RISE OF THE RIGHT IN EUROPE By Prathik Karthikeyan from Jindal Global Law School
Even as early as 2015, the evidence to support this wave of far right populism across Europe was relatively weak. Hungary and Poland had elected rightist, anti-globalization governments, and France, the Netherlands, Sweden and a few other European nations had hard-right parties that were beginning, to look like electoral contenders .The United Kingdom was heading for a vote on its EU membership, but very few people predicted a vote for Brexit and laughed off the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union. Yet now the political landscape of Europe is drastically different, the UK shockingly voted in favor of leaving the European Union putting the entire future of possibly one of the most successful intergovernmental organizations into jeopardy further compounded by the fact that far right parties where rapidly gaining popularity across Europe all of whom had similar views on the EU, Austria, Netherlands , Sweden, Germany and France all have been hit by a tidal wave of surging hardliner right wing politics.
Across the once moderate liberal political landscape of Europe, extremist right-wing have rapidly gained popularity, pandering to the fears of the public. This signals that the once liberal haven of Europe is slowly beginning to look inwards with the rise of hard-line right wing parties rapidly gaining popularity among the largely disenfranchised civilians of European nations who feel out of sync with the current liberal agenda in Europe, this wave of populism is rather a symptom of the failing of western liberal democracies and by and large the creation of a scenario in which the citizens of these nations no longer have any incentive to support the system which has failed them. The Modus operandi of these hard right parties is more or less uniform; all pander to the fears of civilian populations: migrants taking your jobs, Muslims threatening your culture and security, Liberal structures infringing upon the people’s rights and also problems within the European Union, Problems all currently facing Europe: A weak economy, more immigrants than they can handle and an unclear future of the EU.
The Brexit is a key example when you are considering this, The people of the United Kingdom voted in favor of leaving the European Union, choosing to forego millions of dollars in free trade and other socio-economic benefits because people began to view the EU with a great deal of skepticism, driven by the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the U.K. Independence Party, which has long called for Britain to shut its borders, allowing them to capitalize on the fears of the populous and effect this massive shift in policy. This anti-immigrant rhetoric only gained more traction across Europe as a spate of terror attacks were witnessed across Europe leaving huge death tolls and these attacks were largely viewed as an effect of the mass movement of refugees further galvanizing the view among European citizens that migrants not only posed an economic and social threat but posed an even greater security threat directly pointing to the fact that the current liberal establishment has failed in preserving the peace in Europe and consequentially allowing extremist nationalistic parties to rise across Europe as they propose a more radical approach.
European nations have even done the unthinkable and enacted differential and oppressive legislation because of the pressure that they now face from their own citizens to deal with the problems plaguing them, Denmark enacted the extremely controversial jewelry law allowing them to seize the jewelry and cash of incoming refugees despite international criticism the policy enjoys popularity among the people of Denmark because of the palpable disenfranchisement with established liberal approach to politics a sentiment that rings true across Europe which in the past couple of decades enjoyed the reputation as being the most developed both economically and socially group of nations. This regression into reactionary hard line politics must be examined more carefully as Europe stands to tear apart its own social fabric and go back on the values which it has stood for so long. One would need a serious re-think of national strategies towards the economy and especially refugees which many regarded as the primary cause of this rising of the hard right, Europe must find a way to preserve its liberal values while not abandoning its own populations and plead complacency to current socio-economic scenarios.
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