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Financial Times: Watch Out for the Rise of a European Tea Party

Author: Gideon Rachman
October 21, 2013


"Next year's elections to the European parliament also look like a possible breakthrough moment for a European Tea Party. The parliament has traditionally been the most federalist institution in Europe, acting as a lobby group for the transfer of more powers to Brussels. But next May's elections are likely to show a surge in votes for eurosceptic parties across the continent."

America's debt-ceiling crisis achieved something quite remarkable. It made the EU look well governed by comparison. Both the EU and the US systems are weighed down with checks and balances that make it hard to get things done. But Europe currently has one thing going for it that America lacks. All the most important decision makers in Brussels are committed to making the system work. There are no Tea Party types who regard compromise as a betrayal.

This broad centrist consensus was an unacknowledged strength of the EU throughout the euro crisis. Although it became routine to complain that European leaders always do "too little, too late", the markets also realised that – even if Europe's leaders did not get it right first time – they would just reconvene, at yet another emergency meeting, and keep bashing away at the problem. The fact that all 28 national leaders at EU summits are committed to working together is crucial in keeping the euro alive.

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