In Europe too, we see strange times. In the presidential elections in France the choice is between a xenophobic anti-EU candidate, a centrist populist and a man who attacks the judicial system and accuses it of being part of a political conspiracy against him. Of course the family Le Pen is not new. New is that most major parts of the political spectrum in France have decayed.
In the Netherlands the political party with the second-biggest popular support wants to ban the Quran, and most parties use opposition against the authoritarian Turkish president or de facto dictator as a disguise for racism. The same tendency is clear in Austria, where half the population earlier voted for a right wing populist as president. Of course Erdogan answers with grotesque nazi-accusations.
Here in Denmark all the major political parties are competing openly in proposing racist measures against traumatized refugees. The minister for (dis)integration accuses them of abusing the welfare system and boasts of (almost) violating human rights conventions. Sweden has ended the more than half a century old passport-free travel between the Nordic countries and thereby divided the greater metropolitan area Copenhagen-Malmö, only to satisfy xenophobic voters. Poland continues to subdue the judges and the press.
Truly, Germany is being surrounded by politically declined neighbors. Together perhaps with Spain it may be the only mature political system left in Europe! The talk about a EU with two speeds is becoming increasingly naive. In most of the union both the population and the politicians are moving away from the European idea. The remaining old style politicians seem to close their eyes and with few exceptions continue business as usual while the water keeps on rising.