[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

Sparhawk wrote:
slazev wrote:

At least give some arguments as to why you feel your country lost its identity.
Have you travelled to another European country and felt it was scarily similar to yours?
Just because we share currency and some rules/regulations, doesn't mean the death of cultural identity.

Sure, that's fair.
Laws for one. EU laws superseed our own laws. You can argue either way if it is a part of identity. I think it is. Take alone the fact that we have been quite liberal on the approach on soft drugs for decades. Could not have happened under EU law. But as a country, we are ok with this.
Mass (illegal) immigration. And I truly think that 'no borders, no countries' is in play here.
We cannot close our borders to whomever is within the EU. People with all kind of backgrounds, wanted and unwanted are entering. My own government is a disaster in handling even the basic registration and kicking out the illegal ones. Whole areas in my country are turning into more of a ghetto of certain religions and backgrounds. Religious buildings are build, that don't have to obey the laws of how it is supposed to look like. Churches are stripped of religious symbols so people are not offended, and these people are being helped by us because their country is so terrible.

Supermarkets and larger warehouses also hardly celebrate our national holidays anymore. Don't use certain common wordings we always use for these holidays. But will celebrate foreign holidays and religions. And halal food everywhere. Which I don't even know is legal, because the animals just get their throut cut and bled out. There are strict rules about butchering in my country. Yet, doesn't apply to them.

Christmas celebrations in schools are disappearing (also in Canada btw, where my daughters live. They never had one). Al in the name of catering to foreigners/other religions. And of course, not to offend! Because, oh dear!

Store fronts are changing, especially the more local ones. To more islam orientated stores.

I seriously have days when I am outside, I hardly hear Dutch being spoken. Of course it depends on where you live and all. But I am often in three different cities lots. Two large ones, one small and the same deal everywhere. People will not integrate or even bother trying.

Under EU law, it's hard to regulate this, if not impossible. And my louse government doesn't make it any better either.

Although I don't agree with all your points (i.e., the "laws" thing), I can somewhat empathize.
I'm an atheist, but Portugal is primarily a Catholic country. I do consider religion to be part of a country's national identity and if I saw a surge of mosques around here and/or people not talking Portuguese, I would definitely be, at the very least, weirded out. The change can't be sudden or abrupt, or else it's doomed to failure.
Maybe because Portugal is geographically isolated and not an attractive destination for immigration, I'm not feeling that change (yet?).

Sparhawk wrote:

My own government is a disaster in handling even the basic registration and kicking out the illegal ones.

The fact that your own country is not even going through the effort to register and deport illegal immigrants that aren't protected by the EU makes me wonder why you are blaming the EU. Is it possible that the majority political opinion of your own government is more pro-immigrant than you, and you are blaming the EU for something it has nothing to do with?

Religious buildings are build, that don't have to obey the laws of how it is supposed to look like. Churches are stripped of religious symbols so people are not offended, and these people are being helped by us because their country is so terrible.

Do you have any sources for the EU forcing your country to change or ignore its laws on how religious buildings look? Or were these laws that were changed by your own country? I've seen headlines now and again about France banning religious symbols in schools and in other places, that implies to me that the EU doesn't actually have the ability to strike down such legislation in its member countries.

Which I don't even know is legal, because the animals just get their throut cut and bled out. There are strict rules about butchering in my country. Yet, doesn't apply to them.

Once again, are these exemptions that your own country made because your own country is a sovereign nation that decided to make those exemptions (regardless of whether you agree with them), or exemptions that the EU forced you to make?

Supermarkets and larger warehouses also hardly celebrate our national holidays anymore. Don't use certain common wordings we always use for these holidays. But will celebrate foreign holidays and religions. And halal food everywhere.
...
Christmas celebrations in schools are disappearing (also in Canada btw, where my daughters live. They never had one). Al in the name of catering to foreigners/other religions. And of course, not to offend! Because, oh dear!

Is that the EU's fault, or is that because your society's desires and expectations are changing as well? If the EU is responsible for removing Christmas celebrations in your schools, ok, but is the EU also responsible for removing Christmas celebrations from Canada's schools? In the US more and more places are calling their break "Winter Break" rather than "Christmas Vacation", is that because the EU's legislation trumps US legislation as well?

It seems like you are unhappy with a general global trend to more secularism and multi-cultural sensitivity, and are blaming the EU for this, but it's happening outside of the EU as well, and you're not providing any mechanism for which the EU is causing this. It really seems like the EU has become a scapegoat for lots of completely independent trends.

Additionally, the fact that it seems like most of your concerns are actually concerns about your own country's policy, not EU "law". You claim that your motivation is "the EU has superseded my country's sovereignty and is forcing it to do things my country doesn't want to do, and my country needs to get control of itself again", but it seems like what's actually happening is "My country is using its sovereignty to do things I don't want my country to do, and I need to get control of my country again."

Which is fine, democracy is all about trying to get control of your country in a specific, nonviolent way. But there is still a big distinction between those two concerns.

I read something a long time ago that seems very true to me - immigrants don't integrate, their children do.

LeapingGnome wrote:

I read something a long time ago that seems very true to me - immigrants don't integrate, their children do.

The thing is integration is a two-way process. If you have to wait until the 2nd generation then that is indicative of the locals not wanting or caring to put anything in to their side of the integration process.

LeapingGnome wrote:

I read something a long time ago that seems very true to me - immigrants don't integrate, their children do.

Self evident statement is self-evident.

Immigrants that aren't interested in integrating, don't integrate. The immigrant who moves their entire family with them, to an enclave of their countrymen, where they can continue to live embedded in a microcosm of their original society and culture, don't integrate. Quell suprise.

Immigrants who, on the other hand, turn up alone, don't immediately immerse themselves in an ex-pat group, and rather instead organically grow a social group made up of natives, eventually starting a family with one....we tend to integrate just fine, thanks.

Jonman wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

I read something a long time ago that seems very true to me - immigrants don't integrate, their children do.

Self evident statement is self-evident.

Immigrants that aren't interested in integrating, don't integrate. The immigrant who moves their entire family with them, to an enclave of their countrymen, where they can continue to live embedded in a microcosm of their original society and culture, don't integrate. Quell suprise.

Immigrants who, on the other hand, turn up alone, don't immediately immerse themselves in an ex-pat group, and rather instead organically grow a social group made up of natives, eventually starting a family with one....we tend to integrate just fine, thanks.

Remember that a lot of immigrants don't have the option of not immediately immersing themselves in an ex-pat group--it has nothing to do with their interest in integrating or not, it has to do with needing that community to survive and possibly proper.

DanB wrote:
LeapingGnome wrote:

I read something a long time ago that seems very true to me - immigrants don't integrate, their children do.

The thing is integration is a two-way process. If you have to wait until the 2nd generation then that is indicative of the locals not wanting or caring to put anything in to their side of the integration process.

Or being afraid to when the current local populations is sh*t?

Nation of immigrants that still treats its immigrants like sh*t. Surprise, not super interested in joining our culture.
IMAGE(http://museum.msu.edu/exhibitions/Virtual/ImmigrationandCaricature/_images_collection/7572-749.jpg)

Jonman wrote:

Immigrants that aren't interested in integrating, don't integrate. The immigrant who moves their entire family with them, to an enclave of their countrymen, where they can continue to live embedded in a microcosm of their original society and culture, don't integrate. Quell suprise.

What you described is above is exactly what happened with the vast majority of immigrants to America and yet those groups have managed to integrate quite nicely.

The typical immigration pattern was that a handful of young men would immigrate to an area, get established, and then bring their family and friends over. They formed enclaves because they were starting over from scratch in a foreign land and it's nice to have familiar things around you (that and the native-born population weren't always welcoming).

Take my hometown. During the mid-nineteenth century it and the surrounding countryside was a magnet for German immigrants. There were so many German immigrants that they made up 40% of the city's population. There were multiple German newspapers. German was spoken in school classrooms. Hell, banking transactions were conducted in German.

And yet, despite that, the German immigrant population integrated with the native born population. Now practically all that remains of that once dominant German heritage is a couple of so-so regional brewers and the old core of the city that's currently being gentrified.

the old core of the city that's currently being gentrified.

And even then, gentrified to the point the name that establishes that heritage is being erased. Over the Rhine is now OTR.

OG_slinger wrote:
Jonman wrote:

Immigrants that aren't interested in integrating, don't integrate. The immigrant who moves their entire family with them, to an enclave of their countrymen, where they can continue to live embedded in a microcosm of their original society and culture, don't integrate. Quell suprise.

What you described is above is exactly what happened with the vast majority of immigrants to America and yet those groups have managed to integrate quite nicely....over several generations....

You're not wrong, but we were talking about first generation immigrants and their reluctance to integrate compared to second generation.

So your point about integration being just fine over numerous generations is correct, just not relevant.

Jonman wrote:

You're not wrong, but we were talking about first generation immigrants and their reluctance to integrate compared to second generation.

So your point about integration being just fine over numerous generations is correct, just not relevant.

We're talking about the integration of immigrant populations into another culture. By definition that is a multi-generational issue.

That a first-generation immigrant from Honduras learns English doesn't mean they've been integrated. It means they've learned English. Their kid, or really their kid's kid? They're going to be fully integrated into our culture and Honduras will be considered a foreign land.

There's enough history of immigration to know that outside a very few (predominantly religious) groups immigrant populations always integrate over time (and change the dominate culture as well).

As it applies to this thread, the question is whether immigration in Europe is similar to immigration in America--something that will work itself out over generations to the benefit of both populations--or if there's something fundamentally incompatible between the culture of European countries and the culture of the population groups currently immigrating to them.

That and if the governments of European countries actually want those immigrant groups to stay and assimilate. Judging by some of their policies, they seem to be trying to keep those group isolated. But then again the American government and Americans did the same thing to just about every immigrant group and it (mostly) worked out.

I doubt most governments in Europe want integration to fail. But most of the nationalist parties certainly want it. Their raison d'etre would be gone if things went well.
However the politicians who want integration to succeed want it to succeed today, not in a 100 years. Surely nobody ever won an election for doing the smart thing that might pay off centuries later.
Besides, it isn't like we just take in immigrants/refugees for a few years, and then only have to wait X time for them to integrate. There will be new immigrants later on, and then some more.

But sure, immigrants will assimilate given enough generations. The question is we can accept waiting generations for problems to fix themselves. Or if our societies can even survive the wait.
Not because the immigrants who do not integrate is a major threat themselves. Terrorism sucks, but it wont destroy society by itself. Surely 'war on Christmas' or halal meat wont either.
The panic attack against everything from immigration, globalization, progressivism and other trends that might have little to do with each other, beside being feared by the same groups of people, that is a real threat. It will reach a breaking point if it keeps escalating forever.

In a surprise move, the far-left candidate Mélenchon when faced with a position that may require actual leadership fails miserably.

Well that didn't take long...

PARIS (Reuters) - The man designated to replace French presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen as head of the far-right National Front party has refused the job and will focus on defending himself against allegations he made questionable comments about the Holocaust

http://www.businessinsider.com/r-le-...

Axon wrote:

In a surprise move, the far-left candidate Mélenchon when faced with a position that may require actual leadership fails miserably.

Not too shocking, since Macron, as a guy from the financial sector, was basically "the enemy" to Melenchon and the far left. They even had some commonalities with Le Pen (get out of the EU, etc).

Sure am glad we aren't using an electoral college.

Imagining a French electoral college

The California of the French electoral college would be Île-de-France, the region that contains Paris. With just over 12m residents, 18% of the French population, it would cast 30 of the 193 electoral votes. The runner-up would be Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, with 20 electoral votes, followed by Hauts-de-France and New Aquitaine, with 16 each. Pulling up the rear would be the island of Corsica and the five overseas regions, all but one of which would get the minimum of three votes.
DanB wrote:

Scotland and England became a union >300 years ago and they still have marked obvious national identities. And Scotland and England are way more integrated than the EU and US are.

Yup, pretty much. And that's AFTER England's many attempts to directly ban traditional Scottish heritage, such as the Tartan ban after the clearances which outlawed ANY traditional highland dress or the literal ethnic cleansing of crofters in the Clearances (though a lot of the blame for that falls on greedy landowners).

Hell, I STILL have to put up with people putting bloody Gaelic on the road-signs for goodness sake!

So yeah. Not even remotely worried about the EU Boogeyman coming over here and stealing all the tartan-decorated shortbread gift boxes and plush Nessies.

* Can't personally speak for England though. On the outside looking in, once you remove all the Great British Empire and second world war 'blitz' stuff Their national identity has always seemed, to me, much harder to pin down.

We have similar examples here, Pyxi. Go to Brittany and half the road signs are in Breton.
Head south towards the Spanish border and it's all in freakin' basque.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

Not too shocking, since Macron, as a guy from the financial sector, was basically "the enemy" to Melenchon and the far left. They even had some commonalities with Le Pen (get out of the EU, etc).

Oh, I wasn't surprised

Eleima wrote:

We have similar examples here, Pyxi. Go to Brittany and half the road signs are in Breton.
Head south towards the Spanish border and it's all in freakin' basque.

Fun fact: The Irish are genetically related to the Basques. And the Celts never left France for the British Isles.

*frustrated sigh*

Macron Campaign hacked on eve of French Election.

The campaign of the French presidential frontrunner, Emmanuel Macron, has said it has been the target of a “massive and coordinated” hacking attack after tens of thousands of internal emails and other documents were released online.
The WikiLeaks website posted a Twitter link to the cache of documents, saying it “contains many tens of thousands (of) emails, photos, attachments up to April 24, 2017”. It indicated it was not responsible for the leak itself.
Macron’s team has previously blamed Russian interests for repeated attempts to hack its systems during the campaign, saying on 26 April it had been the target of unsuccessful attempts to steal email credentials since January. The Kremlin has denied any involvement.

During a visit by Le Pen to Moscow in March, Vladimir Putin said Russia had no intention of meddling in the French presidential elections, but analysts said the meeting implicitly signaled support for the Front National.

Trend Micro, a cybersecurity firm, said last month a hacking group, believed to be part of a Russian intelligence unit, was targeting Macron and his campaign team, adding that it appeared to be the same Fancy Bear group behind the hacking of Democratic campaign officials before last year’s US presidential election.

*crossing everything* that this doesn't affect the outcome tomorrow.

And I had just watched the last debate last night.

I'd have my opinions but general consensus was that Le Pen did badly. If I was wearing my tin foil hat I'd think that if there was something interesting in this it would have been released earlier. Releasing it the day before I suspect is an attempt to to allow the far-left to vote for Le Pen or abstain without it harming their conscience.

Good to know that the far-left is happy to allow certain people in society face serious harm as long as it bring their vision one step closer. Tradition is important after all. :/

pyxistyx wrote:

*frustrated sigh*

Macron Campaign hacked on eve of French Election.

The campaign of the French presidential frontrunner, Emmanuel Macron, has said it has been the target of a “massive and coordinated” hacking attack after tens of thousands of internal emails and other documents were released online.
The WikiLeaks website posted a Twitter link to the cache of documents, saying it “contains many tens of thousands (of) emails, photos, attachments up to April 24, 2017”. It indicated it was not responsible for the leak itself.
Macron’s team has previously blamed Russian interests for repeated attempts to hack its systems during the campaign, saying on 26 April it had been the target of unsuccessful attempts to steal email credentials since January. The Kremlin has denied any involvement.

During a visit by Le Pen to Moscow in March, Vladimir Putin said Russia had no intention of meddling in the French presidential elections, but analysts said the meeting implicitly signaled support for the Front National.

Trend Micro, a cybersecurity firm, said last month a hacking group, believed to be part of a Russian intelligence unit, was targeting Macron and his campaign team, adding that it appeared to be the same Fancy Bear group behind the hacking of Democratic campaign officials before last year’s US presidential election.

*crossing everything* that this doesn't affect the outcome tomorrow.

The leaked docs apparently were formatted using Russian version of MS Excel.

I just want to tell France good luck. We're all counting on you.

Voted! **fingers crossed**
Honestly, I really don't want a president who doesn't even know that the UK has always used the British Pound, and never even used the euro (and there's a host of other reasons, but that kinda stuck out in the debate).

MrDeVil909 wrote:

I just want to tell France good luck. We're all counting on you.

IMAGE(http://img.pandawhale.com/post-58335-good-luck-were-all-counting-on-ClLw.gif)
Sorry, it's all I could think of

I can't think of a single ethnic population in Australia that has failed to integrate and assimilate most of the local cultural norms. It takes time. In the 1940s, Italians and Germans were hated and feared; in the 70s it was the Lebanese diaspora; the 80s it was Vietnamese and Cambodians fleeing the war; the 90s and the past two decades has been African and Middle Eastern refugees fleeing the constant conflict and poverty. By the time the next wave of ethnic refugees arrive, the previous wave have mostly settled in and become a part of the local culture.

Thing is Jonman, if you can't speak the new language well and your taste in food hasn't adapted quickly, or hell you are feeling homesick or just want somewhere to buy ingredients and goods that you're used to, chances are you'll settle first in a town or suburb which has an established community of your ethnic origin. You can also see the reverse happen when white expats create expat enclaves overseas. It's not a matter of integration, it's human tribalism in its primitive glory.

Europe is an interesting case study because it hasn't had the breadth of multiculturalism experienced in newer sovereign states like the US, Canada and Australia.

Axon wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

I just want to tell France good luck. We're all counting on you.

IMAGE(http://img.pandawhale.com/post-58335-good-luck-were-all-counting-on-ClLw.gif)
Sorry, it's all I could think of

IMAGE(https://media.tenor.co/images/5c3563e188ca1f928b6d7191ea8d97e1/tenor.gif)

I assure you, it wasn't accidental.

So participation at noon was at 28,23%, a bit lower than. Two weeks ago. I voted around 10am this morning and there were a lot less people than at 11:30am two weeks ago. I went earlier this time to avoid the crowd.
Wait and see now...

If it is only a bit lower that sounds good. The best chance for Le Pen seems to be substantially lower turnout.