The tides in Europe are changing. Anti-liberal populism has spread throughout Europe and it is more serious than it seems, threatening to dethrone the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. However, the end is not near. Thanks to the new current, the existing parties are being split and the new parties are formed with the leaders who lean towards the right.
Currently, there are two major camps in Europe. In the one corner there are countries led by Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron and despite their differences on various issues, they represent liberal Europe. In the other corner, we have the Hungarian leader Viktor Orban and the Italian prime minister Matteo Salvini, who advocate illiberal and national solutions.
I am not sure which “current” has the advantage at this moment, but I am tempted to say it is the team Merkel and Macron. However, the leftist movements are as powerful as Germany was on the World Cup in Russia. They have the system, they are playing a good game, they are competitive but they just cannot score and add that finishing touch.
The other side is the one that is moving up the scale in terms of popularity. The rightist movements managed to utilize the situation in the world to attract followers and there are several factors which still contribute to their cause. First of all, we have to mention Brexit. The UK has left the EU, showing the world that the right-wingers can gain a lot of power to change the politics of a country. Speaking of Brexit, Nigel Farage must have been thrilled when this day came and the Brits voted “leave”. Secondly, the refugee crisis in Europe is still ongoing, and this has been something right leaders, especially Orban based their policies on.
But what can liberal Europe do to change this course? As we can see at the World Cup (and again, I am referring to this event), national identity is still deeply rooted in all of us, no matter how far we have gone. While this is something that the rightists use, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing for the left. They have to address those emotional needs and promote a positive and civic patriotism.
There is a struggle for all of those who want to raise awareness and promote the unity of the European Union. The odds are against their favor, the way I see it and I believe that in the future, the right-wing parties will keep getting stronger. But liberal Europe is still not dead and there is a chance for the left wing to save it. They have a system, support and all they need is a good striker, who will hit the net!