Across Europe, nationalist and far-right parties have made significant electoral gains.
Some have taken office, others have become the main opposition voice, and even those yet to gain a political foothold have forced centrist leaders to adapt.
In part, this can be seen as a backlash against the political establishment in the wake of the financial and migrant crises, but the wave of discontent also taps into long-standing fears about globalisation and a dilution of national identity.
Instead of championing the EU and the economic benefits of immigrants, Europe’s mainstream parties are moving further to the right. David Cameron’s clampdown on immigrant benefits was one policy designed to win back votes from far-right party UKIP.
David Cameron announces decision to cut immigrant benefits - an attempt to claw back the far right vote.
A troubling scandal unfolded in Europe last week. Normally, most people wouldn’t blink an eye upon seeing an ethnically mixed family. When it comes to the Roma (commonly known by the disfavored term “Gypsies”), however, many Europeans do notice. Three blond-haired and blue-eyed children were thus taken into custody from otherwise darker skinned Romani families, one in Greece (see photo above) and two in Ireland, on the suspicion of having been kidnapped.
Sixty eight years after the end of World War Two and the defeat of Fascism and Nazism we are witnessing almost everywhere in Europe the rise of extreme right. But, and this is an even more distressing phenomenon, we see the emergence and growth to the right of this extreme right, plainly neo-Nazi forces which, in some cases (Greece, Hungary,…) are putting down roots in society building popular, radical, racist, ultra-violent, and pogromist mass movements.