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Ruminations on the far-right threat in Europe

September 18th, 2014

Columnists commenting on the weekend Swedish and Brandenburg elections agree that the rise of the far-right is inevitable even in western European countries which were not hit hard by the economic crisis. The growing popularity of far-right radicalism is a good reminder for moderate parties that they should pay more attention to growing inequality and lack of opportunity.

The far-right is on the rise even in richer western European states, Csaba Lukács in Magyar Nemzet (print edition) comments on the weekend Swedish Parliamentary election. The conservative analyst notes that the far-right Sweden Democrats who received 12.9 per cent of the popular vote will have a higher proportion of seats in Parliament than the Hungarian far-right Jobbik party has. Lukács recalls that according to various reports, anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant violence has been on the rise in Malmö. He believes that the rising support for the far-right is the result of increased migration, high unemployment and rising inequality. All this shows that even better-off countries are struggling to help the poor who without meaningful opportunities turn to the far-right radicals. Lukács contends.

In Népszabadság, Edit Inotai adds that the far-right Alternative für Deutschland also increased its support to 12 per cent at the weekend Brandenburg state election. Despite the fact that neither Germany nor Sweden have been seriously hit by the economic crisis, the xenophobic far-right in both countries have increased their support, Inotai notes. She goes on to claim that the far-right successfully addresses voters fears over increasing economic insecurity and slower growth, but they cannot offer credible policy alternatives. Inotai believes that the good news is that close to 90 per cent of Swedish and Brandenburg voters still reject the far-right.  The presence of far-right radicalism on the political scene serves as a good reminder for mainstream parties that they must address the issues of migration and lack of opportunities, Inotai concludes.

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