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German chancellor Angela Merkel has garnered enough support to form a coalition government—anaemic though it is—and all is well with Europe. After all, Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, Europe’s big two, are both solidly pro-European Union (EU).
Or not quite. On Monday, Italy’s Eurosceptic, populist parties, the Five Star Movement and Northern League, dominated the national elections. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. From Austria to Greece and Hungary, stretching north into the Scandinavian nations and west into France and Germany themselves, Euroscepticism is alive and well on both the left and right.
Huge waves of immigrants and grindingly high unemployment among the youth continue to bedevil much of the EU. Establishment parties might offer the sensible way forward, but prudence lacks a constituency in such times; it should not be forgotten that Macron himself is anti-establishment even if he is pro-EU.
Into this uncertainty, US President Donald Trump has introduced the volatility of a possible trade war. Brussels’ crown lies uneasy indeed.