[Discussion] European Political Landscape

There are three elections occurring over the coming year that are of huge importance. They are:

Italian Constitutional Referendum - 04/12/16
French Presidential Election - 1st Round 23/04/17, 2nd Round 07/05/17
German Federal Election - 22/10/17

This thread is to discuss the political realities, results and fallout around these elections. The scope is broad but try to keep the post relevant to the elections referenced above.

Edit - Updated thread title

I guess the question this time is if it will survive in a single digit or double digit number of days.

Mario and Luigi have it under control.

I have nowhere to put this, but while watching videos on the Kings & Generals YT channel today, I was reminded about how we are currently living through a heretofore unprecedented era of peace in Europe.

Like, every previous century of European history is looking at the last 70 years and going "Holy sh*t, you all have gone that long without trying to kill each other?"

(EDIT: Yes, I know, the Balkans, but even factoring that and the Georgia/Ukraine conflicts in, this has been a time of astonishing peace across the continent.)

And it wasn't by accident.

The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible. The setting up of this powerful productive unit, open to all countries willing to take part and bound ultimately to provide all the member countries with the basic elements of industrial production on the same terms, will lay a true foundation for their economic unification.

That's from 1950 and the setting up of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) which is the start of the process that gave us the EU today. People have argued to me that it was nuclear weapons and NATO that kept the peace. I'd point out that neither of those prevented Ireland and the UK very nearly going to war and instead having a long drawn out proxy war that got completely beyond their control. And the Good Friday Agreement explicitly states it can only work due to the existence of the EU.

The Troubles began in roughly 1968. UK and Ireland joined in 1973.

Also, France wasn't a member of NATO for quite a whlle (66-09). It had nuclear weapons. In fact I think it remains the only European state will full control over its own nuclear arsenal. I'm not saying it's likely that a post-war France would start acting out but I'm a whole lot more comfortable that the Treaty of Rome was in place at that point.

Edit: Pred, part of me comes at it another way. I'm amazed at how many in the US don't look at the successes of the EU at wonder can they not be replicated in the Americas, North and South. In matter of fact, the EU is portrayed almost entirely as a negative in the US media. I see that changing in social media but I do find it interesting.

Not so bold prediction: US views on the EU will start to fall into partisan lines, where progressives deify the EU and conservatives vilify us. Especially as the EU will come into contrast as the only remaining democratic (but definitely not flawless) block standing next and no longer together with a US divided between fascists and normies.

I think a big reason why the EU is presented negatively in the US media is because the EU is a direct threat to the US economic supremacy. And only those people who are willing to look at the good the EU does for the world will be able to look past this.

I don't remember thinking that the media was presenting the EU in a bad light. I've spent the most time with NPR, although since the election, I've been using the cnn.com site more.

I'd kind of expect that from Fox, but they're not really media, they're a propaganda organ.

dejanzie wrote:

Not so bold prediction: US views on the EU will start to fall into partisan lines, where progressives deify the EU and conservatives vilify us.

I don't think that's really a "prediction" anymore.

Yeah, as a German/US citizen, that line always seemed fairly sharp to me in the post 9/11 world. Except for occasionally the UK (though now they're not even part of the EU, so whatever).

Dutch elections are going on as I type. Polls opened Monday and are closing on Wednesday. Remember to look past which party actually got the most votes and onto who can actually form a government. PVV (Wilder's party), will get it's share but nobody will align with him. EU skepticism has fallen in recent years as is more directly focused on Italy's and Greece's membership of the euro.

Anyway, the country will remain centre right I suspect but the post election narrative is worth following. The Netherlands is now one of the big countries due to Brexit so worth keeping half an eye on if you are interested in the direction of the EU.

An update on the Netherlands!

Mark Rutte: Survivor of Dutch politics in fight for political life

With more than a decade as prime minister under his belt, Mark Rutte is one of the wiliest survivors in European politics.

He has steered his centre-right liberal VVD party through political crises, winning election after election. His most recent victory came in March, weeks after his cabinet resigned over a child welfare scandal.

No wonder he has earned the nickname "Teflon Mark", overcoming a political crisis that affected thousands of parents.

But his narrow victory in a no-confidence vote in the early hours of 2 April appears to be more than just another awkward scrape.

He denies lying over coalition talks, but the Rutte brand has been badly tarnished and a fourth term in office is now in doubt. His biggest coalition ally, Sigrid Kaag of the liberal D66, filed a motion disapproving of his conduct and every party in parliament backed it but his own.

"If I were him I wouldn't continue," she said, adding that her confidence in him had been severely damaged. "I blame him for that too."

On the face of it Mark Rutte, 54, is Dutch politics personified. A man with a modest lifestyle who goes to work and even the palace on his bike, he has mastered the art of reaching consensus and maintaining a stable coalition.

The Dutch response to the coronavirus pandemic has been far from successful, and yet he still led his party to a decisive victory in the March vote.

Ah, the sound of Sabre-rattling.

Russia has warned Nato against sending any troops to help Ukraine, amid reports of a large Russian military build-up on its borders.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would take "additional measures" if Nato were to make such a move.

Sporadic, low-level clashes continue in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists.

US forces in Europe are now on higher alert, citing "escalations of Russian aggression" in the area.

A Nato official told Reuters news agency that Russia was undermining efforts to reduce tensions in eastern Ukraine and Nato ambassadors had met on Thursday to discuss the situation.

"Allies share their concerns about Russia's recent large-scale military activities in and around Ukraine," the official said.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky joined the criticism, saying "military exercises and possible provocations along the border are traditional Russian games".

Meanwhile, Mr Peskov accused Ukrainian forces of staging "provocations" on the frontline in eastern Ukraine, where a fragile ceasefire is violated daily.

In the worst flare-up in recent months, four Ukrainian soldiers died in separatist shelling on 26 March near Shuma, a village in the Donetsk region. There have been only low-level incidents since then.

EDIT: Well this sounds good.

Russian-backed separatist of the Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) have announced military conscription for citizens born 1994 - 2003. This comes at a time of drastically increased fighting on the frontlines in the Donbas. Not looking good.

Good evening!

The hell's going on in Norn Iron now?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is "deeply concerned" about scenes of violence in Northern Ireland.

Police were attacked, petrol bombs thrown and a bus set on fire in another night of disorder in Belfast.

"The way to resolve differences is through dialogue, not violence or criminality," he said.

The disturbances took place on both sides of an interface in the loyalist Shankill and nationalist Springfield Road areas of the city on Wednesday.

Forty-one police officers were injured in disturbances in parts of Northern Ireland over the Easter period, involving children as young as 13.

It's really complicated but in very simple terms working class Protestant have not been served well by "their" political parties for generations. Some like David Ervine, who I had a lot of time for, would say they were used. This isn't really about funerals or trade agreements but about the feeling of betrayal that these issues touch on. That's not to say Brexit isn't a cog in the machine here but it's a mess that required careful navigation.

Anyway, if you want to understand what's driving this Jenny McCartney's essay is excellent.

That’s the political equivalent of a teacher telling a delinquent school pupil that they can only get out of a locked classroom by setting it alight.

And I cannot fault her reasoning either.

I also enjoyed this piece from on Slugger O'Toole. Might explain how and why Johnson betrayed Northern Ireland so easily.

Those are great, thanks Axon.

Another election, another round of Labour getting its arse kicked, more discussion online about whether it's because Labour is too left or insufficiently left.


A farmer in Belgium has caused a stir after inadvertently redrawing the country's border with France.

A local history enthusiast was walking in the forest when he noticed the stone marking the boundary between the two countries had moved 2.29m (7.5ft).

The Belgian farmer, apparently annoyed by the stone in his tractor's path, had moved it inside French territory.


Prederick wrote:

Another election, another round of Labour getting its arse kicked, more discussion online about whether it's because Labour is too left or insufficiently left.

They are too First-past-the-post.

Prederick wrote:


Don't you run the Internet Mistake Thread? You should know better than to start sh*t. Ideas got legs.