EU crisis: One in two governments falters

Euro crisis, refugee crisis, Brexit: The EU has already been through a lot. In 2018, things should finally be going up again. But instead a new problem has emerged: the decline of power – in the member states.

Every second government in the EU is faltering because it no longer has its own majority in parliament and/or among the citizens. “Le Monde” comes to this alarming conclusion in a review of the year.

Not only Germany is affected, where the GroKo is shrinking, or Belgium, where there is only a caretaker government left. In the UK, too, Prime Minister May has manoeuvred herself offside with the Brexit.

Spain is led by a minority government that no longer even has a quarter of the seats in parliament. And in Italy there are two populist parties in power, each strong in only one part of the country.

The situation is also precarious in Denmark, where the ruling liberals depend on right-wing populists, and in Sweden, where there is still no government in place – more than three months after the election.

And then, of course, there would be France, where the old parties have disappeared into oblivion and the president is challenged by “yellow vests”. A government majority in Paris exists only on paper.

For the EU, this is as new as it is disturbing. Because in the end, the Union has relied more and more on the states and their governments – and not on the citizens, as is so often claimed in Sunday speeches.

Now more and more citizens are withdrawing confidence from their governments, member states are weakened and instability is growing. What initially looked like a government crisis(s) is turning into a real democracy problem.

And all this is happening just five months before the European elections. The danger is now that the elections in May will degenerate into an accumulation of national votes of no confidence…

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