Europe’s far-right moving mainstream
The fiscal crisis of 2008 first got the mainstream looking to the right leaning parties in Europe. As it became clear the Eurozone was ill equipped to handle the crisis the mood turned Euro-skeptic in many quarters. Germans were miffed that they were paying for Greeks to retire early with large pensions for example.
The migrant crisis really accelerated the rise of the right. Especially with the several terrorist attacks over the last two years. That is what this article is about. Read the entire article at the link above.
In the wake of the Brexit vote in Britain and the recent Italian referendum, and with national elections looming in 2017 in the Netherlands, France, and Germany, there is concern that Europe may be inundated by a populist wave, driven in large part by right-wing parties exploiting anti-globalization, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim sentiments. Indeed, the strategy seems to be working: Polls show that people who have a favorable view of the National Front (FN) in France, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Germany, and the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands tend to be more negative about immigrants, refugees, and Muslims than their fellow countrymen. In addition, they are more euro-skeptic and more wary of globalization than their compatriots.
While the often nasty, nativist rhetoric of Marine Le Pen, the leader of the FN, or Geert Wilders, the founder of the Dutch Party for Freedom, is certainly key to attracting supporters, the intensity and breadth of right-wing, populist sentiments among party sympathizers — as well as a substantial minority of the general public — is notable in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
The question that cannot yet be answered is whether this minority view could become widely shared in the coming months. A Pew Research Center survey in 10 European Union countries this year notes that it already has in Poland and Hungary, where there is not much difference in public sentiment about diversity, immigrants, or Muslims between those who favor the ruling right-wing parties and the views of those who do not favor them.
In France, 45 percent of those who have a favorable view of the FN say diversity makes their country a worse place to live. Only 24 percent of the overall French population believes that. But 34 percent of those who identify with the center-right Republicains agree with FN supporters. And their candidate, Francois Fillon, is a leading contender in next year’s presidential election. Meanwhile, about half of FN sympathizers voice an unfavorable view of Muslims, compared with only 29 percent who hold anti-Muslim sentiment among the general public. Roughly three-quarters of FN backers believe that refugees from Iraq and Syria pose a major threat to France, while just 45 percent of the French public agrees. So on most, but notably not all issues relating to the “other” in French society, FN sympathizers are far more negative and worried. But the anti-diversity sentiment among Republicains bears watching.
In Germany, roughly six-in-10 of those who have a favorable view of the AfD express the opinion that diversity is bad for the country. Only about three-in-10 in the German public share that view. But 39 percent of supporters of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU party think diversity is bad. Anti-Muslim sentiment among AfD sympathizers is twice that among the general public (59 percent vs. 29 percent) as is the worry that refugees pose a threat to the country (63 percent vs. 31 percent). Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent call for a ban on burqas and a vow that the refugee crisis “must never be repeated” suggests she is sensitive to the appeal of some of anti-other sentiments among her own CDU/CSU voters.
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When people are facing a crisis which threatens their cultire, they either meekly surrender or fight back fairly zealously.
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