When Donald Trump ascended to the presidency, many worried that Europe would follow his lead and be drowned by a wave of right wing populism. Tony Burman writes that what many feared hasn't happened:
Here in Germany, Angela Merkel has an 11-point polling lead in her campaign to win a fourth term as chancellor. Her party currently stands at 36 per cent; far down the list is Germany’s far-right party at only nine per cent. In neighbouring France, newly elected President Emmanuel Macron — Merkel’s new best friend — has just led his party to an overwhelming majority in France’s National Assembly.Perhaps foreshadowing Germany’s vote in September, Europe’s far-right parties have fared poorly in recent elections in Austria, the Netherlands, Britain and, most recently, France. In addition, economic growth throughout much of Europe is expanding faster than projected.
The Europeans have been down that road before. And they don't want to go there again:
Polls suggest that Trump’s disruptive presidency has horrified most Europeans and has made them more likely to vote for leaders whom they see as moderate.This has meant an apparent changing-of-the-guard in terms of the traditional leadership of the western alliance. A deepening relationship between Germany and France — between Merkel and Macron — will have serious implications. Instead of Trump, these European leaders will increasingly be seen as the most credible standard bearers of the world’s liberal and democratic order.
And, in the wake of Theresa May's defeat, some are suggesting that Britons might want to seriously re-think their decision to head for the exits:
As negotiations began over the details of the proposed “divorce,” European Council president Donald Tusk suggested that it’s not too late for Britain to change its mind and remain within the European Union. Quoting lyrics from a John Lennon song, Tusk said: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”But his remarks likely fit into the same category as that other bit of breathtaking Brexit news this week.When the Queen opened the new session of the U.K. parliament on Wednesday, she wore a hat decorated with an arc of papal blue flowers each with a yellow disc at its centre, and this created a storm on Twitter.
In the words of the right-wing Daily Mail newspaper, her hat looked “suspiciously like” the European Union flag, prompting the BBC to quote another Twitter posting: “Nice to see queenie dressed as the EU flag.”
Who knows how this story will end?
Image: New York Times