Danger from the right: where do we stand?

Several countries in Europe are facing a surge of far right movements and parties. In Germany, for example, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets to show their concern about the future of democracy. Commentators are also alarmed and seek the causes for the shift towards the right.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Nazis socially acceptable once more

Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Elfriede Jelinek criticises in Der Standard that the democratic constitution is being eroded:

“The widely popular constitutional arch is being hollowed out more and more; men and women are sitting there with chisels and hammers and chipping away to ensure that more and more enter this arch and old and new Nazis become socially accepted once more. The rest can go or be removed. The foreigners should get out - a decades-old slogan - and the nationals should knuckle under. ... The agreement between the past generations, who learned their history lesson but are now gradually dying out, and our generation is slowly but surely losing its validity.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Democracy: summum bonum or one-day wonder?

In view of Trump's success in the primaries, De Volkskrant columnist Jarl van der Ploeg worries about the future of democracy:

“Sometimes I wonder how historians will judge the centuries after the French Revolution. Will they see the rise of anti-constitutional movements like fascism as an anomaly in the course of an otherwise orderly, democratic history, with a few more convulsions at the beginning of the 21st century? Or will they see the birth of these movements as the pivotal moment when a new phase began? Will our modern democracy be the culmination of thousands of years of history or a one-day wonder in their eyes? And is that day now coming to an end?”

Mladina (SI) /

The end of a formula for success

Mladina is alarmed:

“In this super election year in the EU and elsewhere in the world, the rise of far-right populist parties is one of the riskiest and most dangerous global social processes. The West's successful formula of combining liberal democracy and the free market, the welfare state and global capitalism is clearly no longer working. Since the turn of the 21st century authoritarian regimes have been gaining strength and neoliberal capitalism has become embroiled in a series of global crises. The situation in Europe today increasingly resembles that in the 1930s. The fundamental ideas of the European far right are increasingly reminiscent of the rise of European fascism.”

Público (PT) /

Europe's fundamental values in jeopardy

The two major political camps on whose convictions European integration is based are losing control, Público observes with concern:

“The nationalist and populist forces want to extend the decision-making freedom of national governments in various areas, from agriculture and industry to international trade (they tend to be protectionist) and immigration and asylum policy - their main battle horse. ... Post-war reconstruction and European integration were the achievements of two major camps, the centre-right and centre-left, which share the same fundamental values. Can the EU survive their weakening? This is no longer a rhetorical question.”

Times of Malta (MT) /

Common denominator is fear of crisis

Anger and insecurity works in favour of right-wing populists, the Times of Malta comments:

“Far-right parties have broadened their voter base and are forging coalitions of voters with very different concerns. In many countries, the battle horse of populist parties used to be almost exclusively the immigration question. It still is, but cultural concerns now account for only a minority of their electorate. Populists now have a more diversified agenda. They capitalise on a whole range of voter insecurities. During Covid, populists raged against forced lockdowns and compulsory vaccination. Now, they discuss cultural issues, including gender, history, symbols of national identity and the climate crisis. Others are vociferous about the cost of living crisis and Russia's war on Ukraine.”