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The Current State of European Politics

Image credit: Hungary Today

Analysing the political landscape in Europe following the result of the Italian referendum and Austrian election.

Following the weekend’s events in Italy and Austria we now can clearly see European politics in a period of uncertainty. In their referendum, 59% of Italians voted against the proposed reform package put forward by President Matteo Renzi. His resignation is the latest in a string of political events that continue a downward slide for left leaning parties across the continent. The vote of no confidence for Renzi’s leftist agenda centred around economic growth is a win for the Eurosceptic 5 Star Movement whose supporters grow by the day. The Euro fell to a 20-month low following the result whilst banking shares in Italy are poised for their worst year since 2011.

It was interesting to see that in Austria’s general election the public decided to opt for Alexander Van der Bellen, the independent leftist, over Norbert Hofer the right-wing candidate who was his main opposition. However, 46% voted for Hofer and despite the result there has been an increase in right-wing popularity and Austria is a country that has become more intolerant. In other news the U.K. will have less than 18 months to negotiate its departure from the EU once it receives notification in March 2017. That would give the U.K. until October 2018 to broker a deal.

The upcoming French elections look like they’ll be won by either the centre-right candidate Francois Fillon or far-right candidate Marine Le Pen of the National Front. This would leave Europe’s five biggest countries by economy all under rule by right-leaning parties. Worrying times ahead in Europe it seems for leftists – especially those optimistic for a stronger, united European Union. Let’s face it, it’s been a dreadful year for the EU.

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