The rise of the right could certainly complicate decision-making processes at the EU level, and we can assume that the conservative Hungarian-Polish bloc will now be less isolated on some issues
I wouldn’t say that the election success of the far right in these two states comes as a surprise. Sweden’s Sverigedemokraterna party entered the national parliament back in 2010, with 5.7% of the vote, and has been growing constantly since then, while the right has never ceased to remain relevant in Italy. The agenda of the election in Sweden, instead of socio-democratic themes of the environment and social justice, was dominated by the issues of crime and the energy crisis, which is precisely what the right owes its rise to. Anti-immigration sentiment has also long been present in Italy, where voters didn’t so much choose between left and right as between rival right-wing options. What is nonetheless interesting is how the far right successfully “rebranded” itself in both cases. Realising that its extreme stances would forever condemn it to the political margins, the far right has de-radicalised itself and moved closer to the political mainstream. Voting for such parties became less taboo as they became ever-more desirable coalition partners. Sweden’s Sverigedemokraterna party, which in 2006 changed its party logo to a more harmless flower symbol, won 20.5% of the vote, while the Brothers of Italy party, which distanced itself (at least nominally) from the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement that represents its roots, will – with 26% of votes – be the largest party in the parliament.
When it comes to the Western Balkans, I would dare to claim that it’s irrelevant whether the EU is dominated by eurooptimistic or eurosceptic forces… the only difference I see is that eurosceptic governments would be more honest and open about their unwillingness to expand further focus european elections
The rise of the right could certainly complicate decision-making processes at the EU level, and we can assume that the conservative Hungarian-Polish bloc will now be less isolated on some issues. Giorgia Meloni, for example, has allies in Spain’s Vox party, while the leader of Romania’s AUR openly expresses admiration for her. Importantly, as in the case of the 2016 U.S. elections, the success of the right can be interpreted as the revenge of the “little man” and a signal to European bureaucrats and liberal elites that ignoring him will create a vindictive and bitter electorate that will benefit populist parties.
When it comes to the Western Balkans, I would dare to claim that it’s irrelevant whether the EU is dominated by Eurooptimistic or Eurosceptic forces. With further expansion, the EU becomes increasingly difficult to manage, and individual experts point out that this has troubled the Union since 2004. Best testifying to enlargement fatigue is the statement of French President Macron – “if it isn’t functional with 28 members, how do you think it will function with 33 or 34 members?” European politicians simply don’t know what to do with this region, and it seems that their best strategy for now is to postpone the decision until some unspecified future juncture. The only difference I see is that Eurosceptic governments would be more honest and open about their unwillingness to expand further.