Against the predictions of the last polls, a narrow majority of the UK voters decided to leave the EU. Once again, the political crisis of Europe has deepened. And once again, it does not seem as if this deepening of the crisis will force a fundamental reorientation of the “European project.”
In the following, I take issue with a mainstream framing of the crisis as one engendered by an atavistic nationalism that haunts the cosmopolitan present of Europe, a framing that directs attention away from the class character of European state-making of the past decades. If the EU is not to disintegrate, however, the latter has to be challenged.
The new parliament in Poland resembles in its makeup the one in Hungary, almost completely dominated by right-wing political parties. The Law and Justice party beat the Civic Platform party, with 37.8 percent of the vote, against 24.9 percent. The victory of Law and Justice was not surprising. It shows again that good economic growth is not enough if it goes together with sustained inequalities, regional unevenness, and stagnation for many. For young people, blue-collar workers, and low-paid service employees, the benefits of growth remain overshadowed by the reproduction of underpaid and unregistered employment, sharp increases in temporary “junk” contracts, and the feeling of economic exclusion.