• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Rise of the right in upcoming European elections

ByBea Newington-Bridges

Feb 24, 2024
European Parliament Building

All polls point to a ground-breaking result in the European Parliament elections this June. Interest levels amongst voters are already showing signs of being significantly higher than previously and the overwhelming prediction is for there to be a prevailing shift to the right.

The UK’s dismissive attitude towards the European Parliament elections whilst still in the EU should not be treated as an indication of the significance that these elections hold. In a post-Covid age of contentious geopolitical issues, populations across Europe are conscious that a stage larger than national politics is needed when facing contemporary issues. Interestingly, it is predominantly the larger role-players within the EU such as Germany, Italy, France and Spain that are expected to experience the largest shift to the right. Prediction polls are already claiming that anti-European populists will top in a third of states.

Identity politics will play a big part in voter’s minds. Germany’s staunchly anti-immigrant, neo-Nazi-esque AfD party is now polling at over 20% in popularity, placing it second in current rankings. Georgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party has a substantial lead in polls and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally has recently overtaken Macron’s ruling centrist party.

Hungary’s Viktor Orban is a recent example of the growing influence that nationalism has within the EU, having vetoed a €50 billion proposition for aid to Ukraine although later forced to comply by other leaders. An increasingly right-wing European Parliament would be more supportive to Russia, less focused on climate legislation, anti-immigrant and less likely to sanction Hungary in situations such as the recent Ukraine aid. It would also be more receptive to the interests of Trump than the European Union.

This week the French MEP and member of Marion Maréchal’s far-right fringe party, Nicholas Bay, announced that he will side with the Euroskeptic European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group of which the Polish Law and Justice and Italian Brothers of Italy parties are also members. Bay has publicly campaigned against mass immigration, ‘Islamization’, woke culture and LGBT activism. The ECR is expected to set about reducing the centrist influence in the European Parliament if they gain ground in the forthcoming election. The possibility of the far-right’s cooperation with the centre-right would pose a formidable threat for the future of Europe. What will happen is yet to be seen, but in a year full of elections this will be one to keep an eye on.

European Parliament building” by dungodung is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.