Europe in Denial

Among the more glaring weaknesses in European policymaking over the past few years has been the complacency of its political elite. Sadly, today, despite clear evidence that the European political center is crumbling, the European political elite manages to convince itself that this is but a fleeting phenomenon of no great significance. And despite the very real risk that Europe could be drifting towards Japanese-style deflation, the policy reaction of the European Central Bank continues to be too little too late.

Tectonic changes are occurring in European politics. In last month’s European parliamentary elections, close to 30 percent of the European electorate voted for an assortment of political parties that are openly hostile to the European project. At the same time, parties at the political extremes that were barely on the scene some three years ago continued to make gains and now constitute a real threat to parties in the political center. Even in a country like Spain, where three years ago the two center parties enjoyed an 80 percent majority, today they poll less than 50 percent of the vote.

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