Europe’s Far-Right Anger Is Moving Mainstream
Special to Foreign Policy
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.
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