The turbulent sea of Europe

As it could be expected, the current protests in France against Emmanuel Macron’s policies didn’t come to an end, but we’re rather witnessing the spread of these protests to other parts of Europe. The anti-capitalist protest of the French citizens is now spreading to other European countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium.

According to many European analysts, the unrests will also reach other member states of the Eurozone. In this case, European officials will face with a massive crisis, the starting point of which has been “France”. It might have been supposed that the new wave of general crisis in Europe would start from countries such as Greece and Spain (which are the main symbols of the economic crisis in the Eurozone).

However, we can see that this time, the wave was started in Paris! Undoubtedly, the scope of this crisis is far more extensive than the previous socio-economic crises in Europe, and European authorities are going to have a hard line in managing the new crisis.

The fact is that since 2007 (the time for the beginning of the economic crisis in Europe) we have seen severe austerity policies being adopted in the Green Continent. After 11 years, such policies led to nothing but a rollback of the United Europe, and the continuation of the crisis in the Eurozone. France’s unrests had also affected the Benelux region (Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg). Obviously, some other European countries, including Spain, Italy, and Greece, will face new upcoming events. These countries continue to pursue austerity policies to reduce public spending, reduce external debt and etc.

Currently, European leaders are facing three crisis hubs, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. In the various cities of the Netherlands, such as Rotterdam, The Hague, and …, we are witnessing a new wave of massive protests. The protesters, like the French demonstrators, demand a reduction in the retirement age, the removal of the head of state and, most importantly, the withdrawal of their country from the European Union.

The final request of the Dutch citizens to leave the European Union has hit hard on their country’s leaders. The protests are increasing at a time when the European Parliamentary elections will be held soon (in 2019). Right now, nationalist groups and far-right extremists across Europe are pursuing widespread changes inside their countries’ political and social system.

Under such circumstances, Europe’s traditional parties, including conservative (right-wing) and social-democratic parties, are at high risk. The failure of the candidates for the French Socialist and Conservative Party in reaching the final round of the 2017 presidential competitions, and the victory of the extremist and anti-EU movement of the Alternative for Germany (AFD) for the first time in the parliament, are all signs of the deterioration of Europe’s current structure in the near future.

The fact is that many European citizens’ demands were limited to the stop of austerity policies, but it was before the French protests! Now the equation is basically different from the previous times! Withdrawing from the European Union and substituting the current governments with those that oppose the existence of the Eurozone has become one of the main demands of the protesters. Consequently, the French protests, in addition to exacerbating the security and social crises in Europe, have been the source of political crises on the Green Continent.

Definitely, many European governments will be seriously affected by the spread of new protests in the Green Continent. This is while the governments of Germany and France no longer have the power to control and manage the crisis (as they used to do before).

As it was mentioned, the beginning of the new round of Europe’s general crisis from France (traditionally one of Europe’s pioneering players) has complicated the equations in Europe to a large extent. In this situation, the EU leaders don’t have a common understanding of the existing crises, besides, they have even problems in formulating those crises, and this is going to make the mire more frightening for them.

First published in our partner MNA