summer extravaganza: issue eleven


From outcasts to kingmakers: Sweden’s right-wing populists on the cusp of power

by Aidan O’Connor

image credit: TT News Agency

On 11 September, Sweden will head to the polls after a tumultuous four years for the country, the continent, and the world. The Social Democrat-led coalition has faced an unsteady term in office: handling the Covid pandemic, replacing its Prime Minister, and reversing a two-century long neutrality policy by applying to join NATO. 

However, now accepted into a centre-right bloc, the once fringe right-wing populist party, the Sweden Democrats, could become the second largest party. Despite watering down its opposition to the EU and NATO, the Sweden Democrats are pushing for new restrictions on immigration which could lead to conflicts with the EU. 

Polls indicate that the election will be tight, but whatever the result the Sweden Democrats’ abrupt ascension from pariahs to the mainstream will undoubtedly leave its mark on Swedish society.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

by Connor Crout

image credit: Hazhk (Wikimedia Commons)

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is currently the longest reigning European monarch after Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth realms died on 8 September.

Having ascended to the Danish throne in 1972, Denmark had planned celebrations on September 10 and 11 for the 50th anniversary of Queen Margrethe II’s accession. A carriage procession through Copenhagen, a palace balcony appearance and a reception and lunch at city hall were planned but have now been cancelled. Additionally, Queen Margrethe II released a statement saying her thoughts are with the British royal family and the people of the United Kingdom, the commonwealth and the realms.

A 2022 survey revealed that only 14.6 percent of Danes want a republic, so it is obvious that Queen Margrethe II, just like Queen Elizabeth II, remains widely respected by her subjects.

Southern Europe

The broodiest country in Europe

by Rachael Ward 

image credit: Marko Milivojevic (Pixnio)

Youths are often referred to as rebels. Nevertheless, the traditional idea of starting a family is still widely appreciated. According to a recent survey, 72 percent of younger Europeans fancy the idea of starting a family. But, in Portugal that number is 82 percent. The Portuguese also seem more keen on getting on with it fairly soon – 49 percent of Portuguese millennials said they’d like to have children within the next three years. 

However, it seems it really is just the idea of children that the Portuguese are drawn to. Only 21 percent of Portuguese youths have children at present, well below the European average. Perhaps,  the non-Portuguese European youth are a little less eager to start a family due to greater exposure of the delights through their peers. The opposite thus might be true for Portuguese youngsters – they long for children with a lesser idea of what they’re really like…

Italy election: EU fears for potential centre-right coalition led by ‘post-fascist’ Brothers of Italy.

by Orestis Sechas

image credit: Nick.mon (Wikimedia Commons)

The resignation of Mario Draghi as Italy’s prime minister plunged Italy into months of political turmoil, opening the gap for the right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy to snap the elections being held on 25 September. The outcome of this election could have long-lasting and far-reaching consequences not only for Italy, but also the EU. 

Despite polls suggesting that 40 percent of the electorate will either not vote or are currently undecided, a centre-right victory seems all but certain. This is due to Italy’s complex electorate system, which could grant Meloni’s party a two-thirds majority in parliament This would enable Meloni to easily change Italy’s constitution. The most concerning aspect of the election, however, might be that Meloni not only lacks the experience of Draghi but also his political credibility.  Her potential victory would most certainly lead to far-reaching changes in Italian politics. 

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