Monday, June 8, 2009


2009 European elections: the right-wing parties make headway, but the line of human rights holds its ground

by EveryOne Group

Bruxelles, June 8, 2009.

As expected, the international economic crisis and the lack of a precise identity of European Socialism are the main reasons the right-wing forces have received such strong support from voters.

The failure to apply the international laws that forbid xenophobic propaganda (a phenomenon made possible precisely because of the weakness of the European left-wing parties) has certainly contributed to this shift in European political power - and particularly to the victory of the xenophobic, anti-European and neo-Nazi parties. With the new legislature, the number of MEPs will fall from 785 to 763.

As the international analysts have pointed out, the most worrying figure is the low turnout at the polling stations: an all-time low, the result, more than likely, of a lack of knowledge by European society of the significance of the European Union and its aims. Most of the parties in the 27 Member States use the European vote to test their own strength and to increase their own area of influence. The press also follows this line, omitting to inform people of the history, the achievements and the political horizons of the European Union. One important result is certainly the holding ground of the transnational movement for human and civil rights and the environment.

The Greens, who (as well as the protection of the environment) have made the appeals for the protection of peoples and minorities their own, have increased their number of seats from 43 to 51. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), which has made human rights its strong point, previously had 100 MEPs in the European Parliament.

Despite the defeat of Bayrou’s MoDem and the lack of support from the Democratic Party, ALDE has held on to 81 seats, which will be added to by the Irish Fianna Fáil party. GUE/NGL, from the radical left, retains 33 of its 41 seats. The PES (Party of European Socialists), which has not always been active in the field of human rights, finds its seats reduced from 194 to 159, while the “non-members” have a majority that looks towards progressive values.

The numbers speak quite clearly: the movement for human, and civil rights and the environment (made up of Socialists, Greens, Liberal Democrats, the radical Left and “non-member” liberals) holds a total of 380 seats out of 736. This is already a majority, which will often be flanked by the truly Christian members of the European People’s Party when voting on laws against the persecution and discrimination of peoples, and in the pro-environment campaigns and those for fundamental liberties. EveryOne Group itself already has a constructive dialogue with these MEPs, in our common aim to combat xenophobic, racist, negationist and neo-Nazi movements. Now that the feared 2009 elections are over, we can look forward to the future of Europe with confidence - because when it comes to human rights, the 27 Member States (despite the increasingly shameless propaganda from intolerant parties) still speak the same language.

The presence of the Radical Party in the European Parliament will be greatly missed: the party has fought a hard and courageous battle for civility, but failed to reach the 4% threshold. This, however, does not mean they will cease their efforts for the new European Union, perhaps working alongside the Greens, and once more with EveryOne Group, in the fundamental non-violent battles for human and civil rights and for the environment.

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