Nationalist Political Parties Could Disrupt This Year's EU Elections
The euro slipped below $1.37 ahead of the weekend after PMI data on Thursday showed that although the eurozone's manufacturing sector was picking up, France remained a wildcard. The common currency traded at $1.3634 at 8:38 GMT on Friday morning, weighed down by investors' profit taking.
Eurozone manufacturing PMI rose in December, adding to evidence that the bloc continued to expand in the fourth quarter. The higher figure was led by manufacturing in both Germany and Italy, where PMI scores were also higher. France, however, turned in a poor performance yet again in December, highlighting concerns that the eurozone's recovery is uneven. French manufacturing PMI was down to a 47.0, a seven month low and far below the 50 point mark that indicates expansion.
2014 will be a year of change for the eurozone as the region's policy makers attempt to make the necessary changes to avoid another debt crisis in the future. However, it may not be that simple as years of austerity and sky high unemployment rates have paved the way for aggressive anti-euro political parties that are gaining popularity ahead of the European Parliament's May elections.
The Wall Street Journal reported that strong nationalist parties could disrupt this years vote as they make their way into mainstream politics. Parties calling for stricter immigration controls and withdrawal from the euro have been gaining ground, especially in Nordic countries like Sweden.
Some say that next year's European Parliament could end up with up to 30 percent of its members falling into the “euroskeptics” category. If the vote does end that way, anti-EU parties would have a voice to bloc the region's 2014 initiatives.
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