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Don’t Expect EU Elections To Change Ukraine Policy

© Sputnik / Alexey VitvitskyEuropean Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.06.2024
Over the weekend, populist right parties won big in EU Parliamentary elections, along with some conservative right parties. The biggest losers were the Greens and center-left parties.
The shocking election results in Europe have, in many countries, come at the expense of the parties more supportive of funding Ukraine, but that doesn’t mean a policy change will be forthcoming.
Foreign policy is not the purview of the European parliament. That is decided by the individual governments within the EU and, of course, NATO. So while there is growing discontent over their governments’ support of the Kiev regime, that was not the focus of the voters and even if it were, the voters in this election were focused on immigration and EU policy.
“The European Parliament doesn't actually do anything. I mean, it doesn't actually do the minimum that you expect from a parliament, which is legislate. So it doesn't really do that. But, of course, foreign policy is not at all within the bailiwick of the European Parliament,” explained George Szamuely on Sputnik’s Fault Lines. “So these kinds of issues about deployments in Ukraine, that’s determined at, [the] NATO level and at the level of [French President Emmanuel] Macron and [German Prime Minister] Olaf Scholz.”
While the election does potentially portend a change in mood in Europe, it is difficult to predict how much that will translate into an election that has a focus on foreign policy. There is also the issue, familiar to most voters in the West: politicians changing once they get into office.
A screen broadcast an address to the nation by France's President Emmanuel Macron during which he announced he is dissolving the National Assembly. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.06.2024
Macron Gambles With Snap Vote to Prepare Comeback for Centrists After Dismal EU Election Results
Early in her campaign, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni had a populist message. She spoke about EU sanctions on Russia hurting Italy’s economy. She spoke about bucking EU immigration policies, but after the election, she said Italy will continue to follow NATO policies towards Russia and she has yet to address the immigration issue.
“[Meloni’s] platform was pretty much like all populists in Europe, which is ‘We have to do something about immigration.’ And, of course, she hasn’t done anything about immigration; in fact, immigration has continued and actually increased under her rule. But there’s not much she can do. She can just throw her hands up and say, ‘Well, immigration policy is sent by the EU,” explained Szamuely.
That sequence of events could be repeated elsewhere in Europe. In France, the National Rally party picked up a dozen seats and received more than twice the votes of Macron’s Renaissance Party. While Presidential elections in France aren’t until 2027, and Macron will not be able to run due to term limits, it did compel him to call for snap elections where he could be forced to work with Marine Le Pen’s 28-year-old protege Jordan Bardella.
As much of a disaster that will be for Macron, it again does not mean we will see substantive changes in France, even if Le Pen takes the Presidency in 2027.
“Le Pen doesn’t really stand for too many things any more than Meloni does. When you read the media, you think ‘Oh, she’s very skeptical about Ukraine and so on, but that’s not really true,” explained Szamuely. “She’s basically been on board with the EU-NATO policy towards Ukraine. She said in the past she’s going to leave the Euro. She’s walked back on that. She’s promising now that she will withdraw France from the integrated NATO military command, I think she’s going to walk back from that.”
The first test to see if the EU parliamentary elections will carry over to domestic European elections will come later this month. The snap elections initiated by Macron will take place on June 30, with the second round on July 7.
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