European Parliament elections: Regional, int’l implications and relations with Middle East, Africa

Tarek Radwan
Wednesday 12 Jun 2024

The recent European Union elections have witnessed a notable rise in support for far-right and populist parties across various member states, with this surge in their popularity raising concerns about the EU’s future direction and its impact on key issues like immigration, trade, and democratic values protection.

 
Rise of far-right parties in EU
 

The ascent of far-right parties in Europe has been a gradual process that can be attributed to various social, economic, and political factors.

One of the main drivers of this trend has been the ongoing refugee crisis, which has stirred up fears and anxieties among many Europeans regarding the cultural and economic impact of immigration.

The influx of refugees from conflict-ridden countries in the Middle East and Africa has fueled support for anti-immigration parties that promise to curb migration and protect national identities.

Another contributing factor is the perceived failure of mainstream political parties or movements to address the concerns of ordinary citizens.

Many voters feel disillusioned with traditional political elites and view far-right parties as a viable alternative that will shake up the status quo.

These parties often capitalize on populist rhetoric and nationalist sentiments to appeal to voters who feel marginalized or ignored by the political establishment.

Implications for EU
 

The rise of far-right parties in Europe has raised concerns about potential repercussions for key issues such as immigration, trade, and democracy.

One of the most pressing challenges facing the EU is how to manage the refugee crisis and meet the needs of vulnerable populations seeking asylum in Europe.

Far-right parties often advocate for anti-foreigner and isolationist policies that threaten the EU's core values, such as solidarity and cooperation among member states.

Moreover, these parties often call for protectionist measures that restrict free trade and promote nationalist economic policies.

This could lead to increased tensions within the EU and strained relations with other international partners, potentially resulting in economic instability and uncertainty.

Impact on Middle East, Africa relations
 

The rise of far-right movements in the EU elections has significant implications for the future direction of Europe and the key issues shaping its governance.

While the success of these parties reflects a growing discontent with traditional policies and a desire for change, it also poses challenges to the fundamental values and principles of the European project.

It is crucial for European leaders and policymakers to address the root causes of this trend and work towards comprehensive and sustainable solutions that uphold democratic ideals and foster cooperation among member states.

Only through collective action and mutual respect can the EU overcome the challenges posed by the rise of right-wing extremism and build a stronger, more united Europe in the future.

The rise of these movements in the European elections also has far-reaching consequences for relations with the Middle East and African countries.

This trend has not gone unnoticed, sparking debate and discussions about the potential implications for international diplomacy and cooperation.

Challenges to international cooperation
 

In addition to the potential impact on EU internal dynamics, the rise of such movements in the EU raises concerns about the future of multilateral agreements and alliances.

Parties with nationalist agendas often advocate for a more isolationist approach to foreign policy, prioritizing bilateral relations over multilateral cooperation.

This could weaken the EU's influence in global affairs and fragment collective efforts to address common challenges.

Implications for Middle East, Africa
 

As the momentum of far-right movements continues to grow in the EU, it is important to consider the potential future developments in relations with Middle East and African countries.

One possible outcome is increased polarization and division within the EU as far-right parties push for policies that prioritize national interests over collective action.

This could lead to tensions with countries in the Middle East and Africa, making cooperation on issues such as immigration, security, and development more difficult.

Another potential development is a shift towards a more transactional approach to foreign policy, with far-right parties prioritizing bilateral relations and trade deals that serve their domestic interests.

This could weaken the EU's role as a global player and diminish its influence in shaping international norms and standards.

Middle East and African countries may seek to strengthen relations with individual EU member states rather than dealing with the EU as a bloc, further complicating diplomatic efforts. 

Conclusion
 

The rise of far-right movements in the EU elections has had a profound impact on relations with Middle Eastern and African countries.

The populist rhetoric and nationalist agendas promoted by these parties have strained diplomatic relations, raised concerns about the future of multilateral cooperation, and threatened the stability of international alliances.

It is essential for policymakers to carefully consider the implications of these trends and work to strengthen comprehensive and cooperative relationships that prioritize mutual interests and shared values.

Only through dialogue, cooperation, and respect for diversity can we address the complex challenges facing our interconnected world.

The impact of the rise of far-right influence in the European Parliament on the balance of power within the parliament remains limited.

This happens as the greatest influence continues to lie with centrist parties represented by the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) and center-left Socialists & Democrats (S&D), in contrast to the radical impact seen in individual countries like France and Germany, where the far-right has achieved unprecedented results.

However, it should not be overlooked that the far-right takes extremely negative positions towards political Islam, particularly the so-called "terrorist" Muslim Brotherhood, and prioritizes stability and combating illegal immigration and terrorism over issues of promoting democracy and human rights.

 

* The writer is the chairman of the Human Rights Committee at the House of Representatives.

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