The two-round French Presidential campaign and election has been in the news in the last few weeks with good reason. Political outsider Emmanuel Macron has emerged as one of the two victors and will challenge his now-sole remaining rival far-right leader Marine Le Pen. All of the traditional French political parties have been shut out of the final round of the presidential campaign for the first time in the history of the current French Republic.
This is only the latest contest in the upcoming non-stop bouts of European populism tests that is marching towards the perhaps now inevitable disintegration of the European Union (or at least the Euro single currency). Yet whether the nationalist-populist leader Le Pen wins in France on May 7th in the final round vote or not, this is only the first of such critical contests coming this year and possibly early next year 2018.
Later in 2017, Angela Merkel the long-time Premier of Germany will stand for reelection. She is heavily favored to win, though serious challengers are attempting to organize and capitalize on the deep-seated public disapproval of the runaway immigration that has been foisted on not only Germany but much of Western and Northern Europe by the European Union.
The French, Germans, and others throughout Europe are frustrated and angry for many reasons. Not in any single country of the present -day comprised EU did the government conduct serious and honest referendums regarding joining up with the Euro currency in the early 2000s. A few held poorly-participated in popular referendums, most of which were either non-binding or lacked a clear majority participation.
In every case, the governing elites forced their countries into the artificial construct of a European super-state with a single currency whether the silent majority wanted it or not. Nowhere is this more clear today than in Italy. The real danger to the future continuity and integrity of what remains of the EU (after the departure of the United Kingdom in Brexit) is actually not founding member France, but founding member Italy which will hold national elections either later this year or early in 2018.
The leading party in Italy today is the Five Star Movement of Beppe Grillo. Polls already show he will fairly easily defeat the party once headed by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who lost his own critical referendum on Italian electoral change a few months ago. One of the chief platforms of Grillo’s party is to withdraw from the Euro single currency and possibly to put a popular referendum on the table for continued membership in the European Union.
The days of the EU are clearly numbered. The people on the street have finally turned on their own disconnected and elitist leaders. The question now is only whether it will be “Brexit,” “Frexit,” “Gerxit,” “Dexit” (Denmark), or “Quitaly” which ultimately shatters it.
When the anti-democratic, Brussels-based, distant bureaucratic structure comes crashing down, this will usher in an era of financial market chaos for banks, currencies, sovereign bonds, and stock markets not only throughout continental Europe but the world. It will likely be significantly worse than what you witnessed with the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.
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When they look back on what brought all this geopolitical chaos and financial turmoil, it will not matter whether it was the Deutsche Bank $14 billion hole that required a German-led bank bailout which the EU rules forbid, the Italian anger at a currency that keeps them perpetually trapped in stagflation, the French frustration with immigration, or Britain calling it quits first. All that will matter is whether you saw it coming and protected your investment and retirement portfolios with the ultimate safe haven insurance policy gold.
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