The Unstoppable Far Right?
Since 2010, the crises in the euro area have put European affairs at the forefront of national political debates. As a first step to improve the functioning of the European Monetary Union, there has been a gradual deepening of integration through financial rescue mechanisms and increased economic and fiscal policy coordination. This has led to a broad discussion featuring both advocates of a more integrated Europe and proponents of a re-nationalization of key policy areas. Commentators frequently consider these debates as triggers for the rise of right-populist support in recent years (e.g. the United Kingdom Independence Party in Great Britain). However, some right-populist parties actually lost voter support in the 2014 European elections (e.g. the Partij voor de Vrijheid in the Netherlands), which therefore challenges these assumptions. These facts raise the question how the electoral gains and losses of right-populist parties can actually be explained. A cross-country analysis including Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (U.K.), and Sweden specifically demonstrates that right-populists can only increase their share of votes if moderate political actors have already legitimized populist campaign topics. This policy paper offers suggestions for pro-European parties when facing popular euroskeptic parties in their countries.
This study is generously supported by the European Liberal Forum and other funders of GMF’s work on Europe.
About European Liberal Forum
The European Liberal Forum (ELF) is the foundation of the European Liberal Democrats, the ALDE Party and they play an important role in issuing publications on Liberalism and European public policy issues. ELF also provides a space for the discussion of European politics, and offer training for liberal-minded citizens. The aim of the European Liberal Forum is to promote active citizenship in Europe and its neighborhood.