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

Four of Western Europe’s seven largest economies will have gone to the polls this year, including the two central pillars of the EU, France and Germany, and the departing United Kingdom. 

The Netherlands gave an early but inconclusive answer to the critical question of 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. French voters, too, while electing the centrist Emmanuel Macron in preference to the Eurosceptic National Front leader Marine Le Pen, rejected the mainstream parties of the left and right.

Germany's Angela Merkel looks more secure in the face of the challenge from the right-wing nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD).  However, like other mainstream parties across Europe, most notably the Conservatives in the United Kingdom, Germany's Christian Democrats are trimming their sails to navigate the new political winds blowing across the continent.

  • Is Marine Le Pen playing a long game, targeting the French presidency in 2022?
  • 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?
  • Will the United Kingdom be able to conclude a trade deal with the EU before it leaves?



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