European Union leaders will meet tonight in Brussels to discuss last weekend’s Parliamentary election results in which voters decidedly voiced their discontent with the status quo. Extremist parties on both the right and left boasted strong results in the UK, France, Denmark, and Greece, closing the gap with the center-right European People’s Party and the center-left Socialists and Democrats.
The UK Independence Party (UKIP) and France’s National Front had especially strong showings at the polls, receiving the largest share of votes in their respective countries and dealing significant blows to more mainstream centrist parties. With platforms based on nationalism, anti-immigration, and the restoration of state sovereignty, extremist parties have been successful in attracting popular support in the wake of the euro zone crisis and a growing number of social issues blamed by domestic politicians on foreigners.
The results also have significant implications for the future of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade deal between the U.S. and the EU which will eventually become subject to an up-or-down vote in Parliament. ASP will host Paul Adamson, Philippe Maze-Sencier, and Geoffrey Harris tomorrow (May 28th) for a discussion centering on the economic, political, and social impact of the results going forward, especially regarding their relevance to TTIP negotiations.