Mogherini, like many establishment European politicians of her generation, believes with conviction that the world is far better off embracing globalisation, supra-regional institutions, and multiculturalism than by reinvesting in the nationalist concepts espoused by Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Vladimir Putin, and Matteo Salvini. On this, Mogherini has her work cut out for her; as exhibited across Europe, from Germany’s AfD to the League in Italy, right-wing populism is the new vogue of European politics. Before Europe’s migration crisis of 2014-2016, it would have [been] a silly proposition to even imagine the far-right Sweden Democrats registering enough support at the polls to become a potential kingmaker in the country’s traditionally leftist politics. And yet, Europe is a very different place today than it was earlier in the decade; the unimaginable is now well within the bounds of what is possible.
The rise of nationalist parties across Europe is the result of a series of popular votes, in multiple parliamentary elections. By the very tradition of democracy that Europe so thoroughly - and rightly - embraced after World War II, this expression of the will of the people should be respected, even celebrated. Yet that is not at all what is happening. DePetris again:
Part of her disgust is rooted in the scapegoating of “the other” and the political and social divisiveness that are by-products of populist politics in general. But another big ingredient is that, with every far-right politician elected into a national parliament or far-right minister inducted into a national government, the multilateralism Europeans used to take for granted is that much more under siege. For a centrist like Mogherini, such a development is not only unacceptable: it’s downright anti-European.At the core of Europe's democratic tradition is the principle that parliamentary democracy represents the final word on the people's will. In fact, the unrestricted will of the majority, manifested in a free election, is a hallmark difference between the parliamentary system and the American constitutional republic. Whatever the results of parliamentary elections, it is not to be challenged or restricted in any way.
Europe is being attacked by false prophets who are drunk on resentment, and delirious at their opportunity to seize the limelight. It has been abandoned by the two great allies who in the previous century twice saved it from suicide; one across the Channel and the other across the Atlantic. The continent is vulnerable to the increasingly brazen meddling by the occupant of the Kremlin.
Europe as an idea is falling apart before our eyes. This is the noxious climate in which Europe’s parliamentary elections will take place in May. Unless something changes; unless something comes along to turn back the rising, swelling, insistent tide; unless a new spirit of resistance emerges, these elections promise to be the most calamitous that we have known. They will give a victory to the wreckers.
For those who still believe in the legacy of Erasmus, Dante, Goethe and Comenius there will be only ignominious defeat. A politics of disdain for intelligence and culture will have triumphed.
There will be explosions of xenophobia and antisemitism. Disaster will have befallen us. ... In response to the nationalist and identitarian onslaught, we must rediscover the spirit of activism or accept that resentment and hatred will surround and submerge us. Urgently, we need to sound the alarm against these arsonists of soul and spirit who, from Paris to Rome, with stops along the way in Barcelona, Budapest, Dresden, Vienna and Warsaw, want to make a bonfire of our freedoms.