Business Briefs

The State of Right-Wing Extremism in Europe

Since the 1980s, a family of political parties, often labeled “Extreme Right” or “Far Right”, has made significant inroads in Western Europe. Common to nearly all of these parties is a strong opposition to immigration (particularly non-European immigration), a willingness to exploit cultural tensions between Muslims and others, and a populist discourse pitting "the people", who they claim to represent, against political elites. There are also significant differences. Some, like the Norwegian Progress Party, started out as anti-tax movements and promoted market liberal economics; others, like the French Front National, tend to adopt an anti-neoliberal stance. Some, such as the Austrian Freedom Party, have neo-Nazi or anti-Semitic histories; others, like the PVV in the Netherlands, are ostensibly motivated by a desire to protect “Enlightenment values”. But regardless of these distinctions, most of these so-called Extreme Right Parties (ERPs) have grown remarkably over the past three decades.

This brief focuses mainly on Western Europe, since ERPs in Central and Eastern Europe are significantly different in nature and operate in party systems that prevent straightforward comparisons across East and West – and, for the most part, appear to pose a lesser threat. (This does not mean that views associated with ERPs are less common in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe, however – in fact, some research suggests the opposite is true.) An important exception is the situation in Hungary, which we will deal with separately.

  • The Current State of ERPs: An Overview
  • Countries to Watch
    • France
    • Finland
    • The Netherlands
  • Other Key Countries
  • Hungary - A Special Case
  • Street Movements
  • Violence
  • Conclusion


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