Buenos Aires Times

Europe’s far-right plays for keeps but faces hurdles

The migrant crisis has been a key factor in fuelling the rise of far-right populism.

Saturday 30 December, 2017
Image from migrants between Greece and Macedonia's borders.
Image from migrants between Greece and Macedonia's borders. Foto:CEDOC.

More Economy News

They may have failed to clinch a victory in national elections, but 2017 has nonetheless proven a bumper year for Europe’s far-right parties at the ballot boxes. Yet with success also come growing divisions, which could mar their future ambitions.

Across the continent, eurosceptics peddling anti-migration agendas have reaped historic election results this year, tapping into unease about a mass influx of asylum-seekers – many from Muslim-dominated countries. “The far right in Europe is more popular today than it was at any time in post-war history,” said Dutch expert Cas Mudde, an associate professor at the University of Georgia.

The first boost to populists came in March when the Dutch anti-Islam Freedom Party of Geert Wilders became the second force in Parliament.

Then followed the French National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen, which took nearly 34 percent of votes in the May presidential run-off won by Emmanuel Macron. This was double the score Le Pen’s firebrand father and FN founder Jean-Marie obtained in the second round in 2002. September saw Germany’s Islamophobic and antiimmigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), founded in 2013, enter the Bundestag – the first far-right party to do so since the end of World War II. Last but not least, Austria’s anti-immigration Freedom Party (FPOe) got a nearrecord result of 26 percent in October and became the junior coalition partner in the right-wing government.

The migrant crisis has been a key factor in fuelling the rise of far-right populism. More than 1.5 million people, many fleeing the civil war in Syria, have landed on Europe’s shores since 2015. Internal strife remains a challenge for Europe’s nationalists, however.

Both the FN and AfD have been riven by leadership issues, while Finland’s ultranationalist Finns Party imploded over divisions in June, barely two years after joining a coalition government.



Top Stories

  1. 1Time magazine names Macri among world's '100 most influential'Time magazine names Macri among world's '100 most influential'
  2. 2Ni Una Menos releases alarming statistics, reports 13 femicides in first 15 days of 2018
  3. 3Team Macri is winning the culture war
  4. 4Dujovne: Evasion in the times of Macri
  5. 5Eight minutes from our future
  6. 6Conservative Benítez tipped to win Paraguay presidential poll
  7. 72018: A key electoral year for Latin America
  8. 8Argentina looks to China, the tourist industry’s most coveted market
  9. 9Police arrest two men suspected of murdering bus driver