«The traditional parties will have a difficult time during the upcoming election battle, as criticism of the EU will be louder and have more popular support than ever before. A sceptical electorate, blaming the EU for the social and economic crisis, might turn away from the parties that they hold responsible and vote for those that carry no responsibility at all. The battle ground is no longer exclusively defined by conservatives, liberals, social democrats or greens, but – more than in the past – also by the parties operating on their fringes exploiting anti-European sentiments.
There is a real risk that the debates will not be about what kind of Europe (eg. neoliberal versus social democratic model), but whether there should be an EU at all. This will force the traditional parties into the pro-European corner defending the status quo while the populist anti-EU politicians can call for abandoning the whole idea of European integration. Such a negative frame will put the traditional European political families exclusively on the defensive and hamper their efforts to highlight the substantive differences between them and their candidates for the presidency of the European Commission.»