In May the
serfs citizens of the European Union will go to the polls to express their party preferences for the European Parliament. The EP is largely powerless — the European Commission is the only body in which authority is vested to propose legislation; the parliament is allowed merely to vote for or against such legislation. Still, significant across-the-board gains by the “xenophobic” parties will have a profound effect on the political culture of the EU.
The following report from the Austrian newspaper Die Presse provides an overview of the prospects for various nationalist parties in the upcoming EP elections. Many thanks to JLH for the translation:
No Uniform Victory for Rightist Parties in the EU
Die Presse, March 24, 2014
Along with successes like the Front National in France, some rightist parties have also had some setbacks. Die Presse gives an overview.
Great Britain. British nationalists are on the upswing. The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which favors withdrawal from the EU, can count on 25% of the vote in the European elections, and could pass the ruling Tories.
Netherlands. The Freedom Party (PVV) is presently experiencing a loss in popularity among voters due to a controversial remark by its leader, Geert Wilders. He promised to “administer away” Moroccans, which led to comparisons with the National Socialists. A wave of withdrawals from his party followed. The PVV fell in the polls from first to third place, behind the Social Democrats and the Right Liberals.
Belgium. Right-wing Vlaams Belang‘s appeal remains low. The party of Flemish nationalists would like to found a rightist faction in the EU parliament with Front National, PVV and other parties, including the FPÖ.
Hungary. Hungary’s radical rightists are clearly more successful. The nationalist Jobbik can count on 15% of the votes in the parliamentary elections on April 6th. For the campaign, the party, which is in third place, has walked back its extremist slogans, and is looking stronger now with social themes. Jobbik is also expected to do well in the European elections in May.
Italy. Following scandals, the rightist, separatist Lega Nord is painfully battling its way out of crisis. Recently, it scored with an unofficial independence referendum in the north Italian Region Veneto. But in any case, Lega Nord is only expected to get 4.4%.
Austria. In spite of its holding a limited number of offices in Carinthia, the FPÖ could make notable gains in the European election. Polls show it on a par with ÖVP and SPÖ. To be sure, a very recent poll published by the news magazine Profil shows FPÖ in just third place with 20%. But even that would be a substantially better result than in the 2009 European election (12.7%).
Sweden. The xenophobic, right-populist Sweden Democrats can also expect gains. After the party entered parliament for the first time in 2010 with 5.7% of the vote, its poll ratings rose to 10%. With that, they passed the Greens to take third place nationally.
Finland. With their rejection of EU financial aid to Portugal and their criticism of the EU, The Finns (previously True Finns) noticeably gained popularity in the parliamentary election of 2011. They became the third-strongest party. In the meantime, recent polls show them at 15.9%.
Greece. The crisis has also endowed the radical right party in Greece — Golden Dawn — with considerable growth. Even the involvement of some of its party members in criminal activities did not change that. The party can expect 12.6% in the European election.
Slovakia. The Slovakian National Party (SNS) just missed re-entry into parliament in the elections of 2010 with 4.6%. So it cannot build on previous successes. It is predicted to get a mere 4% in the European election.