Monday, June 17, 2024

Europe turns its back on green policy and embraces the Right

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According to the final Ifop poll before the election, there was a surge in young adults supporting the hard-Right National Rally, increasing from 14 per cent in the previous election to 39 per cent this year.

In Germany, exit polls from Infratest dimap, suggested that one in six of young voters supported the AfD, up 11 points from the previous election.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, said: “The centre is holding,” in response to the EU Parliament election results.

For the Greens and Renew, it can’t have felt that way. But Mrs von der Leyen’s centre-Right European People’s Party (EPP) was the largest party in the parliament once the votes were counted.

Pawel Zerka, of the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank, said: “The EPP is a silent winner, maintaining its seats and remaining the largest political group.”

The EPP turned against net zero as it became a European election battleground. It moved to water down new biodiversity laws and strict protections for the wolf. It has vowed to oppose an EU ban on petrol engines in cars.

Spooked by the farmers’ protests across Europe, the EPP echoed their arguments that green rules were too burdensome and expensive during the cost of living crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

As tractors rolled into Brussels earlier this year, Mrs von der Leyen ditched planned EU legislation to cut agricultural emissions and reduce pesticide use.

Bart Dickens, a Belgian beef farmer, said: “The people see what is happening,” before decrying the Left as being about nothing more than “flower power”.

“It still makes me angry sometimes,” he added.

It was a significant U-turn for a woman who had made the EU net zero goal of 2050 a flagship policy.

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