Saturday 16 December 2017

Right and Left: How Europe is shaping up

* EUROPEAN leaders are grappling with a radically changed political landscape as even more anti-austerity candidates were elected across the continent yesterday.

The rise of Sinn Fein and Independents in Ireland, with Luke 'Ming' Flanagan topping the poll in Midlands North West, was mirrored by a rejection of mainstream parties across Europe.

Right-wing UKIP led the polls in Britain, the far-right Front National came first in France and the extreme-left Syriza movement took top spot in Greece, while the eurosceptic Five Star movement came second in Italy and the anti-euro Alternatives won seven seats in Germany.

The mainstream parties are fighting to salvage their positions after the spectacular success of more radical parties and candidates.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was last night meeting heads of government of the 28 EU states for a scheduled summit in Brussels. He had already been in telephone contact with British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has spearheaded calls for a fresh approach from major parties in Europe.

Mr Cameron issued a warning to fellow premiers that Europe cannot "shrug off" the results as he called for economic growth and jobs to be at the heart of the union.

And the British premier made clear that he did not accept the argument that the job of Commission President should go to Luxembourg's former prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker by virtue of his election as the candidate of the European People's Party, which emerged from the polls as the largest single party.

This has led to Mr Kenny's name being put back in the frame for the top job – although other leaders such as Finland's Jyrki Katainen and Poland's Donald Tusk have also been linked to the role.

Irish Independent

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