Voters in the Netherlands have handed current Prime Minister Mark Rutte a resounding victory over far-right, anti-EU firebrand Geert Wilders in national elections. Rutte’s centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is projected to win 33 of 150 seats in the Dutch parliament, while Wilders’s Freedom Party (PVV) is set to capture 20, placing him in distant second place.
Rutte’s victory was met with immediate relief from national capitals across Europe. French President François Hollande called it “a clear victory against extremism.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, congratulated the Netherlands on the “great result”.
Elections in the Netherlands – a stable, prosperous country of nearly 17 million – do not generally receive so much international attention or scrutiny.… Seguir leyendo »
With important national elections scheduled this year in the Netherlands, France and Germany, European officials on edge about possible Russian interference are pursuing various measures to counter it.
But with a daily onslaught of fake and misleading news, repeated attempts to hack computer systems of “anti-Moscow” politicians and political parties, their task is immense.
Russian efforts to tilt elections and national referenda to suit its interests are ongoing. According to a report released by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Russia’s influence on the 2016 US election, Putin’s government “has sought to influence elections across Europe”.
Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany’s domestic security agency, also warned of “growing evidence” of Russian attempts to influence Germany’s federal elections, set for September.… Seguir leyendo »
Today, Donald J Trump, the New York City real estate mogul whose outsider campaign led to an upset electoral victory became the 45th President of the United States.
The Conversation Global has invited a panel of international scholars – many of whom also shared their reactions to Trump’s win – to reflect on his presidency and assess its significance for their region.
As a candidate, Trump’s campaign promises included building a border wall with Mexico and banning Muslims immigrants from the US. As president-elect, he called NATO “obsolete” and the European Union “basically a vehicle for Germany”, put the One China policy up for negotiation, and threatened to renegotiate most trade agreements.… Seguir leyendo »
The European Union endured a series of political shocks and strains in 2016 that threatened to tear the bloc apart: an ongoing migration crisis; the United Kingdom’s vote in June to exit the union; lacklustre growth and stubbornly high unemployment in the eurozone; terrorist attacks that killed and injured scores; and surging support for populist and anti-EU political parties.
Against this recent history, there can be no doubt that 2017 will be one of the most important and fateful years in the EU’s six-decade history.
There are five acute dangers facing the EU in 2017. These are not isolated challenges. Instead, they are intertwined and mutually reinforcing.… Seguir leyendo »
In a dramatic day of voting that could have major implications for Europe’s economic and political future, citizens from Italy and Austria cast their ballots in two closely-watched initiatives.
The referendum on Italy’s constitution and the presidential election in Austria were a barometer of the strength and reach of the populist insurgency threatening to upend Europe’s established political order.
Voters in Austria issued a decisive defeat to its far-right candidate. Hours later, Italian voters rejected constitutional reform championed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, leading to his resignation. It also plunged the country into economic and political uncertainty.
With elections in France, the Netherlands, Germany, and now possibly Italy coming in 2017, the next 12 months are shaping up to be seminal for European politics and the future of the European Union.… Seguir leyendo »