[Discussion] European Politics Discussion

European Politics discussion

I think he misses the point that Boris Johnson decided to completely ignore decades of the informal rules of how Parliament operates which enabled the current level of debate in the UK Media - exactly the same tactics that Trump uses in the US.

The first televised ‘debate’ between Sunak and Starmer took place on UK National TV last night. It was something of a techy affair, Sunak in particular consistently speaking over both the host and Starmer.

However I think Sunak got slightly the better of it to be honest. He certainly didn’t make any major gaffs - although the audience laughing at his national service proposals should tell him how stupid that idea is - but he did constantly attack Labour by saying they’d raise taxes for everyone by £2000 a year (this is a lie) and Starmer didn’t really do a lot to refute it. Unfortunately, it’s the sort of thing that sticks and is likely to form the backbone of the remaining Tory election campaign.

Starmer is trying to come across as statesmanlike and competent. He mostly achieved being a bit boring and dull. However, they clearly loathe each other, which is always fun to see.

Dutch exit poll suggests neck and neck race between far right and center left in EU election

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A final exit poll suggested Thursday that Geert Wilders’ far-right party made big gains and was in a neck and neck race with a center-left alliance in Dutch elections for the European Union parliament.

In a possible harbinger of strong electoral gains for the hard right in the Europe Union, the exit poll indicated that Wilders’ Party for Freedom had made the biggest gains — winning seven seats, up from just one in the last parliament.

The poll of some 20,000 voters published by national broadcaster NOS predicted the center-left alliance would win eight of 31 European Parliament seats up for grabs in the Netherlands.

Wilders was jubilant.

“The biggest winner,” he said on X, formerly Twitter. “And super tense because in Sunday’s final result we can still become the biggest.”

Having sent shockwaves around Europe six months ago by becoming the biggest party in the Dutch national parliament, Wilders now wants to build on that popularity and set the tone for much of the bloc, with calls to claw power back to national capitals and away from the EU so that member states have more autonomy on issues such as migration.

Final results for the entire EU will be announced in Brussels after polls close Sunday night. The Netherlands is electing 31 of the 720 members of the European Parliament to five-year terms.

Paradoxically, like many hard-right parties across the bloc, Wilders wants to get more power in the European Parliament, so he can weaken the EU institutions from within.

“You also need to have a strong presence in the European Parliament and make sure that, if necessary, we will be able to change the European guidelines in order to be in charge of our own immigration policy and asylum policy,” Wilders said after voting in The Hague.

That is why he was immediately calling for a broad alliance of hard right parties to break up the traditional coalition of Christian Democrats, Socialists, pro-business Liberals and Greens.

“Making a larger group in the European Parliament,” Wilders said, ”that gives us power to change all those European regulations in order to be more in charge of it ourselves — here in the national parliaments.”

Wilders, Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and French opposition leader Marine Le Pen stand in stark contrast to much of the left and many center parties, which call for a more united European approach on anything from climate change measures to defense, arguing individual nations only have a weak voice on the global stage.

“It is important that the European Union is a good and strong partner,” said Gerard Kroon, a 66-year-old who works for the Hague municipality and voted in city hall for pro-Europe party Volt. “We have to get things done all together. Not only in Europe but in the Netherlands too.”

Since the last EU election in 2019, populist, far-right and extremist parties now lead governments in three EU nations, are part of governing coalitions in several others, and appear to have surging public support across the continent.

The Dutch center-right Christian Democratic Appeal party reported that its website was “temporarily less accessible” because of a distributed denial of service attack Thursday.

“On election day, we consider this an attack on free, democratic elections,” the party posted on X.

National broadcaster NOS reported that the site of Wilders’ party and the far right Forum for Democracy also were briefly down.

The EU elections are the world’s second-biggest exercise in democracy behind the election in India, and the stakes are high.

Almost 400 million voters will be electing 720 members of the European Parliament from beyond the Arctic circle to the edges of Africa and Asia. The results will have an impact on issues ranging from global climate policies and defense to migration and geopolitical relations with China and the United States.

There was some early voting in some countries, but the Netherlands is the only EU country to start its single-day vote so early, followed by Ireland and the Czech Republic on Friday and the rest of the EU nations over the weekend. Europe-wide results will be announced Sunday night after all member states have completed voting.

Since the last European elections in 2019, war has broken out on the fringe of the bloc following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a country that desperately wants to join the EU.

A founding member, the Netherlands was long unwavering in its support of EU policies. Research from the Clingendael think tank, though, suggests dissatisfaction with the EU among Dutch people, and that while most believe that the Netherlands should remain in the bloc, many also believe it should be more self-sufficient.

While many voters are predicted to lurch to the right, the Christian Democrat-dominated European People’s Party, led by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, is currently the EU legislature’s biggest bloc and is bound to be the coalition kingmaker when the dust settles on the election results.

In the Netherlands, Wilders’ PVV could build on its domestic success and surge, possibly overtaking the combined Labor Party and Green Left. Labor topped the Dutch EU Parliament election in 2019 with 19% of the vote for six seats while the Greens took 11% and three seats. Wilders’ party at the time only managed 3.5% and no seats.

Wilders and one of his likely coalition partners, the Farmer Citizen Movement, are popular among farmers in the Netherlands who have staged regular protests to call for an easing of EU legislation they say is crippling their livelihoods.

Wilders has in the past called for the Netherlands to leave the EU as Britain did, but his party’s manifesto for the election starting Thursday makes no mention of a so-called Nexit. Instead, it urges voters to back the PVV so it can change the EU from within, similar to plans of many other hard right parties across the bloc.

The number of members elected in each country depends on the size of the population, ranging from six for Malta, Luxembourg and Cyprus to 96 for Germany. In 2019, Europeans elected 751 lawmakers. Following the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU in 2020, the number of MEPs fell to 705. Some of the 73 seats previously held by British MEPs were redistributed to other member states.

The lawmakers, known as Members of the European Parliament, or MEPs, can vote on a wide range of legislation covering banking rules, climate, agriculture, fisheries, security and justice. They also vote on the EU budget, which is crucial to the implementation of European policies, including, for instance, the aid delivered to Ukraine.

After the election, MEPs will elect their president at the first plenary session, from July 16-19. Then, most likely in September, they will nominate the president of the European Commission, following a proposal made by the member states. In 2019, von der Leyen narrowly won a vote to become the first woman to head the institution. She is seeking a second term.

European elections: Dutch exit polls show progressive alliance just ahead of far right

Left and Green parties in the Netherlands have said the far right can be beaten, after exit polls showed a progressive alliance narrowly ahead of their nationalist rivals on the first day of European elections.

Dutch voters were the first to be called to the polls in the four-day democratic exercise where citizens in 27 EU member states are electing 720 representatives to the world’s only directly elected transnational parliament.

Polls suggest hard-right and far-right parties are on course for their best ever results, although their representatives are likely to remain dispersed between at least two groups and non-aligned MEPs, blunting their power and influence.

An exit poll from the Dutch national broadcaster NOS on Thursday showed that the Green-Left alliance was on course to win eight seats, just ahead of Geert Wilders’ far-right Freedom party (PVV) on seven seats. The margin of error was one seat, suggesting a potential tie.

Both sides declared victory. Bas Eickhout, the veteran Green MEP who is his group’s joint lead candidate, said: “The narrative of the rise of the far right has been beaten. This is a message for the rest of Europe: go out and vote!”

Wilders said he was “so proud” of his party’s results in the last year, citing its first place in national elections that propelled it into a governing coalition for the first time, and its best ever result in the European vote. In the last European elections, in 2019, the PVV won only one seat.

Voters in Ireland and the Czech Republic were voting on Friday, and polls are due to open in Latvia, Malta, Slovakia and Italy on Saturday. Voting in Italy continues on Sunday.

The majority of EU citizens, including in the biggest member states, France, Germany, Spain and Poland, will vote on Sunday, and a fairly definitive estimate of results is expected in the early hours of Monday.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, who is running for a second term, was campaigning in Austria for her centre-right European People’s party on Friday. Von der Leyen, who has pledged more European cooperation on defence and a new “structure” to combat foreign interference in EU politics, has urged people to vote for “a strong Europe … that can defend itself”.

German naturists fear for future of lifestyle amid falling interest

An organisation promoting nudity and a self-confident approach towards the body in Germany has sounded the alarm over the future of naturism in the country.

The German Association for Free Body Culture (DFK), an umbrella organisation for myriad naturist interest groups, has told its members that celebrations in August marking the anniversary of its creation will no longer go ahead owing to a lack of interest.

Membership of the DFK has slumped from 65,000 people 25 years ago to fewer than 34,000 now, with many remaining members said to be losing interest.

Germany is one of the most liberal countries in the world for public nudity. Places are often reserved for naturists in parks and on beaches and there is a high tolerance towards communal mixing among the dressed and undressed.

Disciples of the movement revel in the life-affirming freedom of being nude together across the generations, as well as the health benefits they say it brings, including mental wellbeing, in part from shedding the sense of shame around nakedness.

There are many reasons for the drop in interest, according to Alfred Sigloch, president of the DFK, including everything from conflicts between the generations and a lack of willingness among younger naturists in individual clubs to stick to older members’ rigid rules, “such as specified afternoon nap or quiet times”.

The prevalence of digital technology was putting some people off, Sigloch told German media this week, including the fear by nude bathers of being caught by people taking sneak pictures on mobile phones or via drone cameras and putting them on social media.

“The rise of the cult of the perfect body on TikTok or Instagram is increasing the pressure to not want to undress,” Sigloch added.

The origins of Germany’s free body culture (Freikörperkultur in German, or FKK for short) go back to the late 19th century and a social movement that was critical of materialism and industrialisation. In the early 20th century, free body culture became more widespread, offering a healthy alternative to the detrimental and restrictive industrial life of towns and cities. FKK flourished in particular in the lakeside resorts around liberal Berlin, as well as on Germany’s Baltic and North Sea coasts.

While largely frowned upon during the Nazi era, the strong association between nudity and freedom made the trend particularly popular in communist East Germany. The population may have been restricted in many ways – in everything from freedom of speech to the ability to travel, and even from taking inflatable swimming rings or lilos into the sea in case they tried to escape – but people had a strong sense of exercising their free will when it came to summer holidays by being allowed to take off their clothes on beaches or campsites without legal restrictions.

Sigloch said the rise in the popularity of glamping was partly responsible for FKK-dedicated holiday sites closing down, because campsite owners were able to make more money from higher-paying campers wanting a more luxurious experience than from naturists.

He warned that individual clubs were haemorrhaging members, with some forced to close. But he has pledged to confront the issues in order to revive the movement. “We will fight to keep onboard every single naked person who wants to be with us,” he said. “FKK is an ancient culture that cannot and will not die.”

Sigloch said he remained optimistic not least because many nudist clubs had seen an uptake of interest during the Covid crisis. The number of members in the federal association had fallen as low as 30,000 five years ago but had grown to almost 34,000 since the pandemic.

“This can be attributed, among other things, to the fact that the pandemic has encouraged many people to seek alternative and healthy outdoor leisure activities,” he said.

Kerstin, 65, a retired confectioner who said he had practised FKK “all my life” but was not in an official club, said she would continue to bathe in the nude on regular trips to Germany’s Baltic coast “until my dying day”.

“But while I used to be one of the many and didn’t stand out at all, I notice now there are fewer and fewer of us,” she said. “Some people are worried about skin cancer, others have just become more prudish, I think, which is a shame, because it’s nothing to do with sex or prurience and everything to do with health and freedom. Sometimes I now get pointed at on the beach because people find it not to their liking. That never used to happen.”

In a plaintive message to its members announcing it was calling off the anniversary celebrations, the DFK leadership said: “Unfortunately we have had too few registrations for our celebration, so … with a heavy heart we have had to make the decision to cancel it. The costs relative to those who would have participated were simply too high.”

However, advocates say all is not lost. Upcoming events for the FKK community include the 15th international naturist run on the Baltic coast on 27 July, Nackt ins Watt, a naturist mudflat hike in Dithmarschen on the North Sea coast on 17 August, and later this month, in locations across Germany, the DFK’s FKK swimming championships.

Prederick wrote:

European elections: Dutch exit polls show progressive alliance just ahead of far right

Left and Green parties in the Netherlands have said the far right can be beaten, after exit polls showed a progressive alliance narrowly ahead of their nationalist rivals on the first day of European elections.

Dutch voters were the first to be called to the polls in the four-day democratic exercise where citizens in 27 EU member states are electing 720 representatives to the world’s only directly elected transnational parliament.

Polls suggest hard-right and far-right parties are on course for their best ever results, although their representatives are likely to remain dispersed between at least two groups and non-aligned MEPs, blunting their power and influence.

An exit poll from the Dutch national broadcaster NOS on Thursday showed that the Green-Left alliance was on course to win eight seats, just ahead of Geert Wilders’ far-right Freedom party (PVV) on seven seats. The margin of error was one seat, suggesting a potential tie.

Both sides declared victory. Bas Eickhout, the veteran Green MEP who is his group’s joint lead candidate, said: “The narrative of the rise of the far right has been beaten. This is a message for the rest of Europe: go out and vote!”

Wilders said he was “so proud” of his party’s results in the last year, citing its first place in national elections that propelled it into a governing coalition for the first time, and its best ever result in the European vote. In the last European elections, in 2019, the PVV won only one seat.

Voters in Ireland and the Czech Republic were voting on Friday, and polls are due to open in Latvia, Malta, Slovakia and Italy on Saturday. Voting in Italy continues on Sunday.

The majority of EU citizens, including in the biggest member states, France, Germany, Spain and Poland, will vote on Sunday, and a fairly definitive estimate of results is expected in the early hours of Monday.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, who is running for a second term, was campaigning in Austria for her centre-right European People’s party on Friday. Von der Leyen, who has pledged more European cooperation on defence and a new “structure” to combat foreign interference in EU politics, has urged people to vote for “a strong Europe … that can defend itself”.

My ballot paper was the almost as long. I made sure to give me vote all the way down, as you should, but the major take away was the amount of far-right candiates who are all fishing in the same small poll here. Doubt it will have any impact.

On the Dutch elections it just appears to be a wash. EPP lost 1 or 2 seats to the fringe grouping but it appear the SDs and the Greens gain a few.

Groupings are the key here. As long as the EPP, SD and the Green hold the power in the European Parliament the rest doesn't really matter.

As our Irish correspondent, how are things right now? I thought things were relatively normal over there, until the riot and Conor Macgregor informed me that you have a burgeoning far-right anti-immigration movement going.

(Which, gotta say, based on Ireland's history is... well it's totally human but you get what I mean.)

As far as those riots go, you are looking at something that happened around a single street amplified on social media by certain invdivduals here and them echoed by bigger voices who patently had no idea what they were talking about, both left and right.

It was a tragic event entirely exploited by certain actors to either start looting on O’Connell Street/Henry Street or to generate more interest in your social media presence. All the while exploiting probably the most disadvantaged area in the country.

As a said before I’m very much left of centre politically but I also recognize the problem here in you create generations living off the state. Not sure you can do anything about it bar slow methodical change like in Ballymun. Removing those benefits only drives them to crime and we as a wider society like those safety nets anyway.

So will it happen again? I’ve no doubt. Happened before and the trigger that time was a mooted Orange Order parade. So they will find the excuse.

Is it wide spread? I mean you can see the odd “protest” outside of areas where they think will be used by immigrants but I’ll be honest I doubt many of those protesters even vote.

Could a far-right party take root here? Never say never. But colour me shocked if the slew of far-right candidates break even 5% of the votes. We know what side our bread is buttered on and protectionism or ethnic cleansing was tried here before. Neither ended well or even solved the problem they started out to fix.

Edit: Cleaned up grammar. Blaming my phone but we all know that is a lie.

In at least Germany, France, and Austria, most progressive parties have gotten their teeth kicked in today, in favor of right and far-right options.

I hate how short-sighted humanity is.

It's not really a surprise here, at least. For at least the last 2.5 years, the Greens have been blamed for pretty much anything and everything which isn't a blatantly far-right problem.
It's like the German version of "Thanks Obama!".

Their poor communication skills since they became part of the government haven't helped.

Looking less bad than I feared.

On the flipside, there are zero ways to frame "wannabe nazi parties getting a lot larger" in a positive way. So yeah...

And of course Macron is doing his utmost to be stupid. "Oh noes, the neo-nazis did well, lets call for an early, unnecessary election to help them."

Shadout wrote:

.And of course Macron is doing his utmost to be stupid. "Oh noes, the neo-nazis did well, let’s call for an early, unnecessary election to help them."

Macron being Macron, as always…
Leave to him to turn a European election into a national crisis, what a tool.

Eleima wrote:
Shadout wrote:

And of course Macron is doing his utmost to be stupid. "Oh noes, the neo-nazis did well, let’s call for an early, unnecessary election to help them."

Macron being Macron, as always…
Leave to him to turn a European election into a national crisis, what a tool.

I was scratching my head at this as well.

Politico explained his calculus. I don't think this ends well...

Macron’s gamble is a simple one, and is intended to bring Le Pen down to Earth with a bump. While the European election has delivered a decisive victory for the National Rally, legislative elections are unlikely to deliver such a clear win. The National Rally will land more seats in parliament but probably not win enough to be in a position to govern.

It’s basically a referendum with Macron saying to NR voters “put up or shut up”. The reality is a lot of voter treat the European Parliament as a free protest vote as historically the Parliament was pretty toothless. No so anymore. I’d worry France could sleep walk us all into problems even if LePen has dropped most of her more dogmatic solutions.

I’d be less concerned with the nationalist parties as they are fractured and tactless. The like of Meloni are interesting as they are very savvy and work closely with their EU partners and not making every issue some culture war with the EU. She has been rewarded for that, like it or not.

Elsewhere we can see where the far-right has gained power their vote has slipped because reality is never as simple as they present to their base.

Good summary here on how many polls, even the exit ones, turned out to be wrong.

Even the gains for Meloni are not that massive imo. She is basically just getting the votes that the previous right-wing leader, Salvini, got last time
Salvini went from 22 to 8 seats
Meloni went from 10 to 24 seats

Afaik Salvini was substantially more extreme than her (at least publicly), both in regards to EU, and well, fascism, so maybe not a big swing to the right there, but also not a reward for being less extreme.

Still a lot of abstention around here (~60%). The only true victor was the liberals who got in the european parlament for the first time. The far right also got an increase from 2019 but fell very short compared to the last national elections (from 18% to 10%).

So, the far-right got 2.6% of the seats in the local elections here.

Euro elections are still counting. I love our system for the drama alone. Might not be the fastest but I think it's fairer and more transparent as each candiatate gets eliminated. Dublin going down to the wire. 18th count. Always vote the whole way down the ballot kids.

While I don't wish any ill to any politician (more or less) and such attacks are more counter-productive in the long run, I can't help thinking it does Farage good to know a lot of people out there dislike him enough to actually throw things at him.

Good for him or good for us?

Jonman wrote:

Good for him or good for us?

Possibly a bit of both!

I'll say one thing. This assembly dissolving business prompted some people to show their true colors:
French conservative party leader backs alliance with Le Pen, prompting backlash
What the article doesn't say is that this dude is only doing this to save his own seat. Shameful, but not unexpected.

Denmark recalls Korean ramen for being too spicy

Denmark has recalled several spicy ramen noodle products by South Korean company Samyang, claiming that the capsaicin levels in them could poison consumers.

Three fiery flavours of the Samyang instant ramen line are being withdrawn: Buldak 3x Spicy & Hot Chicken, 2x Spicy & Hot Chicken and Hot Chicken Stew.

Denmark's food agency issued the recall and warning on Tuesday, urging consumers to abandon the product.

But the maker Samyang says there's no problem with the quality of the food.

"We understand that the Danish food authority recalled the products, not because of a problem in their quality but because they were too spicy," the firm said in a statement to the BBC.

"The products are being exported globally. But this is the first time they have been recalled for the above reason."

It's unknown if any specific incidents in Denmark had prompted authorities there to take action.

I just bought the Cheese Hot Chicken last Saturday to try it. Now I'm a bit hesitant - not because I'm worried about poisoning; just out of fear of pain

Eleima wrote:

I'll say one thing. This assembly dissolving business prompted some people to show their true colors:
French conservative party leader backs alliance with Le Pen, prompting backlash
What the article doesn't say is that this dude is only doing this to save his own seat. Shameful, but not unexpected.

Mission... not... accomplished

Hopefully at least.

Prederick wrote:

Denmark recalls Korean ramen for being too spicy

Denmark has recalled several spicy ramen noodle products by South Korean company Samyang, claiming that the capsaicin levels in them could poison consumers.

Okay, that is it. I am moving.

I don't think there's ever been a better combination of Story + User Tag + Location on this site.

YouTube prankster voted in as Cyprus MEP

A popular YouTuber from Cyprus has been elected as an independent MEP to the European Parliament.

Fidias Panayiotou has previously described himself as a "professional mistake maker" and some of his online hijinks include trying to hug 100 celebrities - including Elon Musk - and spending a week in a coffin.

The 24-year-old has more than 2.6 million subscribers and - despite having no political experience - garnered the third-largest number of votes with 19.4%.

"It was a shock what happened, a miracle," said Mr Panayiotou.

He told state broadcaster CyBC: "The parties should take it as a warning that they must modernise and listen to the people."

Last year Mr Panayiotou was forced to apologise after he caused outrage in Japan for a YouTube video in which he dodged train fares and a five-star hotel breakfast bill.

The clip, which racked up millions of views, saw him travel across Japan on its famed bullet train, while dodging fares by hiding in toilets and feigning illness.

But on Sunday, he celebrated his win with a gathering at Eleftheria Square in the island's capital Nicosia, where he said: "We are writing history. Not just in Cyprus, but internationally."

According to Politico, Mr Panayiotou declared in January he would run in the polls.

Appearing on Cypriot TV, Alpha Cyprus - where he wore trainers, shorts, a suit jacket and three neck ties - he admitted that he had never voted, knew little about politics and the EU, but that he could no longer stand the continued rule of "nerds" in Brussels.

When Mr Panayiotou submitted his candidacy in April, he admitted that his goal was not to get elected but to motivate young people to get involved in politics.

The Mediterranean island nation has a population of about 900,000, of whom more than 683,000 were registered to vote in the weekend's polls.

Turnout in Cyprus was at just under 59% - up from 45% in the 2019 elections, with analysts attributing the rise in part to the "Fidias factor".

According analysis of exit poll data by news site Philenews, Mr Panayiotou won 40% of the votes from the 18-24 age group and 28% of votes from the 25-34 group.

Six Cypriot MEPs were elected.

Mr Panayiotou came third behind the conservative DISY (25%) which retained its two MEPs, and the communist party AKEL (22%) which lost one of its two MEPs.

Cypriot voters also elected an MEP from the ultranationalist party ELAM (11%) and the centrist party Diko (10%).

Prederick wrote:

Denmark recalls Korean ramen for being too spicy

Denmark has recalled several spicy ramen noodle products by South Korean company Samyang, claiming that the capsaicin levels in them could poison consumers.

Three fiery flavours of the Samyang instant ramen line are being withdrawn: Buldak 3x Spicy & Hot Chicken, 2x Spicy & Hot Chicken and Hot Chicken Stew.

Denmark's food agency issued the recall and warning on Tuesday, urging consumers to abandon the product.

But the maker Samyang says there's no problem with the quality of the food.

"We understand that the Danish food authority recalled the products, not because of a problem in their quality but because they were too spicy," the firm said in a statement to the BBC.

"The products are being exported globally. But this is the first time they have been recalled for the above reason."

It's unknown if any specific incidents in Denmark had prompted authorities there to take action.

The article doesn't say what the levels the ramen has, but high levels of capsaicin is known to cause health problems and be especially dangerous for kids. One 14 year old actually died from one of those stupid "hot chip challenge" things.

The second Leaders "debate" took place tonight on UK TV.

All I can say is that back in 1997 not even John Major looked anywhere near as defeated as Rishi Sunak currently does. The Conservatives have given up on this election.

Sorbicol wrote:

All I can say is that back in 1997 not even John Major looked anywhere near as defeated as Rishi Sunak currently does. The Conservatives have given up on this election.

Let them eat cake.

All I remember of John Major are the impressions they did of him on the original Whose Line Is It Anyway?