EU elections: where does Europe stand?

Roughly 350 million eligible voters in 27 countries will elect a new EU Parliament in a month's time. In view of an expected shift to the right and huge challenges in areas such as security and climate policy, commentators are sceptical about the next EU legislature.

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Avvenire (IT) /

More indecisive than ever

The EU is above all full of contradictions, Avvenire sighs:

“You can love Europe but be afraid of Brussels. You can dream of a continent of soft power but tolerate nationalist and regionalist impulses. You can feel united but still be too different, you can strive for supranational rules but be reluctant to complete the common edifice. You can appreciate the advantages of the single market but mistrust the euro. You can benefit from the dismantling of internal borders but fear their abolition. You can wish for an end to wars but not move in that direction internationally. ... Europeans have perhaps never been as indecisive as they are today.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Major achievements, major challenges

Sergi Barrera, head of the European Parliament Liaison Office in Barcelona, looks to the past and to the future in El Periódico de Catalunya:

“In the difficult legislative period that lies behind us, the EU Parliament has managed to pass 450 laws, including the world's first law on artificial intelligence, the new migration and asylum pact, the green agenda and the law linking European funds to adherence to the rule of law. ... The challenges of the future are enormous: defending democracy, advancing the defence policy, boosting European competitiveness, deciding the pace of the fight against climate change, the enlargement policy. ... One month from now we must decide what kind of Europe we want in this unstable, complex world.”

Expressen (SE) /

Discordant views not necessarily fake news

In the EU, the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) supports the fight against disinformation. Expressen warns:

“The risk is that the fight against conspiracy theories becomes a conspiracy theory in itself, in which the northern countries protesting against wind turbines are lumped together with Putin trolls, and any morons who strike an odd note in any debate are portrayed as a real security threat rather than merely a disruptive element. ... But an open society must be tolerant. Of course the EU and its member states must protect democracy from Russian operations, espionage and infiltration. But freedom of expression is a foundation of democracy, not a threat to it.”

Glavkom (UA) /

The end of fear

European security policy has changed profoundly in recent years, Glavkom comments:

“The fear of nuclear blackmail is gone. The phase in which there was a fundamental reluctance to strain relations with the Kremlin is over. Gone too is the desire to avoid escalation at all costs and not to provoke Russia in any way ... The foundations have been laid for a whole range of decisions that were previously regarded as off limits. ... These include confiscating the proceeds of frozen Russian assets, long-range weapons, support for strikes on the critical infrastructure of the Russian arms industry, military contingents and a 'nuclear fence' along the borders with Russia.”