A picture of the 2019 European Parliament elections

Introduction to the publication of the proceedings of the seminar

Fabio Coacci,
lecturer, MGIMO University

Since MGIMO is a crossroad of several different nationalities and cultures, we decided to catch the opportunity of this rich environment in order to organize the seminar “What’s the future of the European Union? A discussion on the European Parliament Election”, which took place between 23 and 26 May 2019, whose proceedings are published in this journal. This salient event is of interest for political scientists, and all those people interested in international relations, since the result of this election may have represented a turning point on the European politics and policies as well as the external relations of EU, redefining the European Union face in the global arena. Accordingly, the proceedings of the seminar may represent an interest sketch of the current European trends and issues, along with the idea about where European Union is aiming at.

Beyond any doubts, European Union is facing hard times being split between Souverainists vis-a-vis Europeanists and being challenged by unprecedented issues as the migrant crisis and the institutional de-legitimation. Moreover, the spectre of the indecision of a consistent part of the European electorate which was hunting the European Parliament elections made the situation even more complex. The proliferation of euro-sceptic and Souverainist political parties is under everyone’s eyes and their strengthening is jeopardizing the progress in the European integration achieved so far. Spinelli’s plan for a federal European Union seems day-by-day more a chimera, an ideal never as now so far away from its realization. The European Institutions are an easy target to blame for national issues which European Union may not be responsible for and, for this, they are becoming the favourite scapegoats for several political leaders and parties through Europe which may use it as a weapon of mass destruction. In any case, it is a matter of fact that many European citizens perceive European Union and European Institutions, justifiably or not, as something too far from them and their local issues lacking a European sense of associative union and, accordingly, claiming the priority of national interests over the European ones. However, there is a rising young European generation which seems to stand up for the revival of the ideal of the United States of Europe, which is seen as the natural progress of the European integration and as the only viable solution for European states to have a respectful role in the global arena. The result of the European Parliament elections may have been a turning point shedding some light on the future of the European Union and, to some extent, a confirmation of the difficulties European Union is going through.

Since the seminar gathered bachelor, master and phd students, as representatives of different European Union member states, a noteworthy Russian Doctor of Political science, and political and institutional figures, the proceedings of the seminar represent a valid and cross-cutting analysis of this event. Indeed, the publication of the proceedings of the seminar consists of five articles which discuss three main topics: the propaganda of the eurosceptic and souverainist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in Germany, the rise of the eurosceptic and souverainist political party The League in Italy and the European parliament election in central Europe. There is a clear fil rouge which connect all the articles, the spread of populism throughout Europe, whose rich analysis is granted by different perspectives and with various methodologies, along with the different background of the authors. As for the first topic, the examination of the German electoral situation and the political communication of the German political party AfD is provided by Lana Bambetova, from the Free University of Berlin, meanwhile a practical example of the AfD political strategy is represented by the talk delivered by Gunnar Norbert Lindemann, Member of the Berlin Parliament and representative of the AfD, edited by Giacomo Voceri. Regarding the second topic, Federico M. Giuntini, from the University of Cagliari, describes the historical roots and the recent evolution of the Italian political parties in power at the time of the European Parliament elections, while Professor Zonova Tatyana Vladimirovna provides an interesting interpretation of the Italian political situation as the populist laboratory of Europe. To conclude with, Josef Hrabina, PhD student at MGIMO, provides a brilliant insight of the populism in the European parliament election of the central European Union member states.