How Brexit is influencing the EU elections

With little prospect of an agreement for an orderly Brexit it seems increasingly likely that the British will take part in the European elections. Opinion polls predict a strong showing for The Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage - one of the most vocal Brexiteers. Can the opponents of Brexit still win the day?

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Financial Times (GB) /

Form a common front against Brexit

The three main anti-Brexit parties should present a joint list of candidates for the EU elections, the Financial Times advises:

“A Financial Times analysis suggests that a unified slate of candidates from Change UK, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens would win 16 of the 60 seats up for grabs in England. Standing separately, they would take just seven. And while their leaders may argue hoarsely that the overall vote share for anti-Brexit parties is what matters, the public is all too likely to take seats won as a more accurate metric of national sentiment. ... Opposing Brexit is a pressing issue for three parties, each with the ability to win substantial numbers of votes. They should form a common front.”

Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

Brexiteers will be Brexiteers

Göteborgs-Posten doesn't believe the EU elections will clarify the situation, let alone prevent Brexit. Those who voted to leave the EU in 2016 aren't about to change their views now, the paper believes:

“Even if the polls are now showing a narrow lead for the Remainers, the Brexiteers are showing great stamina. Neither reports of job losses, the risk of empty shelves in the supermarkets in the event of a hard Brexit or the political turbulences of recent years have influenced these voters to any significant extent. On the contrary, a new YouGov poll shows that most people who voted for Brexit have only become more hardened in their stance since the referendum.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Focus on the bigger issues

The Irish Times hopes that the UK's plans for leaving the EU could mean that there will be a greater focus on EU issues in neighbouring Ireland:

“One positive aspect of Brexit is that it has focused public attention on the importance of the EU as never before. This should have an impact on the kind of debate that evolves during the election campaign and on the quality of media coverage. All candidates should be obliged to say where they stand on the major issues facing the EU as well as more local ones. A lively debate on the future of the continent might persuade voters to focus on the bigger issues rather than the more parochial concerns that have often dominated in the past.”