Ultra-conservative forces rule Poland, Hungary and Italy. They are crutches in Finland or Sweden. The ultra-right has won its first mayoralties in Germany. And in Greece they have returned with force to the seats of Parliament. Spain was destined to be the next stop for the radical boom that is sweeping Europe. But the party that leads Santiago Abascal suffered a major bump this Sunday: of the 52 seats consolidated in 2019, it now rises to 33.
“This Sunday Spain dodged a destiny that seemed written. The message to Europe and the world is clear: the reactionary wave can be defeated by proposing an alternative progressive horizon. It is now a matter of going deeper into it,” he assured Pablo Bustinduyexpert in international relations and member of the Sumar campaign.
Reactions to the election results in Brussels have been subdued. With the scenario so open that the polls have left, the messages that have left the community capital on the day of electoral hangover have been reduced to MEPs or former senior officials. In the European Commission they have opted for silence.
“The apparently irresistible rise of the alliance between the right and the extreme right in Europe has collided with the memory of the majority of Spaniards. Now we need to establish a credible government alternative,” he said via Twitter Pierre Moscovici, former economic commissioner, from the French socialist family. “The message is clear: Spain says no to a government with the extreme right. There is a majority of Spaniards who want a country that advances,” the European Social Democrats have agreed.
In European terms, the main implication of the post-July 23 scenario lies in the departure of the EU Presidency. Spain has held it since July 1. The best option for Brussels would have been results with a clear majority. That is to say, the establishment of a Government as soon as possible that would concentrate energy and time on implementing the many dossiers and pending legislation.
But with such open scrutiny, the negotiations are going to be long. Blockages are a constant. And the shadow of electoral repetition lurks. This scenario would leave the remaining five months in the crossfire of a situation of tension, chaos and uncertainty that could have a direct impact on the image and results of the fifth Spanish Presidency of the EU.
Already in the last summit that the EU held with Latin America a few days ago, Pedro Sanchez He was forced to make schedule changes and dodge some events, such as the final press conference, to attend electoral rallies.
Good news for the EU
During the last few weeks, Alternative for Germany (AfD) has risen to power in two regions. In the recent elections in Greece, three far-right parties won parliamentary representation. This ultra support and trend had already emerged in the Nordics. In Brussels, all of this has been experienced with contained doses of concern and strong pills of acceptance.
However, the collapse of green training in Spain is good news for the EU. Contrary to the trend that increasingly covers the European map, in Spain three of the four most voted forces (PP, PSOE and Sumar) are openly pro-European.
Like Le Pen or Salvini or the rest of the eurosceptic forces, vox He does not advocate taking his country out of the community bloc, but he does support a roadmap with less sovereignty for the Union and a weakening of its functions and powers. A withdrawal that they seek to consummate from within a few months before the elections to the European Parliament.
With this background scenario, Ursula von der LeyenPresident of the European Commission, left a few days ago, as she passed through Madrid during the inauguration of the Spanish Presidency of the EU, a veiled message against the ultras: “The important thing is to achieve policies with results in a changing world, to give confidence, to give security. Both from the right and from the left, extremism is returning. They fear change. We, the democratic groups in the center, have to show that we have very clear ideas.”
Laboratory for Europeans
Spain was a kind of laboratory for electoral pacts. The European People’s Party does not hold power in any major country. To arrive at Moncloa, Alberto Núñez-Feijóo he would be the most important center-right leader of the bloc. The blues were aware of how much was at stake in Madrid and their leader, Manfred Weber, was used with strength and dedication throughout the electoral campaign to boost Genoa. “Congratulations, Núñez-Feijóo for this clear victory. Winning three million votes since 2019 gives the PP a clear mandate to form a government that reflects this desire for change. You have our full support,” the Bavarian reacted.
The Spanish elections were block elections. The PSOE defended from the beginning and bluntly its intentions to govern together with Sumar. The PP, after agreeing with those of Abascal in more than 150 town halls and several autonomous communities, knew that its way to Moncloa only passed through the Vox tollbooth. Normalization and agreements with the ultra forces are the new European reality. Nothing to do with the sanitary cordons that were the rule not many years ago. And all of this has resulted in the whitewashing of these ultra-conservative forces, as you well know. Giorgia Meloni.
Weber himself was one of the first to applaud and bless the coalition executive commanded by the leader of brothers from italy along with Forza Italia and La Liga. The popular ones are rehearsing the pacts with the far-right forces ahead of the next European elections in June 2024. Feijóo himself recently acknowledged in an interview that including Meloni in the European popular family could be a desirable and good scenario for the European Union.
But the Spanish case already stresses this strategy. Citizens have distanced themselves from the idea of having the presence of extreme right forces in the central government for the first time in democratic Spain. And it is a variable to take into account, and who knows if a warning to sailors, in the face of the difficult situation that a weakened European center-right is going through.
The next key stops to continue taking the temperature are the Dutch elections at the end of the year and the elections in Poland in October, where the Law and Justice Party (PiS), an ally of Vox in the European Parliament, could lose power after eight years of confronting Brussels over its drift from the rule of law and violations of fundamental rights.
The alliances and pacts that are coming out of the capitals these months will undoubtedly have a direct impact on the next European elections. And despite the good form that the ultra forces are going through in many corners of Europe, a majority of Spaniards have expressed their rejection of the extreme right at the polls.