French, UK Polls Rocked by Anti-EU 'Earthquake'
BRUSSELS -- There was a political earthquake in Brussels over the weekend: Parties opposed to the European Union won EU parliamentary elections in Britain and France.
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you and then you win!" Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party, quoted Mohandas Gandhi.
That sentiment describes what has been happening in Europe over the past several years. European anger at the EU has been building, and anti-EU parties have been growing, but they were mostly laughed at or ignored
Not anymore. Now the EU faces powerful political forces that want to destroy it.
"I don't just want Britain to leave the European Union; I want Europe to leave the European Union," Farage told European reporters. "I don't believe that flag, that anthem, and that president, whose name no one knows, really represent what Europe should be."
The European voters have spoken very clearly. They want change. But the question is whether European Union leaders will listen -- and there is reason to believe they won't.
That's because while the EU got trounced in two of Europe's largest and most important member nations, in most of the rest of EU, Europeans voted for the status quo.
"Pro-European forces will still have a majority in the European Parliament even if this majority diminishes from about 72 to around 64 percent in the next parliament," Doru Frantescu, policy director at the think-tank VoteWatch Europe, told CBN News.
The second reason Brussels is not likely to bend is that EU leaders have shown they want more European Union, and not less. That means tighter integration, more laws, and more power to, as they would put it, solve Europe's problems.
But last week's results show that the EU is the problem for voters in Britain and France, who see their nations being slowly taken over by EU laws.
After the election, the French establishment was in shock, and the Francois Hollande government went into emergency meetings over the first-place finish of Marine Le Pen's National Front.
The newspaper Le Parisen called the results "the big bang."
"Our people demand one policy only, a policy of the French for the French and with the French," le Pen told supporters. "They no longer want to be led from the outside, bending to laws they haven't voted for and obeying the commissioner who hasn't been elected by universal suffrage."
But the European Union -- what some call the boldest, if not the biggest, political experiment in history -- will not be closing down just yet. And that will likely mean the forces opposing it will have a bright future.