The extreme right vote haunts Europe

In 2011, the Danish government re-established (without notice) the border controls with Germany, and Nicolas Sarkozy (in the middle of the election campaign) complained about the immigrants that invaded France. Suddenly, the re-establishment of the border controls was being discussed among the EU Ministers of Interior. Even though the decision was not taken, the debate left a trace.

The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, called for a “more modest, more sober but more effective” Union, with emphasis on the importance of the national sovereignty and Brussels’ interferences.

There are not only new alternative movements anti-euro due to the economic crisis, such as Beppe Grillo’s Five Stars at Italy. The extreme right has accomplished a generalised progress in the whole continent in the last five years. But there are differences between the Northern, Southern and Eastern currents. In Nordic countries the discourse focuses on rejecting the migration flows, whereas in the south, in Greece for instance, the economic crisis has been used to strengthen the patriotic, racist and alarmist discourse.

Far Right Map

Timo Soini, True Finns party’s leader, is a politician who calls inmigrants “criminals” and “vermin of the taxpayers’ money”. Thanks to his discourse, he won 19% of  the vote and 39 seats in Helsinki’s Parliament , thus multiplying by 8 the 2007 results.

In Sweden (which was until recently one of the Scandinavian model countries), Jimmie Akesson’s Democratic Party keeps growing thanks to a discourse that links immigration and criminality, which helped him win 20 out of 349 seats at Stockholm’s Chamber. Meanwhile, Pía Kjaersgaard, Danish People’s Party’s leader, proposed the creation of a barrier with Sweden because she thinks Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmö are becoming the Scandinavian “Beiruts.”

Far right Greeks at Golden Dawn are well known due to their latest havoc. Last October, their leader Nikolaos Mijaloliakos went to jail accused of being the leader of a “criminal gang.” In Hungary, Gabor Vona consolidated its political formation, Jobbik, thanks to his anti-gipsy proclamations… There are also xenophobic parties with electoral success at Belgium, Bulgary or Slovakia.

In Switzerland, the Swiss People’s Party (Union démocratique du Centre, UDC) initiated a consultation by which 50.3% of the Swiss citizens decided to finish the free circulation of EU people in their country. Such referendum had a significant impact on the European Union.

Bernd Lucke, Alternative for Germany Party (AfD)’s leader, defends the exit of any economically weak country from the euro and considers that Switzerland should be an example for Germany. He also proposed an immigration law to regulate the access of immigrants to social assistance. The lastest surveys give this party 6% of the vote, which would give it access to the European Parliament.

France, United Kingdom and Holand

In France, Marine Le Pen (leader of the extreme right-wing Front National) assured that Switzerland is right by rejecting the massive immigration and that France should do the same. Some surveys point the Front National as the winner of the next European elections in France, with 34% of the vote. After all, the number of French citizens supporting the party has increased continually since 2011: 22% in 2011, 31% in 2012, 32% in 2013 and the current 34%.

There is a majority of British citizens that asks for a massive reduction in the number of foreigners at the United Kingdom. The British Social Attitudes survey drawn up by the NatCen Social Research points that 77% of the British supports the reduction of the immigration levels. Subjected to pressure from the pres, the public opinion and the rise of the far right wing, UK’s government has multiplied the aggressive advertising campaign against immigration.

Suddenly, PM Cameron has indicated that he is in favour of avoiding a “flood” of Bulgarians and Romanians. However, the United Kingdom Independence Party keeps growing and taking votes from Cameron’s party, and has managed to become the third option after Labor and Conservatives.

The latests surveys show that 37% of the Dutch population would leave the Eurozone and only 35% is satisfied with belonging to the EU. The euro-sceptic Geert Wilders assured that the exit of the Netherlands from the European Union would greatly benefit the economy of the country. Wilders wants to promote the idea of a “Nexit,” and the incorporation to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) so as to maintain the access to the European market.

Will the xenophobic parties be able to gather 25 MPs from 7 different countries and form their own parliamentary faction in Strasbourg? For the first time, all the different far right wing parties have decided to join in a common front. If they succeed in forming their own faction, it would represent an added difficulty to the search of majorities and alliances in the European Parliament. The answer will be known in three months.

About the Author

Jacobo de Regoyos
Jacobo de Regoyos has been reporting from Brussels for the last 16 years. After writing for Spanish newspaper El Mundo and Tele 5, he is currently the correspondent for Onda Cero Radio. He holds a degree in Journalism by San Pablo CEU University and in 2001 he won the prestigious Salvador de Madariaga award, granted to the best reporting in Europe. He is also author of 'Belgistán, el laboratorio nacionalista' (Belgistan, the nationalism lab), about the evolution of nationalism in the EU.

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