Happy to be in Europe

Danes have sent an overwhelming signal that however sceptical they may be about the EU in general, this is not the time to leave.
Participation in the European Parliament elections in Denmark was at an all-time high of 66 percent – and that was even on a rainy day.

Immigration doesn’t seem to be a huge worry since the EU agreements with transit countries have stemmed the flow of economic migrants. But clearly something more remains to be done.

Green shoots everywhere
Climate, however, is the issue of the day – not only through teenage prophets but generally occupying people’s minds. There are concerns about CO2 emissions and a growing willingness to pay the price of reducing the use of fossil fuel all over Europe.

All politicians have turned green – maybe of different shades, but green all the same. Reducing plastic in households, green cars, green houses, green travel etc will all be issues in national elections.

In Denmark, the anti-EU movement Folkebevægelsen Mod EU lost its seat for the first time since 1979. Traditionally anti-EU, the extreme left seems to have modified its views regarding whether Denmark should leave.

Most remarkable is Dansk Folkeparti, which seems to have gone down more than 50 percent from a 26 percent haul five years ago. We are accordingly seeing the Danes be more EU-positive than ever before, and that is good news.

No more intransigent Brits
The growing understanding of the impossibility of controlling immigration, the use of plastic, cross-border green energy and delivering on the Paris commitment on CO2 emissions on a national basis means the European Parliament has hard work ahead, but without the foot-dragging Brits it may pull it off.

The difficulties with Poland and Hungary are minor in comparison. The extreme right and left-wing parties have peaked, the euro has proved stable, and whatever presidents Trump and Xi may stir up, we believe the situation in Europe is manageable.

Never before have so many people crossed borders and learned about each other, and never before has trade flowed so freely.

Hopefully, we will see growth rates back in the black so the long-term integration can proceed.

Curtain up on June 5
We are now looking forward to the general election on June 5. If the EU election turns out to have been a dress rehearsal, the outcome will be more blue than red, with Venstre outrunning Socialdemokraterne 4:3. But 25 percent of voters have still not made up their minds.

Dansk Folkeparti is in trouble and may see its vote reduced by half. The party has played hard to get between the red and blue blocs and lost credibility. They have also blackmailed the blue bloc into concessions, such as unnecessary infrastructure in the regions, and is still under investigation from the EU over a misuse of funds.

It’s hard to tell the parties apart on 75 percent of the issues, so if a change of government does happen it will not result in a dramatic change of politics but a change in faces – and that’s also a sort of renewal.