The global focus on the upcoming “Brexit” referendum is warranted. A vote in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union would send political and economic shockwaves across the world. But regardless of how the British referendum goes, events in Southern Europe will continue to stress the European Union.
One of the most notable consequences of the European crisis is the rise of anti-establishment parties across the Continent. What began as a financial crisis some eight years ago soon evolved into economic and unemployment crises. Low economic growth and high unemployment bred popular mistrust of mainstream political parties and gave rise to new political forces that question traditional leadership. Over the weekend, several events in Italy and Spain highlighted the extent to which anti-establishment sentiment is threatening the political order in some of the eurozone’s largest economies ahead of key votes in each country.