Dylan N., journalist
Throughout Europe, far-right parties have been growing in popularity over the last few years in several European countries with a couple winning big elections. From Italy to Sweden, nationalist and far-right parties have been slowly growing and gaining seats in elections. This has happened fairly quickly since in 2015 over a million refugees from the Middle East and North Africa fled from instability and civil wars to seek refuge in Europe. However, the refugees soon overcrowded camps in Greece and Italy and had nowhere to go. Most EU countries started to accept refugees, with Germany and France taking the most. Soon after, there were various attacks made by migrants like the 2015 bombing in Paris. Far-right and nationalistic parties took advantage of the crisis and drummed up immigration fears which led to an increase in their popularity.
The fears of more immigrants led many people to flock to nationalistic parties who are very anti-immigration and want to make much tighter restrictions on immigration. The crisis gave far-right parties a big boom in popularity and weakened left-wing parties. There are two countries in Europe that have nationalist parties in charge, Hungary and Poland.
In Hungary, there is the Fidesz party headed by Viktor Orban and in Poland, there is the Law and Justice (PiS) party. PiS has an absolute majority in the parliament and has used it to take over the courts and put a much tighter grip on the press. They have ignored EU calls to stop doing so while also limiting abortion and LGBT rights. Other countries with major far-right parties are Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, and Italy. They are even popular in major countries like France whose far-right party, National Rally, was the runner-up in the presidential elections in 2017. Even in Germany, which has an infamous past with the far right, there is a rising far-right party called the Alternative for Germany. This is the first far-right party in Germany since the NSDAP, more commonly known as the Nazis. The dangers of these far-right parties are that they are very anti-European Union and anti-immigration. Far-right terrorism has also tripled over the last four years. These groups also seek to limit rights afforded to abortion, LGBT, and non-Christian religions. In conclusion, the rise of far-right and nationalist parties will make Europe more isolationist, more anti-immigrant, and give fewer rights to minorities.
One thought on “The Rise of Far-Right, Nationalistic Parties in Europe”
Right-wing extremism is now stronger than ever since WW2, largely as a backlash to the perceived threat of Islamic fundamentism and the terrorist attacks in Europe and the US; 9/11, the initial and by far the most prominent. The recent upheavals in the middle east and it’s volatile consequences has contributed to a surge in refugees from the region to Europe, ironically many to escape militant Islamists like ISIS and Alqeda, particularly in Syria and Iraq. While the communisits may have gone a new enemy has been found in Islam, “Which threatens the ideals of a white, Christian Europe”. Despite this, fascism remains on the fringe of western politics but should not be underestimated. Ther are analogies between now and the 1930’s. Just as the great depression was the ultimate legacy of world war one, the stagnation in today’s world economy is due largely to the “war” on Covid. It should also be remembered that fascism developed to it’s ultimate manifestation, “Nazism”, in Germany, one of the world’s most cultured, educated and hitherto civilized societies. And again today, in France for example, another highly developed western country, the Front National has gained reasonable success in both national and European elections. There are other areas of potential for fascisctic and related politics to flourish, particularly Eastern Europe where many former countries which gained independence from Russian rule or Soviet subugation are regaining their national identity with prominent militantence. In other countries, with fascist traditions such as Spain and Italy the far-right remains, albeit a minor one, an element of political consideration. In light of the current world geopolitics one should heed the saying “Those who do not read history are deemed to repeat it”, for when economies cease to function in a capable and productive manner, frustration and anger become prominent feature of a masses’ psychology, and that is when the most established of democratic political constitutions are stressed to breaking. We should remember history, but most importantly learn from it; the consequences otherwise are I’m uninviting in the extreme.