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On the evening of May 26, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini commented on the results of the European elections, "A new Europe is born." The party he leads, the League, had just won with 34.3% of the vote. Other parties defined in Europe as "populist" also won: in Hungary, the Fidesz-KDNP alliance (Hungarian Civic Alliance and the Christian Democratic People's Party) received 52.3% of the vote. In Poland, the PiS (Law and Justice) party won 45.4% of the vote. Sebastian Kurz's Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) won 34.6% of the vote and the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), his ally, was awarded 17.2%, despite a recent scandal that led to the resignation of Heinz-Christian Strache, chairma of the FPO, from his post as Vice-Chancellor of Austria (the Kurtz government fell on May 27). In the United Kingdom, the Brexit Party victory -- at 31.6% of the vote -- was a remarkable achievement that signaled the persistent willingness of millions of Britons to leave the European Union. There, the "populist" positions -- the defense of national sovereignty and European civilization, refusal of uncontrolled immigration and diktats of Brussels technocrats -- gained ground.
In many European countries, however, the results of the "populists" were mixed. In France, Marine Le Pen's National Rally finished first, but with 23.3% of the vote: only 0.9% more than The Republic on the Move, created three years ago by Emmanuel Macron. The extreme unpopularity of the French President apparently did not cost him much. In Sweden, the Sweden Democrats received only 15.4%, or two percent less than in the 2018 Swedish general elections. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) received 11%. In Belgium, the Vlams Belang received 11.2% of the vote. In Spain, Vox, with 6.2%, had to deal with even more disappointing results. In the Netherlands, the Forum for Democracy got 10.9% and Geert Wilders's Party for Freedom, which fell to 3.5%, no longer has a seat.
The "populist wave" often mentioned in recent weeks did not overwhelm Europe. "Populist" parties will have only a little more than twenty percent of the seats in the European Parliament: enough to be heard, but not enough to exert influence.
The parties that have ruled Europe for decades obtained weak results, but, with rare exceptions, did not collapse -- and will continue to dominate the European Union. The crushing defeat of the British Conservative Party (8.9%, the lowest in its history) seems to have been the result of Theresa May's inability to deliver Brexit. In France, the sharp downfall of The Republicans (8.5%) and the Socialist Party (6.2%) can be explained by most of their leaders (Republicans and socialists) having joined Macron's The Republic on the Move party two years ago. In Germany, the CDU-CSU alliance obtained only 28.9% of the vote, but it was enough to win nevertheless. The socialist SPD received an honorable score, 15.8%.
In several Western European countries, socialist parties prevailed, indicating that apparently socialism is not losing ground. The Spanish Socialist Party triumphed (32.8%), as well as the Portuguese Socialist Party (33.4%). In the Netherlands, the Labor Party (18.9%) finished first. In Italy, socialists obtained 22%; in Denmark, 21.5%, and in Sweden, 23.6%.
The center-right European People's Party (EPP) and the Party of European Socialists (PES), however, lost ground. Their alliance will have only 43% of the seats. For the first time since 1979, when the first European Parliament elections were held, they will not be able to form a majority, although they nevertheless remain dominant. All the same, they will need allies and will likely find them in ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe), a group composed of center-left parties that support still more abandonment of sovereignty as well as an even more centrally-controlled European Union.
The EPP-PES alliance will also likely find allies in the real winners of the elections: the green parties. The German Greens (20.5% of the vote) finished second. In France, the EELV (Europe Ecology, The Greens), with 13.5% of the votes, finished third. The Greens also showed strength in the Netherlands (10.9%), Sweden (11.4%), Denmark (13.2%), Austria (14.1%) and Belgium (15.2%). As the EPP-PES alliance will rely on those parties to counter and isolate the populist parties, the Greens may gain still more influence -- along with its consequences.
To anyone who has read the Greens' programs, it is evident that they are essentially leftists with an environmental green mask. They support unrestricted immigration and multiculturalism. They are seemingly blind to the dangers arising from the Islamization of Europe and resolutely hostile to any defense of Western civilization, to free enterprise and free markets. They are often in favor of zero growth. Most of them support an apocalyptic vision of climate change and say that the survival of humanity will soon be at stake if Europe does not take drastic measures to "save the planet". All of them are in favor of authoritarian decisions imposed from Brussels on all of Europe.
A European parliament placed under the influence of the Greens will almost certainly accelerate the slide towards more power given to the unelected members of the European Commission, and a phasing out of nuclear energy and fossil fuels. Policies favorable to still more immigration already are in preparation.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán continues to emphasize the dangers of Islamic mass immigration into Europe and has defined Hungary as "the last bastion against Islamization of Europe." Italy's Salvini has said that "Europe is threatened by Islamization" and could become an "Islamic caliphate". Most other "populist" leaders, however, did not take risks and chose not to address that issue. France's Marine Le Pen spoke about "extremist Islamism", but immediately added that most European Muslims integrate. In Britain, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage did not say a word on the subject. Tommy Robinson, who made Islamic danger the main theme of his campaign, was subjected to constant harassment and barely received 2% of the vote. In the Netherlands, the leader of the Forum for Democracy party, Thierry Baudet, defended the same positions as Wilders, but avoided talking about Islam, and Wilders's party was basically defeated.
Europe's severe demographic problems were barely mentioned during the campaign. The idea that a change in population could occur was treated as if it were just a "rightist" fantasy. Facts, however, are hard to ignore. Fertility rates in almost all European countries are well below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. The figure for Italy is 1.45. In Germany it is 1.48; in Spain 1.5; in Hungary 1.4, and in Poland 1.38. The only country in continental Europe where a higher figure exists is France (1.97) -- but France also has the largest Muslim population in Europe, and all available data show that birth rates are far higher in Muslim families. The population of most European countries is decreasing. Italy is losing 250,000 inhabitants a year, equivalent to almost the population of Venice. Germany decided to welcome millions of immigrants to stop its population decline; today, 12% of German citizens are foreign-born. The massive influx of hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants in 2015 was a societal disaster. Integration did not occur. Most of the newcomers are still jobless and rely on welfare to survive. In addition, sexual assault cases increased.
Anti-Semitic attacks have also increased. The situation has now grown so toxic that Felix Klein, the Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Anti-Semitism, recently urged Jews not to wear skullcaps in public. Chancellor Merkel said that, "there is to this day not a single synagogue, not a single day care centre for Jewish children, not a single school for Jewish children that does not need to be guarded by German policemen." Although investigations so far show that most anti-Semitic attacks come from Muslim immigrants, she preferred to speak of the "specters of the past."
The situation in France is not much different. Sammy Ghozlan, director of the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA), alleges that all the anti-Semitic attacks in the country have one thing in common: "the culprit is Muslim". The French government claims that it fights anti-Semitism, but it points only to "rightist and leftist anti-Semitism." It never speaks of Muslim anti-Semitism.
Commenting on the results of the European elections -- and noting that: "populist" movements will have no weight in the European Parliament; that the Greens are gaining ground; that Islamization will not stop, and that anti-Semitism will probably continue to rise -- the journalist Éric Zemmour said on television that Europe is probably on the road to an irreversible decline. The author Renaud Camus also noted in his diary that the European people seem to be choosing euthanasia.
In the first paragraph of The Strange Death of Europe, Douglas Murray stated: "By the end of the lifespan of most people currently alive, Europe will not be Europe".
Despite the enthusiasm of some commentators on the results of "populist" movements, signs seem to show that European elections have not stopped Europe's barreling towards decline. If nothing changes, in a few decades Europe truly could no longer be Europe.
Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.