March 2, 2024 4:02 am

EU Integration Stopped and Is Now Headed in Reverse – Citizen Watch Report

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via Mike Shedlock:

The EU has always been dysfunctional. But integration and cooperation are now going backward. Hoping to stop the threat, Marine le Pen faces charges dating back to 2015.

The EU’s New Green Deal is headed in reverse along with integration and finance. Eurointelligence calls it The Wilders effect

Italy has Giorgia Meloni, Hungary has Viktor Orbán, Slovenia has Robert Fico and the Netherlands will soon have Geert Wilders. It is difficult to see an alternative to a government led by Wilders, one of the most recognizable and flamboyant of Europe’s right wing leaders.

Wilders’ victory cannot be reduced to the rise in immigration. The Netherlands has, by comparison with Germany, the UK and France, a relatively low rate of net immigration.

But Wilders, too, will need partners to govern. The most important ally will be Peter Omtzigt, a former Christian Democrat, who founded his own party in August this year, called the New Social Contract. Like Wilders, he, too, is a eurosceptic.

Another important partner will be the Farmer-Citizen Movement, which is opposed to Green policies. It increased its share of the vote from 1 to 7 MPs. But its biggest political coup were the Senate elections in March when they became the largest party. Governments need majorities in both houses of the Dutch parliament to pass legislation. The Farmer-Citizen Movement’s big theme then was a protest against government plans to cut nitrogen emissions in half by 2030, which would require a massive drop in livestock and the use of fertilizers.

Nowhere will the shift to the right in Dutch politics be more painfully felt than in Brussels. The EU has experience in dealing with populists, like Orbán or the outgoing Polish government. Wilders is a much more potent threat because the Netherlands is the third largest net contributor to the EU budget.

With his 37 seats Wilders will not be able to trigger a Nexit – a Dutch exit from the EU. But he and other right-wing leaders in Europe have shifted strategy. They no longer campaign for exit from the EU or the euro. They now prefer to fight the EU from within. Without the support of the Netherlands in particular, it will become harder for the EU to pursue its flagship projects.

The European elections in June next year are potentially a big moment for the parties of the right. They are all polling well. Germany’s AfD, quite possibly the most extremist of the lot, is at 21% according to the latest polls (www.politico.eu/europe-poll-of-polls/germany/). Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy are still the most popular party in Italy at 29% (www.politico.eu/europe-poll-of-polls/italy/). Marine Le Pen’s National Rally is at 24% (www.politico.eu/europe-poll-of-polls/france/). These numbers, if they hold up, would point to a large increase in the share of the two right-wings blocks in the European Parliament.

Wilders and Meloni will also have the opportunity to dispatch their own European Commissioners to Brussels. Last time, both countries sent politicians from the centre-left. The populists will be encroaching at all levels – Commission, Council and Parliament.

I expect the Green Deal to be watered down as just happened in the UK. I also struggle to see the unanimity required for Ukraine to become an EU member. There were periods in the past 70 years where European integration ground to a halt. Now, for the first time, it threatens to go into reverse.

The Price for Battling from Within

  • Netherlands: Wilders will have to give up on Nexit.
  • France: Marine le Pen already threw in the towel on Frexit.
  • Italy: Meloni was forced to give up Italexit.

That’s the price to gain national appeal and lead a government. But the gain is ability to sink EU Green policy, integration, immigration, and budget priorities.

Eurointelligence calls this heading backward. Others might see it as finally moving forward.

Le Pen is the biggest threat of all. So guess what’s about to happen.

Marine Le Pen to Stand Trial for Embezzling EU Funds

France24 reports French Far-Right Marine Le Pen to Stand Trial for Embezzling EU Funds

The former presidential candidate will in March be joined by 26 other members of the National Rally (RN) party in the dock, all accused of setting up a system for embezzling EU money to hire staff in France.

The group is accused of using EU parliamentary funds to pay for assistants who in fact worked for the National Rally party, formerly called the National Front.

The charges carry sentences of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to double the alleged funds embezzled. If convicted, the court could also declare Le Pen ineligible for office for up to 10 years – threatening her plan to make a fourth run for the French presidency.

These charges date to 2015. So why now?

The French Elite Have Realized that Marine Le Pen Might Win

The UK Spectator reports The French Elite Have Realized that Marine Le Pen Might Win

You can tell that French elections are in the air because legal proceedings are being taken against a leading figure of the French right. So it was with François Fillon of the Républicain party, a key contender in the 2017 presidential elections, whose hopes of winning were dashed during the campaign by legal investigation into alleged misuse of parliamentary funds, subsequently ending his political career. So it is now with Marine Le Pen of the Rassemblement National, as France gears up for the 9 June 2024 European parliament elections, for which her party is the clear front-runner.

Iif one adds public service broadcasting, France’s leading newspapers like Le Monde and the metropolitan elite, there is a growing panic-stricken realisation that in the near future Marine Le Pen and the Rassemblement National may be heading for power. Until now France’s elite has been in denial about this prospect, in the deluded belief that this could not happen in the country of the Rights of Man. But the writing has been on the wall for years. With the victory of nationalist right movements across the EU, from Sweden to Italy and the Netherlands, it only seems a question of time.

The EU itself is petrified at the prospect. In preparation for the 2024 elections in which the Rassemblement National is expected to wipe the board, Paris has been peppered with EU posters displaying carefree young individuals with the words: ‘Democracy, diversity and climate protection. Europe is you.’ Or ‘Unity, security and renewable energy. Europe is you’. All feature the slogan (in English): ‘You are EU’. The fear is poor youth turnout, especially the youth demographic that doesn’t yet vote for the RN (as many over the age of 25 do).

This week Le Monde featured a longitudinal study on how French attitudes to the Front National/RN have evolved over the last 40 years. The yearly barometer of French opinion shows for the first time a majority believing that the ‘extreme right’ party will soon participate in government.

The number of French who disagree with the RN’s ideas is the lowest ever at 54 per cent, while most people believe the party is no threat and 65 per cent believe it will come to power.

Now that the denial is lifting amongst France’s elite, be prepared for more dirty tricks to block Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella from power.

By any strange coincidence does this at all sound familiar with events in the US?

 

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Original Source: EU Integration Stopped and Is Now Headed in Reverse – Citizen Watch Report

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