Troubling Trends: Populist Right Rises In Europe

The European continent has been among the most stable, prosperous and peaceful since World War II. Systems of fairly high taxation, welfare systems and low inequality have led to relatively little political volatility or social tension.

Recent years have seen a troubling trend though. Far right and populist rightwing movements have seen a revival in European politics. Largely every European country has seen a rightwing party burst onto the political scene. They vary in methods, ideology and harshness of positions, but the overall trend is fairly obvious: The right is on the rise in Europe.

At one end of this phenomenon we find populist anti-immigration parties working entirely within the democratic establishment political frame such as the True Finns in Finland, the Danish Peoples Party in Denmark and UKIP in the UK. These could be labeled “back to the good old days” parties opposing globalization in general and immigration, the EU and multiculturalism in particular.

At the more extreme far right end of the rightwing wave we have seen what could be labeled neo-fascist, neo-nazi or radical nationalist parties. These parties include self-declared national socialist parties such as Golden Dawn in Greece marching uniformed into parliament with Swastika style banners to the tunes of the Horst Wessel song. The open neo-nazi Slovak National Party and the extremely radical Hungarian ethno-centric nationalist party Jobbik.

The common theme among the more radical parties are basically the same as on the populist right. Opposition to immigration, closure of the border, anti-multiculturalism, higher criminal penalties, fewer civil liberties and departure from the EU. The difference is how radical the demands are. For instance The Danish Peoples Party wants to severely limit Muslim immigration, Golden Dawn wants to round up all foreign nationals of foreign race or Islamic religion and intern them in camps until deportation. The headline, No more immigration, might be the same but the contents are different and whereas a party like the True Finns wants to achieve a less multicultural society they want to do so by parliament legislation and political campaigns to convince fellow Finns, Jobbik prefers doing it by putting their armed paramilitary into action in the streets of Budapest.

At we find a walkthrough of the Far Right Rise In Europe – Anti Immigration Wave with an in depth examination of the populist anti-immigration trends feeding the electoral and popular spread of neo-fascism across the once so harmonic continent.

Are we going to see these neo-fascist parties achieving actual power in Europe? To some extent we already have. First of all Jobbik has obtained influence in the Hungarian parliament, the Slovak National Party has entered a government coalition in Slovakia, the Danish Peoples Party has been key to center-right minority governments for a while and Alternative For Germany looks posed to potentially be the key powerbroker in Germany after the next general election.

The more important influence of the success of the populist right is how they have changed the political debate and policy positions of establishment parties. In Germany Angela Merkel has turned away from open border policies to stem the tide of Alternative For Germany (more about the AfD, Alternative Für Deutschland in the Alternative For Germany – Right Wing On The Rise in Germany feature at Electomatic), in Sweden and Denmark the normally humanistic center parties have adopted anti-immigration policies and the list goes on forever.

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