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Paradigm Shift: Green Zealots, Liberals Biggest Losers in European Mega-Election

Right-wing parties performed best in the European Union’s Parliament elections last week, with many of their new seats set to come at the expense of hard-line greens and their liberal allies, who suddenly find themselves out of vogue.

Counting is still underway in many European member states, but a clear picture has already emerged on what the composition of the next European Union Parliament will look like, and it will be one with much-reduced influence by the radical environmentalist left and their fellow travellers in the Liberal group.

While the establishment conservative group is predicted to pick up 14 new seats, various conviction-right groups look to pick up seats at the expense of the expressly globalist parties, with France’s RN and Germany’s AfD set to pick up 17 new seats, for example. Meanwhile, the Liberal ‘renew’ group is predicted to lose 17 seats, while the Greens-EFA are expected to fall by a considerable 21 seats.

The reason for the precipitous collapse in support for hard-line Green politics is not precisely difficult to understand: as energy bills have soared it appears the appetite has waned for expensive alternative-energy projects, which have sent domestic bills soaring. Voters have therefore likely intuited that the middle of an energy crisis is probably not a good time to cut off the supply of reliable power.

While many, if not most, would say they believe protecting the environment is important, the break-neck speed at which Green parties are attempting to throw Europe into banning gas home boilers and petrol-driven cars in favour of home heat pumps and electric vehicles has not proven popular at all.

The behaviour of actual green politicians once in power has also grabbed headlines across the continent, likely eroding trust among voters in Green parties to govern competently.

The rushed total turn-off of nuclear power in Germany in the middle of the Ukraine War energy crisis was insisted upon by their Green party energy minister as necessary and risk-free. Yet public ‘common sense’ misgivings about the wisdom of this course now appear vindicated, after released documents show the government knew there were risks associated with the policy, yet pushed it through anyway.

Germany, the powerhouse of Europe and one now experiencing rapid deindustrialisation as sky-high energy costs render manufacturing uncompetitive with the coal-driven East, is perhaps the prime example of the rise and fall of the Green movement in Europe, and nowhere is this felt as strongly as among German young voters.

In the recent past the single dominating issue for young voters in Germany was the environment, and their voting pattern reflected this with the Green Party their number-one choice by a considerable margin. Yet as the dust settles on the weekend’s European Parliament elections has shown, who is voting in the youngest age bracket and for whom has radically shifted, with the Greens losing a colossal 23 points and dropping to fourth place from first among 16 to 24-year-olds.

The vote in this age bracket remains strong for the centrist conservatives, but it is the populists who really cleaned up among the young, with the right-wing populist AfD and left-wing populist BSW both picking up five a half points each. This makes the right-wing populists the second party among the German youth and gives the right wing a commanding plurality among them as a whole.

This outcome was well polled beforehand. As reported last month, a major global survey caught this shift of attitudes in Europe with ‘reducing immigration’ overtaking ‘fighting climate change’ as a priority for European voters in nations across the continent. It is likely this headwind of public sentiment is what pushed the right-wing populist AfD to second place in Germany, for instance, in spite of the party seriously struggling with its own internal and external problems in recent months, seriously denting its ability to perform otherwise.

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