European Elections 2019: The Day After

Seminars and Colloquia

European elections represent the biggest electoral contest in Europe. But since the first votes in 1979, turnout in European parliament elections has been declining ever since. Could anything be different this time?

One of the most important tests for the future of the EU seems to be the next European elections. These are the first elections without the participation of the United Kingdom, even though neither that’s clear so far. On the other hand, it is necessary to put the spotlight on how the rising populism shakes up these elections. Less than two months after an alleged Brexit day (March 29), in May 2019, these last elections were those most politically exploited by European leaders. So far, one may identify three possible scenarios: a decisive victory for anti-EU parties, unexpected gains for the pro-EU parties and the third one could be a scenario that confusedly mixes the two. Regardless of who is going to win, the upcoming European elections are going to reshape both the reality and the perception of the current EU.

This is not only a test for the future of EU sovereignty; from its outcome depends how rising populism will shake up the political structure of EU. Another question to be discussed is the aspect of the European identity. Is there any sense questioning our European identity when especially the identity and the Nation State are mostly used by the populist and right-wing oriented politicians to feed the xenophobic orientations? Does the current populism really compensates the political vacuum so far presented by liberal democracy? What it is supposed to be the role of the European Union and of the Nation State in the future? What kind of role in the EU are going to have the Balkan countries? What does being European mean today? This question is also raised by those who are not part of the European Union.

From Srebrenica to Kosovska Mitrovica, cities victims of nationalism, some youngsters came back to reinvent identity of the country dissolved in the ‘90s. The importance of the political and cultural legacy of the former Yugoslavian countries for the EU today, was tackled through the presentation of the reportage that took us to Srebrenica, Banja Luka, Belgrade and Kosovo.

Marina Lalović is a journalist working as a radio host and presenter at RAI – Radiotelevisione Italiana, Rome. From April to June 2019 she is a Milena Jesenská Visiting Fellow at the IWM.