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  Rise of the right

  54 Debates

The German police launched nationwide raids on Wednesday, targeting a group from the far-right Reichsbürger ("Citizens of the Reich") scene. Around 3,000 officers searched 150 properties in several federal states and arrested 25 suspects. The group was allegedly planning a coup to abolish the current state order in Germany, and is being described as a "real threat".

The 27-year-old MEP Jordan Bardella has replaced Marine Le Pen as leader of the Rassemblement National (RN). It is the first time in the 50-year history of the right-wing populist party that it will not be led by a member of the Le Pen family. Commentators believe the change of leader is only on paper, however.

Friday October 28 marks the centenary of Mussolini's March on Rome, which brought Italy's National Fascist Party to power in 1922. A few days after the swearing-in of the new Italian government under the post-fascist Giorgia Meloni, commentators ask what remains of Mussolini's spirit in Italy and Europe - and why.

Giorgia Meloni has become Italy's first female prime minister after being sworn into office and handed the symbolic cabinet bell by her predecessor Mario Draghi on Sunday. Meloni's coalition government consists of her post-fascist Fratelli d'Italia party, Matteo Salvini's right-wing populist Lega and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia. Commentators discuss what this pronounced shift to the right means for Europe.

Ulf Kristersson, leader of the liberal-conservative Moderate Party, became Sweden's new prime minister on Monday. His conservative coalition plans to work closely with the Sweden Democrats (SD). Migration and fighting crime are the main issues on which there is common ground among the parties. Commentators look on with concern.

The right-wing alliance led by the post-fascist Fratelli d'Italia (FdI) party will have an absolute majority in both chambers of the Italian parliament. FdI, the right-wing populist Lega and the conservative Forza Italia secured 112 of the 200 seats in the Senate and 235 of the 400 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Commentators discuss what this means for the countries of Europe.

The right-wing bloc has won a narrow victory in Sweden's parliamentary elections. The Social Democratic head of government, Magdalena Andersson, has tended her resignation. Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderate Party, looks set to become the new prime minister, but to achieve a majority he needs the support of the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats. Commentators speculate on the consequences for Europe as a whole.

A victory for Giorgia Meloni's Fratelli d'Italia party - widely regarded as post-fascist - in Italy's parliamentary elections on 25 September seems increasingly likely. The party has a lead of around 25 percent in all the polls. The second-placed social democratic Partito Democratico under top candidate Enrico Letta follows with 20 to 22 percent. But unlike Meloni's party it doesn't have a strong electoral alliance behind it.

Spain's largest autonomous community, Castilla y León, has a new government: a coalition between the conservative People's Party (PP) and the far-right party Vox, which will be represented with three ministries, the parliamentary presidency and a vice-presidency. This is the first time that Vox will be in government in Spain. The national press is very divided over this development.

The far-right party Vox has made strong gains in a snap election in the central Spanish region of Castilla y León and is now third behind the conservative People's Party (PP) and the Socialists (PSOE). Vox now has 13 MPs in the regional parliament instead of just one. Spanish outlets speculate about an alliance between the conservatives and the far right.

Portugal will elect a new parliament in early elections on 30 January. According to polls, the far-right populist Chega party led by André Ventura has good chances of becoming the third strongest force in the country. So far Chega has been represented by just one MP in parliament - its leader. The national press complains that Ventura and his empty promises are receiving far too much attention.

Leading nationalists and far-right politicians from EU states have met in Warsaw at the invitation of Poland's ruling PiS party. The aim: to bring the far-right factions divided between two groups in the EU Parliament together and to hammer out plans to change the "character of the EU". Commentators discuss what this could mean for Europe.

Every year on 11 November tens of thousands of far-right sympathisers gather in Warsaw for their March of Independence to mark Poland's Independence Day, and each time the event has been a source of concern for commentators. Last year the ruling PiS party did not get involved, but this year it helped challenge a court ban on the event. The press is outraged.

Sixteen right-wing and far-right parties have signed a declaration on reforming the EU. They are demanding that Europe respect the "freedom of nations" and accuse the Commission of imposing rules on member states. They also state that this is part of their plan to form a large alliance in the EU Parliament. As things currently stand, the various parties still belong to separate groups within the Parliament.

The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso of the conservative Partido Popular, who governs with the support of the far-right Vox party, officially began her new term on Saturday. Commentators analyse her first policy announcements after her election victory at the start of May and contemplate, with some apprehension, the prospect of Ayuso aspiring to higher office.

Europe's press is abuzz after the clear victory of Isabel Díaz Ayuso (PP) in Madrid's regional election. The incumbent regional president scored key points in the election campaign with her opposition to Spain's Covid lockdown policy and belongs to the right wing of her party which would be willing to enter a coalition with the far-right Vox.

In an open letter published in the right-wing weekly Valeurs Actuelles, a group of mostly retired generals has called on France's politicians to crack down on anti-racism, Islamism, hatred and "hordes" in the banlieues to stop France from falling apart. The leader of the far-right Rassemblement National, Marine Le Pen, has endorsed their critique. Commentators find the call completely out of line.

Marian Kotleba's far-right party L'SNS has presented a constitutional amendment to "protect the traditional family" to the Slovak parliament under which same-sex couples would be denied any right to raise children. The motion was rejected, but the national press is dismayed to see that the L'SNS secured the votes of 26 MPs from parties in the governing coalition.

After the collapse of the regional government in Murcia following a corruption scandal, centre-right coalitions are now tottering in several other Spanish regions. The Community of Madrid is now holding a snap election in which the conservative incumbent Isabel Díaz Ayuso of the PP is the favourite and if elected may form a coalition with the far-right Vox party. Commentators sound the alarm.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, now views the AfD, currently the largest opposition party in the Bundestag, as a potentially far-right organisation. This means that the entire party can be put under surveillance. So far this has only applied to certain AfD state branches. Most European media outlets welcome the move.

Following the withdrawal of his party Fidesz from the EPP group, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is looking for new allies in the European Parliament. He is scheduled to meet today with the leader of Italy's Lega party Matteo Salvini and Poland's head of government Mateusz Morawiecki (PiS) to discuss the possibility of forming an alliance. Europe's press sees little chance of the right-wing parties joining forces for the time being.

After this weekend's elections in Catalonia the Vox party has entered the regional parliament, marking the first time a far-right party has done so since 1982. Vox won 7.7 percent from a standing start, securing eleven seats and also overtaking the conservative People's Party (PP), which received only three seats. Vox's campaign focused among other things on countering the "Islamisation of Catalonia". Commentators discuss the reasons for the party's success.

Thierry Baudet, the shooting star of the right-wing populist party Forum voor Democratie (FvD) in the Netherlands, has stood down as its lead candidate and was apparently also forced to give up his party chairmanship due to internal pressure. His resignation came after it emerged on the weekend that members of the FvD's youth wing had praised Nazi books and posted anti-Semitic messages online.

The right-wing populist Sweden Democrats have made strong gains. Current surveys put them almost neck and neck with Prime Minister Stefan Löfvan's Social Democrats, with both parties polling at around 25 percent. Swedish media feel they know what is behind this shift in electoral support.

Roughly three weeks after the murder of Walter Lübcke, head of the regional government in the German city of Kassel, the presumed murderer Stephan E. has confessed to the crime and said that he acted alone and killed Lübcke because he was angry about his statements on refugee policy. Stephan E. is said to have contacts in the far-right milieu. How could things get so out of hand?

Finland's Social Democrats have won the parliamentary elections, edging out the right-wing populists and the conservatives in their first election victory since 1999. Prime Minister Sipilä's Centre Party suffered significant losses. Commentators shed light on the success of the right.

In Estonia the Centre Party led by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, the nationalist Ekre party and the conservative Isamaa party have signed a coalition agreement. Ratas rejected a grand coalition with the Reform Party, which won the election. Some commentators are upset that he is teaming up with the far right. Others point to the contradictions in this coalition.

Andalusia was a Socialist stronghold, but Sunday's elections saw Prime Minister Sánchez's PSOE lose a considerable proportion of the vote and Vox become the first far-right party to gain seats in a Spanish parliament since the end of the France era. Commentators discuss how Vox is luring voters disappointed by the established parties.

The formation of a new government in Sweden has failed. The leader of the conservative Moderate party, Ulf Kristersson, was set to become prime minister, but because his government would have had to rely on votes of the Sweden Democrats, the Liberals and the Centre Party decided to leave the alliance. How should Sweden's political leaders handle the right-wing populists?

Journalists are still preoccupied with the election victory of the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil's presidential elections. They fear that other countries could be infected by this development in the Latin American country and explain why Europe should also be concerned.

In the run-up to the Swedish parliamentary elections on Sunday everything points to a deadlock. Polls indicate that both the left and the conservative Alliance will have difficulties obtaining a majority. The right-wing populist Sweden Democrats look set to garner roughly 20 percent of the vote. Commentators examine what such a result could mean for the country.

An attack against discus thrower Daisy Osakue has sparked a debate about racism in Italy. The athlete suffered an eye injury when unknown assailants hurled an egg at her from a car. The UN Refugee Agency reports an increase in xenophobic attacks in the country, and the opposition says Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's refugee policy is partly to blame. Europe's press agrees.

US President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon wants to support European right-wing populists with his foundation "The Movement" in a bid to instigate a "right-wing populist revolt" in the run-up to the European elections, according to media reports. How dangerous are his plans for Europe?

The Visegrád states, Austria and Italy: a growing number of European states have governments that are pushing for the sovereignty of nation states and isolationism in migration policy. Commentators observe this trend with concern, seek the causes and propose ways to reverse it.

In the run-up to Sweden's parliamentary elections in September the red-green government is seeing its support plummet in the polls. The right-wing populist Sweden Democrats, meanwhile, are gaining ground, particularly in the north of the country. Politicians have neglected the needs of people living outside the big cities, Swedish commentators criticise.

In the first provincial parliament elections to take place since the ÖVP-FPÖ government took over in Austria, the right-wing populist FPÖ saw its share of the vote rise - despite a scandal in which its leading candidate Udo Landbauer allegedly sung songs glorifying the Nazis as a member of an academic fraternity. While some journalists are appalled, others take a more positive view, noting that at least the FPÖ wasn't able to celebrate a major triumph.

The images of the Polish Independence Day march show thousands of people dressed in black, throwing fire crackers and chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans. Although these aggressive images are dominating the media this week the right has radically changed its style - a move that makes it no less dangerous, commentators observe.

Many of the town halls in Italy's major cities will soon be led by conservatives and right-wing parties. In local elections Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia and the right-wing populist Lega Nord have won against the social democrats of the Partito Democratico (PD) in cities like Verona and Como. Beppe Grillo's protest party Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) also suffered major losses. Does this signal a shift to the right in Italy?

The Romanian "Coalition for the Family", an group of conservative NGOs, is upping pressure on the government. After gathering three million signatures against the introduction of same-sex marriage, the coalition is now demanding that access to abortion be restricted. Commentators are reminded of a dark chapter in the country's past.

Le Pen has done less well than expected and many already see Macron as France's next president: Europe's press breathed a sigh of relief after the first round of voting in France. For many the right-wing populists have once again been put in their place after the defeats of Hofer in Austria and Wilders in the Netherlands. But are Europe's populist movements really on the wane now?

The leader of the far-right Front National, Marine Le Pen, has disputed France's involvement in the persecution of Jews during the Second World War. France was not responsible for thousands of Jews being rounded up at Paris's Vélodrome d'Hiver before being transported to Nazi extermination camps in 1942, Le Pen said. The press criticises her statements, accusing her of making a calculated move with this comment shortly before the country's presidential elections.

Many journalists have their doubts about whether the big sigh of relief after the Dutch elections is justified, and warn liberal society not to lapse into a false sense of security after the party of xenophobe Geert Wilders fared less well than expected in the Dutch parliamentary elections. Others see contradictions in the right-wing populists' behaviour.

After the Brexit vote and Trump's election victory, observers have their eyes trained on Geert Wilders and his xenophobic PVV in the run-up to the Dutch parliamentary elections on March 15. For months the right-wing populist was ahead in the polls, but now Prime Minister Mark Rutte's right-wing liberal VVD has regained the lead. The press is eager to see how the Dutch will vote in this first key ballot in a year packed with important elections.

A new police unit has been set up in Slovakia to combat terrorism and extremism - particularly on social networks. Prime Minister Robert Fico has said that his country had underestimated the force of the "new wave" of fascism and extremism. The country's newspapers welcome the measure but criticise that it comes too late to counter the neo-Nazis in parliament.

The big names in Europe's right-wing populist scene gathered in Koblenz, Germany, on the weekend. Frauke Petry of the Alternative for Germany was also present, marking the first time a representative of the party has attended such an event. This will be the year in which "the people of continental Europe awaken", Front National leader Marine Le Pen declared. She may soon suffer a major setback, commentators observe, and call for new alliances to combat the far right.

Fear of globalisation is the driving force behind right-wing populism while traditional values play less of a role, a recent survey carried out by the Bertelsmann Foundation shows. In view of the rising popularity of right-wing demagogues in many European countries and in the US, commentators discuss how to counter right-wing populism.

Using her Twitter account, Marine Le Pen was one of the first to congratulate Donald Trump. Like other far-right politicians in Europe she sees her chances as having improved after his victory. Does she now stand a better chance of becoming the next president of France? Or will she be unable to emulate Trump's success?

While Europe's right-wing populists are celebrating Donald Trump's election, leading EU politicians have pragmatically offered to cooperate with the new president. Commentators fear that politicians like Le Pen and Wilders will take inspiration from Trump's victory. Others explain why their hopes will be dashed.

The right-wing extremist party LS-Naše Slovensko and its leader Marian Kotleba won enough votes in the general election in March to enter parliament for the first time. The press is shocked that the party secured the support of 24 percent of the first-time voters. What can stop Kotleba's advance?

Three months after taking office several initiatives by the new Croatian government have made it clear that it wants to put the country on a national-conservative course. Some commentators are worried that the country is shifting to the right. For others that's just what the left wants the public to believe.

First corruption accusations against the minister for veterans' affairs, now an anti-Semitic tirade at the party conference of right-wing coalition partner HSP-AS. Croatia's government is increasingly coming under fire.

After regional elections in which the national-conservative AfD party won seats in three state parliaments the press is discussing the consequences for Europe. Some commentators fear that if Germany moves any further to the right the continent's cohesion could come to an end. Others criticise Merkel for claiming there are no alternatives to her refugee policy.