In France and Holland, and in Norway where the conservatives rose to power with tough promises to curb immigration, the tide seems to be against immigration. But the outpouring of sympathy last week when more than 300 would-be illegal immigrants drowned on a boat that sank en route from Libya to Italy suggests that Europe isn’t exactly being swept by racism. In other countries in Europe, the more potent issue seems to be frustration with the European Union and its institutions, widely blamed for the policies of austerity which have sent unemployment sky-rocketing to more than 20 percent in several countries. In Britain the U.K. Independence Party, which favors pulling out of the European Union altogether, is rising in the polls and claims to be the country’s legitimate third party. Britain’s ruling conservatives fear the prospect of UKIP taking so many of the votes they lose the next elections. Meanwhile, another euroskeptic party, Alternative for Germany, just missed out on a place in the Bundestag in last month’s general election. It came from nowhere to fall just short of the threshold of 5 percent the national vote needed to enter Parliament. But is the rise in the vote of these once-fringe groups the result of immigration, or of skepticism about Europe, or is it simply a protest vote against hard times and economic stagnation? Most likely, it is a combination of the three, combined with distrust of conventional politicians. Whatever the components of their appeal, it makes it difficult to dismiss these parties as “extreme right” or racist or even neo-Nazi. It is more complex than that. Austria’s Freedom Party is drawing mass support from working-class, blue-collar voters, University of Vienna political scientist Sylvia Kritzinger says, “Because of the policies they put forward, like immigration reform , anti-European integration, anti-corruption in the political system.” In France, the FN appears to be losing its pariah status and appealing to disillusioned socialist and conservative voters with promises to crack down on crime and illegal immigration and to leave the euro currency.
Is France turning racist?
The impact of a lifespan extension would be positive on recurring earnings potential of EDF and would trigger a further deleveraging of the company, Boujard said in a note. Extending to 51 years would add 5 euros a share to the company, he said. The valuation would increase by 13.8 euros a share with an extension to 50 years, Martin Young, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets , said in a report last month, though that effect would be lowered by benefit sharing with the state or customers. Increasing Renewables The nuclear activity of EDF through amortizations that are already over long periods will provide sums that could be used by the state as shareholder, Minister Martin said. Funds may help boost French energy efficiency and renewables, he said. The Commission de Regulation de lEnergie regulator said in a study in June that extending amortization would have large and lasting consequences for electricity production costs as well as a one-time financial advantage for the utility. Amortization was pushed to 40 years from 30 years in 2003. An extension to 50 years would allow EDF to cut provisions, the regulator said. It may also curb state-set tariff increases. While EDF is seeking to operate its French reactors for 60 years, the regulatory system doesnt allow for the government to simply extend the operating lives. Autorite de Surete Nucleaire , the atomic regulator, carries out in-depth inspections on each reactor every 10 years, granting permission on a case-by-case basis depending on its findings.