Anti-EU movement gets a push after Election
The disappointing voter turnout in last week’s EU Parliamentary election is now being used as a staging point for the biggest debate gripping EU today: Euroscepticism or anti-EU integration.
Long-time anti-EU supporter British Prime Minister David Cameron led the charge in Tuesday’s EU Summit by saying the international policy-making body is ‘too big, too bossy, too interfering.’ Some of the criticisms targetting the EU are:
- the EU limits the powers of its 28-member states
- the EU meddles on small issues while ignores priority issues
- the EU is unable to address unemployment
The voter turnout that favoured parties with anti-EU sentiments also showed that citizens are ready for a change. These parties include the UK Independence Party which topped British polls and the French extreme-right National Front which dominated its rivals.
French President François Hollande, who formerly championed for EU union, has also switched sides and said the EU ‘must be more focused on its priorities, show more efficiency where it is needed and not add to things where it is unnecessary.’
Hollande also criticised outgoing EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso by saying ‘it is the practice that needs to change. It is simplification that is called for.’
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte echoed the sentiment, adding ‘The answer to the vote is less rules and less meddling from Europe.’ Meanwhile, Cameron said Britain will reach a referendum on the issue by 2017, raising the possibility that Britain may leave the EU.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed to be welcoming this debate when she said that since no group distinctly held the majority of parliament, ‘therefore we must surely also look at a wider set of personalities.’
King’s College London Professor of European Politics Anand Menon predicts that as more EU leaders talk about anti-EU integration, more people will follow, leading to reforms.
Experts are set to see what will happen in the next battle between pro and anti-EU integration supporters in October, when Commissioner Barroso vacates his seat.