Ten years after Lehman Brothers : populism in legacy

Emmanuel Macron against Viktor Orban. Has eight months of maturity, the european elections in may 2019 on the horizon already as a duel between the French president and the strong man of Hungary. Is the clash of two worlds : Europe as a liberal and progressive face to the sovereignty and antimigrants. “These elections will be a huge test for the Old Continent,” says political scientist Bulgarian Ivan Krastev. A decade after the fall of the us bank Lehman Brothers and the onset of the crisis, this election will mark, perhaps, the massive entry of populists in the european Parliament.

Victory of the yes vote in the referendum on the Brexit in June 2016, the election of Donald Trump’s five months later, arrival of the duo of Matteo Salvini-Luigi Di Maio in Italy – not to speak of that of the sulphurous billionaire Andrej Babis for the Czech Republic, or the rise of the extreme right in France and Germany… “We are witnessing the largest wave of movements antisystème since the second world war,” says political scientist William Galston, of the Brookings Institution, Washington, dc.

On average, these parties have gained more than 20% of the vote in the last parliamentary elections in different european countries, compared to 5 % in the early 2000s. Even in Scandinavia, long thought of as safe, is not spared : in Sweden, the anti-immigration party has won 17.5% of the vote in the legislative elections of 9 September.

Unsurprisingly, these movements have flourished in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and the austerity policies that have followed – the public investment in the euro zone rose from 4.5 % of gross domestic product, in 2009, to 3.3 % today, pensions in greece have fallen to thirteen times, aid affected by a british family average fell 3 950 pounds sterling (4 430 euros) per year, in 2010, to 3 460 pounds sterling, 2018… ” The crisis…

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