The series of landmark elections in France and Germany – and to a certain extent in the Netherlands and Austria – has lead to a dramatic upheaval in the political systems of the respective countries. While right wing and nationalist parties have gained political power in government or parliament, traditional parties have faced defeats. In particular, the secular decline of social democratic parties has dramatically continued. The elections reflect a deep structural crisis in the political systems. Political instability and uncertainty will increase even further. Not to mention the refugee issue, Poland and Hungary – as well as Trump, Erdogan and recently, the Catalonia conflict.
Although economic growth in the Euro-zone has reached the pre-crisis level for the first time – after nearly a decade – there is not really a détente. Old problems continue to simmer under the surface: youth unemployment in Greece, Italy and Spain remains at 35% – 43%, leaving an entire generation behind. Continue reading...