A crisis of one’s own: The politics of trauma in Europe’s election year

ECFR policy brief co-authored by Ivan Krastev and Mark Leonard

  • European politics is not simply divided between left and right, and between pro- and anti-European integration attitudes – but between different ‘crisis tribes’ whose members have been traumatised by key events.
  • In the last decade, Europe has undergone crises of the economy, security, health, climate, and migration, which have created political identities that run through and between countries.
  • Germany is the only country whose citizens select ‘immigration’ as the issue that has affected them above all else. In France and Denmark, people choose climate change as the most important crisis. Italians and Portuguese point to global economic turmoil. In Spain, Great Britain, and Romania, the covid-19 pandemic is the principal issue. Estonians, Poles, and Danes consider the war in Ukraine to be the most transformative of crises.
  • In the upcoming European Parliament election, covid-19, the economy, and Ukraine are unlikely to be key mobilising issues. The climate and migration crises are dominating headlines and will be especially influential in how people vote.
You can find the full policy brief here
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