Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Which is the most "conservative" government or gov coalition in the EU today?

What is the difference,, in policy agendas, between the Conservative-LibDem coalitions in a) Germany and the b) UK today? Because in spite of the disappointing stances of both FDP and the LibDems, the former are much closer to becoming a 2nd conservative party!

What would the difference be, in policy agendas, between a Lib:Lab (Labour+LibDems) coalition and a SDP-FDP one?

Would I be wrong if I started to doubt whether the SPD can provide the progressive alternative EUrope needs so desperately these days? See also my post today: "Germany's coalitions "boutique": "Traffic Light:, "Jamaica" etc!"

It should be noted that as far I can think of, only Denmark and Cyprus have purely non-conservative governments or government coalitions in the 27 of the EU today! Maybe 1-2 more in those 27.

Austria has a grand coalition government. Portugal and Spain are governed by EPP members. France and Germany too, of course. Sweden too. Poland and Slovakia. And of course Hungary. And the Czech Republic. For Greece and Italy, to paraphrase Facebook sttatuses "it's complicated".

With Belgium, it is always difficult to know since Flanders and Wallonia have different parties, all in one Belgian government. The Finn "almost anyone but the True Finns" coalition is also hard to label.

Then there's The Netherlands with probably the most conservative (to put it mildly) government coalition in the EU today: CDA (EPP member) + VVD (ALDE, ELDR) with the support of PVV! Can a government get more "conservative" than that in modern EUrope (who knows, maybe it can)?


PS1. Of course the Dutch VVD seems to have moved towards the right way more than even the German FDP!

PS2. Which begs the question: How many truly centrist - liberal democratic parties in terms of policy agendas are there in ELDR and ALDE today?

PS3. OK, OK, of course I am not forgetting the Hungarian government. But if one were to choose between UK, Germany and NL?

PS4. Not to add: How many PES labour - social democratic parties in the 17 EZ and; 27 EU have got it together today?

2 comments:

  1. I find it interesting how in popular perception some liberal parties are perceived as being conservative.

    Making sure that member state budgets are in balance, debts are kept under control (better yet: slashed) and the rule of law is enforced is surely liberal and progressive. It's the basis for a healthy economy and being able to guarantee social justice towards the future also for younger generations, not only those born in the 1940s 50s and 60s - which many social democratic parties (and their out of touch with reality trade unions) only seem to care about. Talking about conservative...

    In addition, usually liberal parties have very progressive policies to enable the individual the freedom to decide which way to live her/his life - what job to do, with whom to live, which education to choose etc.

    Some of the parties you mention which are in government exactly try to implement these policies. They propose many reforms. In my opinion they are the opposite of conservative.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Daniel, thank you for your comments. Here are my thought on them (mind you, I have been a centrist since 1877 (15 yo) and as a twitter/blogger a fan of ELDR & ALDE (it EP formation):

    1) re "I find it interesting how in popular perception some liberal parties are perceived as being conservative" - Maybe because some of the, VVD, FDP, LibDems to name the most eye catching cases, a) participate in very conservative, in terms of policies, government coalitions. Even the CDA-VVD coalition enjoys the support of PVV!!! b) the opinions they express in national matters and in European matters do not reflect a centrist - middle of the road of liberal democratic philosophy.

    2) re "Making sure that member state budgets are in balance, debts are kept under control (better yet: slashed) and the rule of law is enforced is surely liberal and progressive. It's the basis for a healthy economy and being able to guarantee social justice towards the future also for younger generations, not only those born in the 1940s 50s and 60s - which many social democratic parties (and their out of touch with reality trade unions) only seem to care about. Talking about conservative..."
    a) So is ELDR in favour of dismantling the NHS as the Tory/LD gov is trying to do?
    b) Is VVD tolerating or even supporting the immigration views of the PVV? Compare VVD policies and views with D66!
    c) In ELDR against trade unionism or even national or EU collective bargianing and social dialogue or merely against "out of touch with reality trade unions"?
    d) Do ELDR/ALDE and VVD & FDP see eye to eye re the philosophy and harshness of the austerity measures in Greece, other PIIGS or even the UK? It seems to me that they do not. That ELDR/ALDE view is much more humanistic and less punitive (a hallmark of conservative philosophy).

    3) re "In addition, usually liberal parties have very progressive policies to enable the individual the freedom to decide which way to live her/his life - what job to do, with whom to live, which education to choose etc."

    You keep referring to "liberal". IMO there is major difference between "liberal" (in Euro-soeak not US) and "liberal democratic". Liberal democracy seeks a balance of individual freedom and collective good/welfare. Liberals tip the scale towards an Ayn Rand type of philosophy.

    4) re "Some of the parties you mention which are in government exactly try to implement these policies. They propose many reforms. In my opinion they are the opposite of conservative."
    Will the LibDems vote against Theresa May's new cap of "skilled guesrwirker" (non-EU) proposals?
    Has VVD kept the govrenment coalition in NL less xenophobic than if it was not part of the government that enjoys the support of PVV?
    And finally, FDP has been less or more neoconservative in its views than even the CDU/CSU? Either with its former or newer leader?

    IMO it's time for each ELDR and ALDE member (and ALDE as a whole) to decide if they are liberals or liberal democrats. And make their participation in government coalitions more conditional on the adoption of their agenda. Or stay out. See how much damage the LibDems have suffered in the polls as a result of their deal with the Tories and Nick's 180 turn on uni tuition, for example.

    I used to count ELDR and ALDE as part of the progressive political forces in Europe (along with the PES and some of the Greens). Not as an affiliate of the EPP and the Tories! I hope I can do that again!

    Thanks again for your comments
    Nick Panayotopoulos
    @npanayotopoulos

    ReplyDelete

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Share/Bookmark