Why the far-right is increasingly getting into power across Europe

Efi Koutsokosta, Euronews, 19.06.2023

Interview

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A shift is taking place little by little in Europe which could turn out to be a new political trend.

Previously on the margins of the political spectrum, far-right parties are now getting government roles alongside mainstream right-wing parties. [...]

Disillusionment with conventional parties

Analysts say that the reasons behind this trend vary from country to country, with immigration, the economy or the war in Ukraine among the drivers for the shift.

"In some countries, this is very strongly related —in many by the way, not only in those countries where they then assume a leadership role in government or a role in government — with the issue of migration," Janis Emmanouilidis, deputy chief executive of the European Policy Centre, a Brussels-based think tank, said.

"In other countries, it is a way of showing the yellow or the red card to mainstream parties for issues related to the economy, with issues related to fears of people having with respect to transformation processes, which is happening in front of their eyes," he added. [...]

European elections ahead

As next year's European elections loom, new political alignments could be formed.

The main parties — the conservative European People's Party, the liberals from Renew, and social democrats of the S&D — are likely to emerge weakened, according to recent polls.

The recent open "flirt" between the EPP and the more right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR), notably on environmental issues, has raised concerns over policy-making after 2024.

"A stronger election result for extreme forces will push the mainstream in a certain direction, will put it under pressure. Will that lead then, to the end of the EU? This is not, I think, what is on the cards, but it could make things more difficult at the European level," Emmanoulidis said.

But, he nonetheless stressed that "this (is) happening at a time where actually you need a higher level of ambition with respect to the EU's response to the many challenges we are facing, to the many transformational challenges we're facing, whether it has to do with geopolitics —just look at Ukraine and the international order —, look into the green transformation, look into digital transformation". [...]

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