Europe’s Far Right: Don’t Blame the Eurozone Crisis

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Series Details August 2012
Publication Date August 2012
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Economic concerns have surged to the forefront of the public mindset in many European countries, but evidence on the drivers of support for far right-wing parties points to the importance of anti-immigrant hostility in understanding their appeal. Moreover, much of this research throws doubt on the assumption that public hostility to immigration is rooted simply in feelings of economic threat, and concerns over scarce goods. Rather, perceived threats to the cultural unity of the native population, to values and ways of life are far more important in propelling support for the likes of Geert Wilders than is often assumed.

The challenge that faces elites at the European and national level is a daunting one: to regain the trust of citizens and appease their anxieties over cultural as well as economic threats. The eurozone crisis may have enlarged their political space, but these challengers were already well on their way.

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Chatham House: Expert Comment, September 2012: Europe at the Extremes? Public Concerns and the Generational Divide

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