A year of elections poses a critical test for the EU. How well will it fare?

Four of Western Europe’s seven largest economies go to the polls this year, including the two central pillars of the EU, France and Germany.  But in Italy and the Netherlands, the critical question is also whether the populist anti-establishment sentiment that led the United Kingdom to vote for Brexit and the United States for Donald Trump in 2016 has run its course.

Marine Le Pen, leader of France's National Front, and Beppe Grillo, head of Italy's Five Star Movement, harbour credible hopes of winning office.  

Germany's Angela Merkel looks more secure in the face of the challenge from the right-wing nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD).  Yet, like other mainstream parties across Europe, her Christian Democrats must trim their sails to navigate the new political winds blowing across the continent. 

  • How would a Marine Le Pen victory in France change the EU?
  • Could a banking crisis in Italy lead to the collapse of the euro-area?
  • Does Martin Schulz stand a chance of taking the chancellorship from Angela Merkel?
  • How will Geert Wilders change the political landscape in the Netherlands? 



  • Sutherland Chair in European Institutions
  • Director of European and Eurasian Studies
    Johns Hopkins University SAIS
  • Senior Economist
    The Conference Board
  • Official Fellow and Tutor in Politics
    University of Oxford
  • Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs
    King's College London