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Europe: Far-right Political Groups Gaining Momentum

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Europe: Far-right Political Groups Gaining Momentum

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The political right in northern Europe is increasingly attracting large numbers of followers, posing a challenge for leftist parties in upcoming national elections.

“Far right parties have been gaining ground in several European countries since the 1990s, their successes ascribed to disenchantment with the perceived failures of leftwing governments, growing concern over immigration and the tightening of the European Union,” the Guardian reported.

Numerous peoples in predominantly left-leaning nations, such as Denmark, Sweden and Finland, are evidencing changing political mindsets.

“In an arc of countries spreading north-east from the Netherlands, populist parties are cutting a swathe through politics, appealing to electorates with various blends of nationalism, Euroscepticism (and euro-scepticism) and outright xenophobia,” The Economist stated.

“The country to watch is Finland, where the True Finns have emerged from obscurity to have a shot at joining government after an election on April 17th” (ibid.).

The influence of a number of these groups is not new. For example, the right-wing British National Party has had representation at the European Parliament since 2009, and the right-leaning Danish People’s Party leader, as The Economist noted, “…is often voted Denmark’s most powerful woman, ahead of the queen.”

In addition to fiscal conservatism, a common sentiment among these parties seems to be anti-Islamic policy.

“The [Netherlands’ Freedom Party] still plays the Muslim card—anti-Islamism, Mr Wilders says, remains his ‘passion’—but it is seeking to broaden its hand with other themes, ranging from the eccentric (expelling ‘imported’ animal species such as Highland cows) to the worrying (‘scum camps’ for repeat offenders)” (ibid.).

Regarding the trend in Germany, the Guardian stated, “The far right in post-war Germany has manifested itself largely as a neo-Nazi youth protest movement, with plenty of unpleasant rallies by disaffected and racist youths from both the east and west of the country.”

Other nations experiencing similar political changes include Austria, Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Switzerland.

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