The Euro-Skeptic Surge

Update: The Secure Freedom Radio segment has aired, and is available in four segments here. In addition to Diana and myself, John Dietrich, the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy, is featured on the program.

The cover of the most recent issue of The Economist features Geert Wilders, Nigel Farage, and Marine Le Pen as representatives of “Europe’s Tea Parties”. Strictly speaking, it should have been Oskar Freysinger and the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) occupying the coveted third seat in that teapot boat. Mr. Farage and UKIP are definitely on the way up, but the three immigration-critical parties that now poll at #1 in their respective countries are the PVV in the Netherlands, the Front National (FN) in France, and the SVP in Switzerland.

The Economist cover got the attention of the chattering classes on this side of the Atlantic. The liberal mainstream news and opinion sites have been abuzz for the last few days over the rise of “right-wing extremist” parties in Europe. One site I looked at this morning lumped Jobbik (Hungary) and Golden Dawn (Greece) in with the Western European EU-skeptical parties.

Anyone who cannot distinguish between Jobbik and Golden Dawn on the one hand, and the PVV, Front National, Danskfolkeparti, UKIP, Sverigedemokraterna, etc. on the other, does not understand European politics in the slightest. The former are real neo-Nazis — wearing SA-type uniforms, sieg-heiling, singing the Horst Wessel Song, distributing the Protocols, the whole bit. The latter — not counting their anti-EU and anti-immigration positions — exhibit normal centrist characteristics, ranging from libertarian through social conservative to liberal/socialist.

The reason I bring all this up is that Diana West is standing in for Frank Gaffney as the host of today’s Secure Freedom Radio show for the Center for Security Policy. She asked me to come on the program and give a brief outline of what’s happening in European politics, and what it portends for the upcoming elections for the European Parliament. I spent the last couple of days boning up on the details, and compiled a batch of useful data with the help of my European contacts in the Counterjihad network.

My time on the air was brief (the segment was recorded this morning; I’m not sure when it will air), and I was only able to touch some of the high points on the latest from Europe. The data I collected turned out to be quite useful, however, and the results are presented below.

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This graph provides a general view of the relative strengths of the various major Western European parties:

In Switzerland, the “EU-skeptical” label doesn’t really apply. However, the anti-immigration stance of the Swiss People’s Party is very much in philosophical agreement with the EU-skeptical parties, so it provides the best analogy.

The data table used to construct the graph is below. The EU-skeptical parties that polled #1 are in red. Second-place parties are marked in blue (in Austria, the FPÖ is tied with the SPÖ for second place):

I had to shoehorn some very unruly data into those four types to make a graph that was useful and readable. The political spectrum varies widely from country to country in Western Europe.

Some countries are traditionally fissiparous, with a multiplicity of small parties that form shifting coalitions with one another. Denmark and the Netherlands are two examples of this type, and assigning their top parties to the categories in the model is a less than ideal solution.

Britain is at the other extreme, with just three main parties and the upstart UKIP. Labour, the Lib-Dems, and the Tories are all but indistinguishable from one another these days, but I dubbed the first “hard left”, the second “center-left”, and the last “center-right” so I could fit them into the graph.

I was unable to find poll figures for Belgium and Italy. I suspect Vlaams Belang and Lega Nord are trending upwards just like the rest of the EU-skeptical parties. Both of them are special cases, however, since they are separatist parties that call for the breakup of their respective countries. This means their popularity is essentially regional within current national political borders.

The picture in Sweden is actually more amazing than it seems at first glance. The latest Expressen poll shows Sverigedemokraterna (SD) surging ahead of Miljöpartiet (the Greens, MP) to move into third place with 10%. This is remarkable, considering that SD operates in the most repressive political environment of any Western country. The party is severely demonized in all major media and by all other political parties. Violence against its members is tacitly encouraged, and SD politicians are routinely targets of harassment, vandalism, and physical attacks. Yet 10% of the population is still willing to tell pollsters that they favor Sverigedemokraterna.

The German EU-skeptical party is Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, AfD). I don’t have any recent polling figures for it.

Spain has no real equivalent of an EU-skeptical or immigration-critical party. There is a powerful Catalonian separatist movement, roughly equivalent to Lega Nord in Italy, but I don’t have any figures for it.

A roster of EU-skeptical/immigration-critical parties:

Austria:   Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (Austrian Freedom Party, FPÖ)
Belgium:   Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest, VB)
Denmark:   Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party, DF)
Finland:   Perussuomalaiset (True Finns)
France:   Front National
Germany:   Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD)
The Netherlands:   Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom, PVV)
Sweden:   Sverigedemokraterna (The Sweden Democrats, SD)
Switzerland:   Schweizerische Volkspartei (Swiss People’s Party, SVP), also called Union Démocratique du Centre (Democratic Union of the Centre, UDC), Unione Democratica di Centro (Democratic Union of the Centre), and Partida Populara Svizra (Swiss People’s Party)
The UK:   United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)

Raw data as delivered by our European friends:


ÖVP: 24% (-6 percentage points)
SPÖ: 22% (- 1.7%)
FPÖ: 22% (+ 9.3)
Greens 13% (+ 3.1)


There are no polls yet for the pending EU election. I’m enclosing the latest poll averages for the normal Danish parliament.
Socialdemokratiet (soft left) 23%
Socialistisk Folkeparti (firmer left) 5%
Radikale Venstre (liberal party) 8%
Enhedslisten (hard left — yes, they are polling at 10+ percent!) 11%
Venstre (soft right) 27%
Konservative (pseudo-conservative) 4%
Dansk Folkeparti (firmer right) 16%
Liberal Alliance (soft libertarian) 5%


As of the 27th of December, it was 17.4% for the True Finns, 19.1% for the Center Party and 23.9% for the ruling National Coalition. The big loser has been the Social Democrat Party at 15.9%


From the last poll the Front National would be the first party in the European election (24%) in May (vs. right-wing UMP at 22% and the Socialists at 19%).

FN is now in the three first parties in France — and still climbing up — at the same moment the two other main parties (UMP & PS) are either stalling or going down.


Here are figures for 22.12.13:

PVV (Wilders) was 15 now 27 (+12)
VVD was 41 seats now 22 (-19)
PvdA was 38 seats now 14 (-24)
SP was 15 now 23 (+8)
CDA was 13 now 18 (+5)
D66 was 12 now 20 (+8)
Others were 16 now 26 (+10)

These are estimated number of seats in parliament if an election were held now.

The other 6 parties (CU, green, SGP, animal party, 50+ party and the pirates) represent a total of 26 up from 16 (+10). Bear in mind that these fringe parties are often brought into a coalition to lock out parties the establishment doesn’t like (e.g. Wilders) so, even though they are fringes they still have a lot of potential clout.


Aftonbladet Novus sammanställning
Vänsterpartiet: 7,2 procent
Socialdemokraterna: 33,1 procent
Miljöpartiet: 10,2 procent
Centerpartiet: 4,3 procent
Folkpartiet: 5,6 procent
Kristdemokraterna: 3,9 procent
Moderaterna: 25,0 procent
Sverigedemokraterna: 9,4 procent

SD 10,4 +1,0 10,1
M 25,0 +0,8 24,6
S 34,2 +0,3 33,3
MP 9,3 +0,2 9,2
V 6,4 –0,8 7,4
C 3,9 –0,4 4,0
FP 5,5 –0,7 6,2
KD 4,1 –0,3 4,0


SVP 26.6 percent in parliament
FDP 15.1 (moderate conservatives/classic liberals)
Social Democrats 18.7
The Greens (socialists) 8.4
Christian Democrats 12.3


Current State of the Parties 2014

UKIP 17%
Conservative 30%
Liberal Democrats 8%
Labour 37%

EU Elections 2009

Labour 15.7%
Conservative 27.7%
UKIP 16.5%
Liberal Democrat 13.7%

European election voting intentions of CON 23%, LAB 32%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 26% 5 January 2014

Many thanks to the European team members who helped me collect this polling data: Henrik Ræder Clausen, KGS, Kitman, Chris Knowles, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, SimonXML, and Alain Wagner

13 thoughts on “The Euro-Skeptic Surge

  1. Isn’t it the case in Sweden that individual citizen’s votes aren’t really done in private? That others can see what you write in or mark for your candidate?

    I can imagine the heart attacks that would cause in some precincts in this country. The conservatives that lived would have to move.

    Another thing: in Britain can’t Muslim husbands turn in their wives’ ‘votes’ at the post office with no verification?? Or is that an old wives’ tale?

    • Dymhpna,

      “in Britain can’t Muslim husbands turn in their wives’ ‘votes’ at the post office with no verification??”

      Since the mid-2000’s, there’s been postal voting in Britain. Not only does this mean husbands being able to turn in their wives’ votes, but it’s also been reported that in certain parts of (East) London, households with maybe 3 or 4 people registered have been receiving voting sheets many times that number. Strangely, these have also largely been some of the more “enriched” parts of London…

  2. I say we go back to voting and dipping every voter’s index finger in ink.
    This idea of making voting ‘easier’ only promotes voter fraud.

  3. In Sweden, each party has it’s own list, voters have to pick it up from that particular party’s booth or box. So if you want to vote Miljopartiet, you will pick up a list og their candidates, bring it into the voting booth, place your cross and then put the slip in a box.
    So everybody can see if you take a slip from Sverigesdemokraterne.
    Obviously this is essentially not secret election or whatever the expression is in English.
    There have even been examples of other parties hiding the lists of SD so that people couldn’t find them, or had to ask for them.
    Sweden is hardly a democratic country.

      • In Norway the slips are all identical on the outside and folded so that it is not possible to see what people vote for. All of the party lists are put out together in curtained booths so that no one can see which party you choose.

  4. I don’t know the criteria used for “Euro-sceptical”, but the Danish hard-left Enhedslisten is also quite “Euro-sceptical”. Can you maybe list the criteria?

    • Yes. “EU-skeptical” is just a handy label. As I have said repeatedly (and on the air yesterday), the common thread is opposition to immigration and Islamization.

      I list the parties that want to halt or restrict immigration, cut back on benefits and subsidies for recent immigrants, and oppose special social & legal treatment for Muslims. Some parties — notably UKIP — are unwilling to mention Islam, but they do object to mass immigration.

      Any parties that fit this model are very unlikely to view the EU as a positive good, because Brussels is pushing current immigration policy, as well as the laws against “hate speech” used against those who would criticize it.

      Unless Enhedslisten has changed its policies since I last paid attention, it is not in favor of restricting immigration.

      • If anti-immigration policies is the pillar, then you’re absolutely right, Enhedslisten is not a Euro-skeptical party. However, the reason we get to vote on the EU-patent and patentcourt is because both Danish Peoples Party and Enhedslisten both oppose the EU.
        On a different note I have to comment on this:

        “Anyone who cannot distinguish between Jobbik and Golden Dawn on the one hand, and the PVV, Front National, Danskfolkeparti, UKIP, Sverigedemokraterna, etc. on the other, does not understand European politics in the slightest.”

        The Danish Peoples Party has criticized Geert Wilders and the PVV as well as the Sweden Democrats for joining with Front National, and Nigel Farrage has distanced himself from Front National as well. They don’t want to be lumped together with them, and they’re European politicians. I find that kinda funny.


  5. Thank you, Baron, and thanks to all the Europeans who contributed, for this very helpful overview. The first-place showings of the EU-skeptical parties in France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, and the impressive growth of similar parties elsewhere, are a great encouragement. If you think back just a few years, isn’t the progress amazing? As dire as the situation is, I would not want to be among the opposition watching this happen.

    I have been following the new and still very small Liberty GB party in Britain. After impressive recent growth on Facebook, they have curiously stalled in the last few days. I wonder if it is a coincidence that the wind went out of Liberty GB’s sails just after UKIP adopted their idea of a 5-year moratorium on immigration.

      • Thanks. I just heard that Nick Farage announced it so I though it was new. I wonder if a lot of other people also did not know it was policy and thought it was new.

        In any event, since I last commented, Liberty GB’s growth has followed a pattern of bursts and abrupt stalling which I don’t think I’ve seen it do before, while Facebook shows that the number people “talking” about Liberty GB has jumped dramatically since Jan. 10.

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