Connect with us

Latest News

Italy’s populist victory heralds choppy waters for Europe

Published

on

Last September, I sat in the European Parliament in Strasbourg listening to Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union speech.

“The wind is back in Europe’s sails”, he declared.

The President of the European Commission was reflecting on the previous 12 months.

But he was talking nonsense.

His words were a clear demonstration of how out of touch the political elite across Europe often prove themselves to be.

:: Italy election: Populist parties claim right to govern


A man stands to look electoral posters in Pomigliano D'Arco, near Naples, Italy, February 21, 2018



Video:
Italy election: Voters back right-wing and populist parties

Mr Juncker was speaking towards the end of a year which had begun with nervousness.

In early 2017, the centrist moderates who run the majority of countries that make up the European Union were just getting used to the idea of Brexit, and there were rumblings of trouble elsewhere.

So-called populists were riding high in the up-coming elections in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.

Could it happen? Le Pen in France? Wilders in The Netherlands? Hofer in Austria? And what about the AfD in Germany?

:: Italian coalition dealing won’t be pretty

No one had even begun to think about Italy, after all, no election was set there.

The Northern League (as the League was then known) was Italy’s main offering of a hard-right party but it was predominantly a secessionist campaigner and not a player beyond the north.

A comedian with big hair was running a disruptive movement called 5-Star. It appeared to be growing in popularity – but no one was taking it particularly seriously.

The biggest debate was over whether 5-Star was left wing or right. Could it be both? Neither? It confused the establishment centrists. It didn’t conform to the norms of the political spectrum.

What did all this populism and polarisation mean? They didn’t know because they didn’t take enough notice of what was happening.

Some ballot papers are displayed in the poll station on March 4, 2018 in Milan, Italy. The economy and immigration are key factors in the 2018 Italian General Election after parliament was dissolved in December 2017
Image:
Some ballot papers are displayed in a polling station in Milan, Italy

Then the elections began and on the face of it, all was tickety boo. Mr Juncker and his ilk sighed relief after each vote.

In The Netherlands, a hard-right Geert Wilders government was never a genuine prospect because of the country’s proportional representation system. The centrists prevailed.

In France, voters chose a European integrationist – the young, dynamic Macron who has quickly established himself as the new driver of an EU with apparently renewed confidence.

In Austria, the race for the presidency was close and rerun. But the liberal green candidate beat the far-right man with a Nazi past.

And in Germany, the continent’s senior stateswoman prevailed, wounded and limping for several months, but with another centrist pro-EU grand coalition now just weeks away.


AfD supporters celebrate coming third in the German general election



Video:
What next for Germany? Rise of the Far Right mars Merkel win

And so “phew” said the establishment. Mr Juncker made his speech: “The wind is back in Europe’s sails.”

Hardly.

The centrist liberals like Macron, Merkel, Rutte, Van Der Bellen did not prevail because the radical populists failed.

On the contrary – they won in spite of significant gains by the populists and they won because they mimicked some of the populists’ policies.

Close behind each centrist success was a populist runner-up.

From Athens to Barcelona, Calais to Catania, Rome to Paris, it is so easy to find disenfranchised people looking for something different.

Their gripes are the same: they feel forgotten and not listened to. Their worries are almost always the economy and immigration and whether you call them racist or honest, they are voting with their feet.

In the Netherlands, Mr Wilders’ anti-immigration and eurosceptic views were “eloquently” articulated and they resonated.

In Austria, the far-right Freedom Party is now a central part of a right wing coalition government.

In France, Le Pen lost but still made it to the second round of the election with historic gains.

In Germany, despite all its history, a far-right party will, this month, become the official opposition party.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) will be boosted by official opposition funding and seats on influential parliamentary committees.

:: Strong results for anti-establishment in Italy

A woman passes electoral posters in Naples ahead of the polls opening
Image:
A woman passes electoral posters in Naples ahead of the polls opening

Then came Italy this weekend. Here, the populists didn’t just make gains, they won.

Of all the EU establishment’s possible nightmare scenarios for Italy, one of the worst materialised.

The League and the 5-Star Movement are euro-sceptic, anti-immigration and led by untested radicals.

Results suggest as many as one in three people voted for the 5-Star Movement. The League could be the largest party in the centre-right coalition, which may get the arithmetic to form a government.

As populists they have both promised their voters the earth but may struggle to deliver. They have been chosen by the voters to fix a broken system but have said little about their alternative.


Germans protest after the country's elections



Video:
What does the AfD party stand for?

And if you are looking for a clear demonstration of why people feel they’re up against a broken system, glance back to Germany.

In last September’s federal election, the German public roundly rejected the centre-left SPD party, giving it a kicking at the polls. It performed worse than it has ever done.

And yet, the messy nature of democracy has put the SPD back in government.

This weekend they agreed to form a coalition with Mrs Merkel’s conservatives. That will only add frustration to those who think their vote doesn’t count for much and their view isn’t heard.

Politics is polarised and fragmenting in pretty much every EU country. For Mr Juncker to say otherwise is plain wrong.

Reacting to his far-right party’s victory in Italy, Matteo Salvini said he needed to thank Mr Juncker. “Every time he speaks, I get more votes,” he said, with glee and sarcasm.

In Italy, the wind is in his sails.

Source link

Latest News

Christian Eriksen may not play football professionally again, says sports cardiologist | World News

Published

on

Danish footballer Christian Eriksen is unlikely to play professionally again after suffering what was reported to be a cardiac arrest, a leading sports cardiologist has said.

The midfielder collapsed on the pitch during his country’s Euro 2020 game against Finland and had to be resuscitated before being taken to hospital.

Eriksen, 29, was in a stable condition on Saturday night but it has not yet been publicly confirmed what was behind his illness.

Professor Sanjay Sharma is professor of sports cardiology at St George’s University in London and worked with Eriksen during his time at Tottenham Hotspur.

He said: “Clearly something went terribly wrong.

“But they managed to get him back, the question is what happened? And why did it happen?

“This guy had normal tests all the way up to 2019 so how do you explain this cardiac arrest?”

UK football bodies were likely to be “very strict” about allowing Eriksen to play again, he added.

“His cardiac arrest has rocked the entire nation today and that’s what happens. It’s not just them that it affects, it’s the psyche of so many people.

“The good news is he will live, the bad news is he was coming to the end of his career, so would he play another professional football game? That I can’t say.

“In the UK he wouldn’t play. We’d be very strict about it.”

Prof Sharma chairs the FA’s expert cardiac consensus group and is a consultant for charity Cardiac Risk In The Young.

He said the causes of Eriksen’s cardiac arrest could include an unidentified health condition or a high temperature, but reports that the footballer was awake in hospital were “a very good sign”.

“The fact he’s stable and awake, his outlook is going to be very good,” he told the PA news agency.

“I don’t know whether he’ll ever play football again.

“Without putting it too bluntly, he died today, albeit for a few minutes, but he did die and would the medical professional allow him to die again?

“The answer is no.”

Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba experienced a similar collapse after suffering a cardiac arrest during a match against Tottenham Hotspur in March 2012.

He had hoped to resume his career but retired from professional football five months later on medical advice.

One of his doctors, Sam Mohiddin, told the BBC: “The cardiac arrest is a moment of extreme peril.

“If you don’t get someone out of cardiac arrest things are over. You will not survive.

“The ongoing risk to an individual to an extent depends on the precise cause of that cardiac arrest.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Latest News

G7 summit: Sir David Attenborough to tell G7 leaders they face biggest climate change decisions ‘in human history’ | Politics News

Published

on

Sir David Attenborough will warn G7 leaders the decisions they make this decade are “the most important in human history” as he urges them to take action on climate change.

The 95-year-old environmentalist will address the heads of the world’s leading democracies at their summit in Carbis Bay on Sunday.

During their final day of discussions, Sir David will call on them to take steps to secure the future of the planet which he says may be on the “verge of destabilising’.

David Attenborough attends a conference about the COP26 UN Climate Summit, in London
Image:
Sir David will address G7 leaders on the final day of their summit

It comes after various climate groups staged protests across Cornwall to lobby G7 leaders on environmental issues this weekend.

In their conclusions from this weekend’s summit, G7 leaders are expected to include a pledge to almost halve their emissions by 2030 relative to 2010.

This will also include promises to end almost all direct government support for fossil fuels and the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Red arrows fly over Cornwall for G7 summit

And the G7 is also expected to commit to increasing their contributions to international climate finance to $100bn (£70bn) a year to help developing countries deal with the impact of climate change and support sustainable growth.

More on David Attenborough

Ahead of his address to world leaders, Sir David said: “The natural world today is greatly diminished. That is undeniable.

“Our climate is warming fast. That is beyond doubt. Our societies and nations are unequal and that is sadly is plain to see.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.S. President Joe Biden, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in attend a working session during G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, June 12, 2021. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS
Image:
On Sunday, G7 leaders will again be joined by guest nations Australia, South Korea, South Africa and India.

“But the question science forces us to address specifically in 2021 is whether as a result of these intertwined facts we are on the verge of destabilising the entire planet?

“If that is so, then the decisions we make this decade – in particular the decisions made by the most economically advanced nations – are the most important in human history.”

The G7 is also set to endorse an agreement on halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030, including a target to conserve or protect at least 30% of land and 30% of ocean globally by the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has used the summit to launch a £500m fund to support countries, including Ghana, Indonesia and Pacific island states, to tackle unsustainable fishing, protect and restore coastal ecosystems like mangroves and coral reefs, and reduce marine pollution.

“Protecting our planet is the most important thing we as leaders can do for our people,” he said.

Climate protesters march along Carbis Bay near St Ives
Image:
Climate protesters march along Carbis Bay near St Ives

“There is a direct relationship between reducing emissions, restoring nature, creating jobs and ensuring long-term economic growth.

“As democratic nations we have a responsibility to help developing countries reap the benefits of clean growth through a fair and transparent system.

“The G7 has an unprecedented opportunity to drive a global Green Industrial Revolution, with the potential to transform the way we live.”

For their final day of discussions on Sunday, G7 leaders will once again be joined by guest nations Australia, South Korea, South Africa and India.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

What is the G7?

On Saturday night, the leaders enjoyed a beach BBQ in Carbis Bay and witnessed a flypast by the Red Arrows.

Critics questioned the display by nine aerobatic jet aircraft amid the summit’s focus on climate change.

Source link

Continue Reading

Latest News

G7 summit: Sir David Attenborough to tell world leaders their decisions are ‘most important in human history’ | Politics News

Published

on

Sir David Attenborough will warn G7 leaders the decisions they make this decade are “the most important in human history” as he urges them to take action on climate change.

The 95-year-old environmentalist will address the heads of the world’s leading democracies at their summit in Carbis Bay on Sunday.

During their final day of discussions, Sir David will call on them to take steps to secure the future of the planet.

It comes after various climate groups staged protests across Cornwall to lobby G7 leaders on environmental issues this weekend.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Red arrows fly over Cornwall for G7 summit

In their conclusions from this weekend’s summit, G7 leaders are expected to include a pledge to almost halve their emissions by 2030 relative to 2010.

This will also include promises to end almost all direct government support for fossil fuels and the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars.

And the G7 is also expected to commit to increasing their contributions to international climate finance to $100bn (£70bn) a year to help developing countries deal with the impact of climate change and support sustainable growth.

More on David Attenborough

Ahead of his address to world leaders, Sir David said: “The natural world today is greatly diminished. That is undeniable.

“Our climate is warming fast. That is beyond doubt. Our societies and nations are unequal and that is sadly is plain to see.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.S. President Joe Biden, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in attend a working session during G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, June 12, 2021. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS
Image:
On Sunday, G7 leaders will again be joined by guest nations Australia, South Korea, South Africa and India.

“But the question science forces us to address specifically in 2021 is whether as a result of these intertwined facts we are on the verge of destabilising the entire planet?

“If that is so, then the decisions we make this decade – in particular the decisions made by the most economically advanced nations – are the most important in human history.”

The G7 is also set to endorse an agreement on halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030, including a target to conserve or protect at least 30% of land and 30% of ocean globally by the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has used the summit to launch a £500m fund to support countries, including Ghana, Indonesia and Pacific island states, to tackle unsustainable fishing, protect and restore coastal ecosystems like mangroves and coral reefs, and reduce marine pollution.

“Protecting our planet is the most important thing we as leaders can do for our people,” he said.

Climate protesters march along Carbis Bay near St Ives
Image:
Climate protesters march along Carbis Bay near St Ives

“There is a direct relationship between reducing emissions, restoring nature, creating jobs and ensuring long-term economic growth.

“As democratic nations we have a responsibility to help developing countries reap the benefits of clean growth through a fair and transparent system.

“The G7 has an unprecedented opportunity to drive a global Green Industrial Revolution, with the potential to transform the way we live.”

For their final day of discussions on Sunday, G7 leaders will once again be joined by guest nations Australia, South Korea, South Africa and India.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

What is the G7?

On Saturday night, the leaders enjoyed a beach BBQ in Carbis Bay and witnessed a flypast by the Red Arrows.

Critics questioned the display by nine aerobatic jet aircraft amid the summit’s focus on climate change.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending