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Global vote, local mindset -  El País/ Presseurop

Candidates and the electorate have turned the largest transnational ballot in history into a vote on national issues. A pity, says El Pais, since global problems increasingly require solutions that transcend borders.

The match was not played out in Europe, but at the parish pump. Unfortunately, the 27 national contests were sabotaged by a blinkered strategy that has done nothing but hamstring the EU's position in the world arena. The European Parliament election results confirm widespread disaffection with an election people consider remote and of scant utility: witness the low turnout and public indifference; the use of the EP elections as a second-round parliamentary poll to settle domestic scores; the rise of extremists like Geert Wilders' xenophobic and anti-European Freedom Party in The Netherlands, which amassed over 15% of the vote; the implosion of Gordon Brown's Labour Party, with David Cameron's Tories poised for an early takeover of 10 Downing Street - and promising a referendum on the UK's remaining in the EU; the triumph of the opposition in Ireland with a no-confidence vote on the government's handling of the economic crisis; or the German dress rehearsal for the upcoming Bundestag elections in September. National tickets and national issues, in other words, for elections that are still - mistakenly - considered of secondary importance in tackling specific and general problems in a Europe we still do not see as a whole that is greater than its parts.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:20:55 PM EST
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