, 20 percent in Austria, 15 percent in Hungary and 10 percent in Greece. We could mention a few other parties that won a few seats; but that's it. The common feature of these parties is that they are extreme nationalists. Their opposition to the EU is the indirect consequence of their politics. However, their common identity as nationalists isn't enough for them to form a unified group; it is, in fact, a huge obstacle to their unification. Let us recall that one of the aspects of the far right is the hatred of others. A Hungarian nationalist hates a Romanian nationalist first and foremost. These two parties formed an alliance before the 2009 elections; however, they did not get visible support. In other words, the sphere of influence of the far-right parties does not extend to Europe as a whole, but is limited to their own constituencies.

On the other hand, there are similarities between the arguments this group raises against the EU and those of other parties. The anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) took 27 percent under the slogan, "We want England back," and the M5S (Five Star Movement), which took 23 percent of the vote in Italy, are the best-known examples. These parties, which rely on populist discourse and have no significant policy proposals, are not entirely far right.

These two groups will keep raising anti-EU arguments without even participating in the sessions of the EP. But they will continue to benefit from the advantages of the EU as well. They are not influential enough to block the decision-making processes and mechanisms of the EU; and it is not possible to do this in the Parliament. In the end, none of the countries will leave the EU anyway.

A new European Commission will be formed after the EP elections. The most likely candidate for president of the commission is Jean-Claude Juncker, a Christian Democrat who openly expresses his federalist views and is known as "a man of Europe"; he will get the position if the UK doesn't veto him. Despite the obstacles, the EU will go on. Europe, which is currently experiencing its greatest crisis with Russia since the fall of the Iron Curtain, is unable to integrate with its east. However, the EU project will continue -- unless war is desired.

Turkey's candidacy was the greatest opportunity for the revival of the EU; but they failed to grasp this opportunity, and they won't get such a great chance again. Turkey is unlikely to become a member by 2023; the nearest date is 2071. The Turkish prime minister's strong criticism in Germany of press freedom and freedom of expression, coming as it did from a third-world politician, made Turkey opponents out of almost all Germans.

There was a presidential election in Ukraine on Sunday. Petro Poroshenko, the newly elected president of Ukraine, which was victimized by Russia's forced integration and enlargement policy, expressed the country's willingness to join the EU in his first official statement.

CENGİZ AKTAR (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2014-05-29 11:00:02
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