World in View: EU contradictions

January 30, 2021

From the January-February 2021 issue of News & Letters

by Gerry Emmett

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is retiring from politics this year, and Armin Laschet has succeeded her as leader of the Christian Democratic Union and likely candidate for next chancellor.

As the governor of industrial North Rhine-Westphalia, Laschet sees Russian energy and Chinese trade in cold economic terms typical of any bourgeois.

The European Union. Photo:

More telling is his position on Syria, the test of world politics. Laschet reduced the Syrian Revolution to a question of “ISIS and Al Nusra” versus “President Assad,” thus openly opting for fascism over revolution.


French President Emmanuel Macron, facing opposition from neo-fascist Marine Le Pen, has also tilted rightward. He has adopted an anti-immigrant rhetoric that echoes her Rassemblement National party in order to steal her voters. A bill to exempt police from public scrutiny has angered civil libertarians.

The Netherlands government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte was forced to resign in January when it was revealed to have falsely accused over 20,000 families, largely immigrants and minorities, of child welfare fraud. The accusations led to bankruptcies and broken homes.

Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy will be challenged in this year’s Dutch elections by Geert Wilders’ racist Party for Freedom.

Italy’s government was thrown into crisis following the withdrawal of the small Italia Viva party from the ruling coalition. If the fragile, minority coalition remaining doesn’t hold, new elections would likely bring former strongman Matteo Salvini’s League and Georgia Meloni’s even more right-wing Brothers of Italy into power.

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