Europe’s New Political Divide

Abstract

Europe’s traditional political order is breaking down. The public is no longer split between the traditional left and right; the divide is now liberals and internationalists against conservatives and nationalists, argues Wikistrat’s Nick Ottens in this report.

This has implications for businesses as well. The parties that are now in power have almost zero political capital for trade deals and more liberal immigration laws.

The challenge for Europe is finding a new center, including a social compact for the 21st century that generates a sense of shared prosperity. In the long term, parties probably will. In the short term, the economic interests of multinational corporations are going to have to take a backseat.

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Bottom Lines

  • Europe’s political spectrum is shifting from left-right to cosmopolitan-nationalist.
  • Many Europeans feel they have been left behind by economic change and overlooked by the “establishment.” The rest are excited about economic and social changes and see no reason to slow down.
  • Some mainstream political parties are taking sides; others are trying to bridge the divide. They seem to be awarded for neither strategy.
  • It is nevertheless incumbent on centrist parties to develop a social compact for the 21st century that generates a sense of shared prosperity. In the long term, they probably will. In the short term, expect more political instability.
  • Most mainstream parties have no political capital right now for trade deals or more liberal immigration laws. The economic interests of multinational corporations are going to have to take a backseat to the political imperative for social cohesion.

A Look Inside


Author

Nick Ottens

Nick Ottens
Wikistrat Project Manager
Editor, Atlantic Sentinel

Experts

David Kearn

Dr. David Kearn
Wikistrat Senior Analyst
Associate Professor of Government and Politics, St. John’s University

Mathew Casey

Mathew Casey
Wikistrat Contributing Analyst
Director of Political Risk, Pozieres Consulting


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