THE BLOG

The European Swing State

05/13/2014 05:01 pm ET | Updated Jul 13, 2014
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In the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, Poland is like Iowa, New Hampshire or Iowa in the U.S. presidential elections. On May 25, 2014, Poland will be just as important as Florida was in 2000.The outcome here will have an enormous effect on who leads Europe and on the future of the whole continent.

Following her loss in the Iowa primaries in 2008, the campaign of Hillary Clinton was close to being completely crushed. The race to the White House hadn't event started and already Clinton's team took a huge hit and her chances of becoming the Democratic Party's candidate grew slim. Why? Because Iowa is swing state. If it wasn't for Clinton's comeback in New Hampshire (another key swing state), she would have been out of the contest. Swing states are a natural part of the American political landscape. But they are also showing up in Europe.

The latest polls show that the success of Civic Platform in Poland is directly linked to the overall European victory of the European People's Party (EPP). On the other hand, if Law and Justice wins in Poland, than the Socialists' chances of winning in the EU greatly increase. Thus, although Law and Justice, a party which has become increasingly anti-European and nationalistic in rhetoric over the past few years, is not a member of the Socialists and Democrats, its victory in Poland would be a win for the Socialists.

This is an unprecedented situation because in the case of the two previous elections to the European Parliament, the EPP was sure to win from the start. This time, it is neck and neck with S&D. It's anyone's game. But the stakes are higher than ever because at a time when the European Union is redefining itself and is faced with an aggressive Russian Federation, the winner of the elections will get first pick on high-profile dossiers in the European Commission, including its president. This will also translate into key posts in the European Parliament, which are distributed according to the d'Hondt system, including heads of EP committees and delegations. That's why in these elections, Poland is just as important as Florida was 14 years ago.

Currently, there is no European demos or a single European society. The differences between American states are significant, like Wisconsin or Florid for example, but there is one American demos. When Americans are voting, they are choosing American political parties because they are expressing their opinions and views on the U.S. as a whole. Today, in the European elections, in all countries - in Old and New Europe, whether its France, Poland, Germany or the Czech Republic -- people are voting for national parties based on whether they support the governments currently in power or the opposition. There isn't a large group of voters in Europe who cast their ballot based on particular EU policies; they are voting based on national reasons. We don't have a EU-wide campaign which focuses on policies, and that is the difference between the U.S. and the EU. However, election similarities are appearing across the Atlantic and one of those is the emergence of swing states. Watch Poland. The outcome here will have an enormous effect on the future of the EU.