It seemed not too long ago that whispers of a new Europe; one that advocated a nationalist ideology over the prevalent globalist strategy would emerge to challenge the United States as the political and economic world leader. Today those whispers have become loud, pounding voices that have echoed across the continent.
The Europe that was envisioned as a single community under the command of the European Union is in trouble and its globalist advocacy appears to be nearing its twilight.
The recent victory of conservative Austrian People’s Party candidate Sebastian Kurz in the Austrian elections is a public rebuke of the elites. The 31-year old Kurz’s victory was made all the more significant as his Austrian right wing party is poised to form a coalition with the nationalist Freedom Party and become the second largest party in the parliament, overcoming the Social Democrat Party.
Angela Merkel’s close call as the re-elected Chancellor of Germany foreshadowed or perhaps set the path of Kurz’s victory. Merkel’s conservative bloc composed of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) did not receive the votes necessary to become the majority coalition in parliament.
The far-right group, Alternative for Germany won nearly 13% of the votes and for the first time in the Bundestag’s history, the nationalists have an influential voice in parliament.
The issue that has loomed large and has greatly contributed to the shift in voter preference is immigration, particularly the surge in Middle East and North Africa or MENA immigration from 2015 to 2016. This period marked the largest migration wave since World War II and marks the largest arrival of immigrants outside the continent. The situation has resulted in the division of the European Union into western and eastern halves when it comes to accommodating mass immigration.
How influential is the issue of immigration? Chancellor Merkel begrudgingly accepted a proposal to impose a 200,000 person limit to the number of immigrants coming over to Germany. This was clearly a politically- motivated compromise to keep the CSU on board.
The rise of the AfD in German politics, the victory of Sebastian Kurz and the struggle in Spain with Catalonia’s drive to seek its independence from the state provide conclusive proof that the European continent is already riding the wave of nationalism and separatism.
The multicultural policies pushed by the Western European elites have failed miserably in creating an identity for the continent. Instead these policies have encouraged competition between indigenous and immigrant groups for greater space, economic viability and recognition. There is also increasing tension between Europe’s Muslims and the Christian population as more immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries arrive.
As the wave continues to traverse the continent, it becomes more apparent that the post-Cold War European project has nearly run its course. Its vision of a centralized bureaucracy that could provide prosperity through the propagation of a shared economic interest has failed to deliver the national interests of its respective people.