With very little ink spilled in European or North American news rooms, hard right leaning European political parties are making election gains thought impossible just a few short years ago. As reported by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Oct. 19, 2015, two right-wing parties in historically neutral Switzerland have become a forced to be reckoned with in the Alpine nation. Taking things a step further, reporter Mike Bird of the new media Business Insider notes also on Oct. 19, 2015, that from the Balkans to Scandinavia, nationalist right-leaning political parties are flexing their considerable muscle.
With Europe currently experiencing a literal flood of migrants mainly from North Africa and the Middle East numbering in the hundreds of thousands if not millions, the pro-nativists are seeing election gains that have more than a few leftists sweating proverbial bullets. Case in point would be the Swiss People’s Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei, SVP) and the Free Democratic Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei, FDP), who have taken first and third place, respectively, in the Swiss National Council, the lower house of the nation’s legislative branch.
In what the Swiss media has tagged “Rechtsrutsch” – a slide to the right – the SVP and the FDP are forming a coalition with a handful of other right-leaning parties to take control of the lower house. In the meantime, all parties left, right and center are holding their collective breaths as a number of Swiss cantons must complete a second round of voting to see who will win control of the Council of States (upper house).
While it has been noted that Spain’s and Germany’s right-wing populist parties parties aren’t as politically powerful as their Swiss brethren, the Front National in France, Golden Dawn in Greece and Britain’s UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) have already established themselves political powerhouses for at least the past few years. But beyond those parties already established, the rise of the right though out the continent is seen as a direct response to the mainly Arab-Muslim influx.
The Business Insider’s Bird has addressed the rise of nationalists in a number of European countries:
- “In Austria, there’s been quiet momentum behind the far-right Freedom Party too. In late September, the party nudged the mainstream centre-left party out of second place in a state elections in Upper Austria. In 2010, one of the party’s slogans was ‘mehr mut für unser Wiener blut,’ or ‘more courage for our Viennese blood.'”
- “In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’ PVV is 18 points ahead of the governing VVD in the latest polls.”
- “Marine Le Pen’s National Front leads in most polls in France.”
- “In Italy, Matteo Salvini’s Northern League is riding high.”
As Bird also cited, Salvini, Le Pen, Wilders and Christian-Stache (the leader of the Austrian Freedom Party) all collaborated on an editorial penned for the Wall Street Journal on Oct. 15, 2015. Here’s but a snippet:
The situation is completely out of control. Too many fortune seekers, too much illiteracy. Some of the migrants are refugees, but the majority come for economic reasons. Our European economies and social-protection systems cannot cope with this. The media prefer to focus on families and children, but their images cannot conceal that the asylum seekers flocking to Europe are predominantly young men. Many are unskilled …
The European Union has slowly been eroding Europe’s nation-states by gradually dismantling their sovereignty. It has robbed our countries of the right to conduct our own national asylum policies