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Explaining the European Shift to Right-Wing Candidates

Within the EU, all 27 of the countries within the union hold elections, which take place every five years. This year, 2024, was an election year, with countries casting votes through June 6 - 9. Reps elected to the EU parliament make decisions related to European legislative, budgetary, and supervisory powers. With that, election results in 2024 showcased a rise in right-wing favorability, potentially leading to significant changes in legislative decisions. As there are multiple parties within the EU, the seven parties that comprise the parliament exist on a spectrum from left to right ideologies. This spectrum is divided by the two opposing centrist parties, the ‘Socialist & Democrat’(left-leaning) and the ‘European People’s Party’ (right-leaning). Throughout the EU's history, left-wing parties have had the majority rule in parliament. With the 2024 election results, this majority has shifted in favor of right-wing parties for the first time. This allows right-aligned parties to generate majority agreements on legislation, thereby influencing European governance. 

This shift towards right-leaning parties is thought to be the result of lax immigration policies, green energy backlash, and the undermining of rural/working-class populations.

A call for tighter immigration restrictions has led to the elections of nationalistic representatives across Europe. Given the nature of their politics, each will have a separate agenda when discussing policy in parliament. This type of nationalism is common among right-wing European politicians, to the detriment of the overall European right-wing, as it creates fragments of policy voters instead of a favorable unionized majority. 

Green energy backlash stems from new measures implemented to shift citizens towards green energy sources, creating higher costs for the struggling middle class in Europe. 

Environmental policy doesn’t stop at prodding the use of green energy. European farmers are also taking a heavy hit. Policies are increasing production costs while heavy constraints on their livelihoods are becoming harder and harder to comply with. On top of these aspects, the government has resorted to importing products from foreign competitors, leaving farmers dumbfounded as the same constraints do not apply to the foreign products being bought. 

The legislation produced by the new EU parliament is not expected to be a drastic departure from regular policy. This is primarily due to the previously mentioned fracturing of individuals within right-wing parties, where nationalistic interest is more regarded. However, the swift shift from a left majority to a right-leaning one highlights a European population disengaged with its traditional governance. Some countries have even resorted to electing protest (or perhaps genuine) officials who were online personalities before being elected. Countries like Cyprus, Czechia, and Spain have all elected “influencers” to shake up their political systems. 


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