Will Switzerland have to vote again until they get it 'right'? — Debating Europe. How should the EU respond to the Swiss referendum? — Debating Europe. Last Sunday, 50.3% of the Swiss population voted in favour of a cap on “mass immigration” in a country-wide referendum.
The outcome of the referendum (or, as the media have labelled it, the “stop mass immigration” proposal) forces the country to abandon its treaty with the EU on the free movement of people, which has been in force since 2002. Apart from the impact this may have on the Swiss economy, it also risks other bilateral trade agreements Switzerland has signed with the EU, as the “guillotine clause” gives the EU the power to terminate all other bilateral treaties if one agreement is not applied. How do YOU think the EU should respond? We had a comment sent in recently from Smills, asking simply: How do you think the EU Member States will react to the Swiss referendum? France - Far-right gains spell end to France's two-party system. LIVE: Paris prosecutor details foiled church attack Read more EU charges Russia’s Gazprom, alleging price gouging Read more Hong Kong unveils pro-Beijing vote plan Read more Man ‘planning terror attack on churches’ arrested in Paris Read more Sudan ‘won't allow' Western envoys access to Darfur Read more Paris mayor promises millions for crumbling churches Read more US drug enforcement chief to retire amid sex scandal Read more Afghan Taliban announce annual ‘spring offensive’ Read more Barcelona beat PSG 2-0 to reach Champions League semis Read more Saudi-led coalition ends military operation in Yemen Read more Indonesian court rejects death row Frenchman's appeal Read more.
Russia gambles on populist parties in anti-EU campaign. From the far right to the radical left, populist parties across Europe are being courted by Russia's Vladimir Putin who aims to turn them into allies in his anti-EU campaign.
The Front National (FN) in France, Syriza in Greece and Jobbik in Hungary may be the most famous ones but they are far from being alone. Some, like Britain's UKIP, have adopted a "benevolent neutrality" toward Putin. They are united in their objective to "challenge the EU", and this in turn aligns them with Russia's wish for a "weak and divided Europe", explains Hungarian political analyst Peter Kreko.
In the longer term, the Kremlin banks on these parties' accession to power to change Europe and separate it from NATO and the United States. "Moscow wants to establish long-term alliances with all those loyal to Russia," says Russian analyst Konstantin Kalatchev of the Political Expert Group. A stumble in the march of Europe’s populists. Barring economic slump, Europe’s populists may be peaking. By Paul Taylor It may sound counter-intuitive after the Eurosceptic Finns Party grabbed second place in Finland’s general election, but a surge by anti-establishment protest groups sweeping Europe may be peaking.
With the exception of Greece, where a five-year depression propelled far left, anti-bailout Syriza to victory in January, radicals are unlikely to win power outright in any other European Union state this year, opinion polls suggest. A nascent economic recovery, falling unemployment in many countries, cheaper fuel and low interest rates should help mainstream centre-right and centre-left parties regain some lost ground in time for national elections. We should beware Russia’s links with Europe’s right. It sounds like a chapter from a cheesy spy novel: far-right European party, in financial trouble, borrows a big sum of cash from a hawkish Russian president.
His goal? To undermine the European Union and to consolidate ties between Moscow and the future possible leader of pro-Kremlin France. Divided we stand: nationalism on the march across Europe. As the lights dimmed on a televised debate ahead of the UK election, a group of four candidates clustered together at the side of the stage, shaking hands and even embracing each other.
At the other extremity, a fifth candidate stood alone, peering down at his notes. From Dallas to Dynasty: the Le Pens and the future of the French Far Right. At times, the recent family arguments within the French Front National (FN) and the Le Pen clan have seemed more like an episode of Dallas than an ideological or strategic disagreement between its new and old guard.
However, their familial drama tells us a great deal about how contemporary French politics functions, or rather, dysfunctions, as well as the wider significance of this for the future of far-right politics in Europe. Earlier this month, the 86-year-old founder of the FN, Jean-Marie Le Pen, repeated his scandalous 1987 remark that the gas chambers of the Holocaust were a ‘detail’ of history and that the Nazi collaborator, Philippe Pétain, head of the Vichy State from 1940 to 1944, was a patriot and not a traitor. There are two things to bear in mind regarding these remarks, over and above any emotional reaction one might have.
One is that Le Pen loves to shock. Britain’s far-right firebrand may be making his last stand. RAMSGATE, England — For more than a year, the beer-swilling, immigration-bashing Nigel Farage has dominated British debate with an insurgent message that has struck fear into the heart of London’s elite and that critics say has dragged politics to new lows of nastiness.
Riding a wave of anti-establishment anger, Farage led the once-fringe U.K. Independence Party to a historic victory in the 2014 European election. He forced the country’s mainstream parties onto his turf with calls to crack down on immigrants, slash foreign aid and exit the European Union. And he prompted predictions that UKIP would soon overturn Britain’s century-old political order.
But Farage’s self-styled revolution could come to a screeching and unexpected halt next month if he loses his bid for Parliament. “There’s a grand coalition of people who want to stop this man,” said Will Scobie, Farage’s opponent from the center-left Labor Party. UKIP strategists scoff at that claim.
2014/10/22 Don’t dismiss public fears about migration as mere bigotry. For some people it is all absolutely clear.
By indicating that he will somehow try to limit migration to the UK from the rest of the European Union, David Cameron has moved closer than ever to embracing what we now call Brexit – the British exit from the EU. In doing so, he has shown that he is in thrall to mad-eyed Tory Europhobes, who in turn are doing the work of those dastardly merchants of racist calypso, Ukip. In this view, the free movement of people is not just a fundamental part of our membership of the EU, but modernity writ large: anyone who questions it must be off their rocker. 2014/11/16 Would it be better for society to let bigots openly say what they think? My day so far: an eastern European guy picks me up in a minicab and takes me to London’s Victoria station, where more eastern European people sell me a cappuccino.
Two black British men check my ticket at the barrier and a Sikh guard is on the platform. The train to Gatwick is full of foreigners. Last month, a Ukip organiser on Humberside complained to me that “we are not even allowed to use the word foreigners any more”. Clearly that’s not true, as I’ve just used it here, but it probably wouldn’t have been my word of choice. It feels more like terminology from the past, like “labour exchange” or “wireless” used to describe a radio. The reason it has become meaningless is that one in six British people are not white, and about one in four non-British migrants are white European. People whose attitudes and language were formed when Britain was a white, monocultural society have lived not only through the most dramatic change in this country’s ethnic makeup. 15/03/2015 The Christian Science Monitor - Why fringe parties are surging in Europe.
Dresden, Germany; Athens; and Amsterdam — At 11 a.m. on a frigid Sunday, Andreas Bost has just finished a five-hour shift as an office cleaner in Dresden, Germany. It’s his job to buff the floors at a mall in the heart of this baroque city. Mr. Bost is happy to be employed but he is far from content in life. Yes, he knows that Germany is the powerhouse of Europe. 12/02/2015 Huffington Post - A Field Guide To Europe's Radical Right Political Parties. From Greece and France to Sweden and Denmark, Europe's far-right parties have taken the spotlight in recent months. Trading on sometimes vitriolic anti-euro, anti-immigrant sentiment, as well as renewed security fears, parties of the far-right have taken the center stage in protests and elections. These parties have not emerged overnight. In fact, many have lingered on the fringe of Europe's political landscape for decades.
The WorldPost presents a guide to some of the most prominent radical right parties active in Europe today. Marine Le Pen delivers a speech during a press conference on Jan. 16, 2015. Country: France Leader: Marine Le Pen. 11/02/2015 WSJ - Bring Politics Back to the European Mainstream. 22/01/2015 Policy Network - A second chance for Spain’s populist radical right. Populism • Spain • Far right Having failed to capitalise on rising anti-immigrant sentiment a decade ago, might discontent with the governing Popular party provide Spain’s populist radical right with a new opportunity? There is growing public interest in, and concern about, populist radical-right parties across Europe. By ‘populist radical right’ we mean parties whose ideological profile is radical but not extremist. Extremist rightwing parties want to bring democracy down and establish an authoritarian regime.
By contrast, populist radical-right parties accept democracy, but reject various elements of the liberal democratic regime. 22/01/2015 ‘Merkel, Kiss My Ass’ and 7 Other Slogans From Germany’s New Right-Wing Populists. Germany’s latest populist sensation goes by the acronym Pegida, which rolls off the tongue more smoothly than its full name, which translates as “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West.” It’s not a political party, and it doesn’t have an official membership; it’s unclear whether it’s a grassroots social movement or more of a flash mob. Based in Dresden, a well-off city in eastern Germany along the Elbe River, Pegida has attracted thousands of partisans to its weekly demonstrations since they began last fall. The biggest one yet came on Jan. 12, when, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, 25,000 people marched in Dresden’s streets.
As its name signifies, Pegida’s central concern is stopping Islam’s run on the Occident, which its supporters claim is in progress across Europe. But at Pegida rallies one can find marchers airing a grab bag of grievances, from high taxes to the conditions of Germany’s postwar treatment. “Merkel, kiss my ass!” “Parties — good night! 10/02/2015 Debating Europe — Do movements like Pegida exist because politicians are "out of touch"? Politicians are often accused of being “out of touch” with voters. The political class (or so goes the argument) have no idea what the price of bread is, haven’t got a clue how much a state pension is worth, and live their lives in comfortable bubbles of safety. This applies to a range of issues, but perhaps none are so emotive as the question of immigration and diversity.
Across Europe, growing numbers of people are rejecting mainstream political parties and instead turning to populist, anti-immigration movements such as Pegida in Germany. 16/01/2015 Debating Europe — Do YOU believe there are limits to freedom of speech? 16/12/2014 Debating Europe — Has the experiment of liberal democracy failed in Hungary? EIs the Kremlin financing Europe′s right-wing populists? France's right-wing populist party, the Front National (FN), has denied claims in a media report which stated that they wanted to borrow 40 million euros ($50 million) from a Russian bank. "This is fictitious, it's crazy," said party leader Marine Le Pen. "We have applied for nine million euros, and we got nine million euros. " Amongst other things, the Front National needs this financial top-up to organize its Saturday (29.11.2014) party congress in Lyon. For a long time now, the Front National has been accused of receiving Russian financial support.
The head of the bank is also close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Marine Le Pen flirts with Putin With regards to political party funding in France, the National Front is in trouble, as they have allegedly received no loans from French banks. Right-wing extremism drops in Germany, but... Germans haven't exactly gone all sweet and cuddly, but over the past two years there has been a big change in attitudes toward right-wing extremist ideology. According to the study "Fragile center - hostile conditions," the proportion of people who approve of xenophobic ideas has sunk from 25 percent to 7.5. Across Europe disillusioned voters turn to outsiders for solutions. FRANCE: Restless voters await a hero. The centre is falling apart across Europe. The centre cannot hold under austerity, in Britain or Europe. Scotland and Catalonia are straws in the wind for the whole of Europe. Last week, the Catalan parliament outlawed homophobia, imposing tough criminal penalties for hate speech and hate crime against lesbians and gay men.
26/08/2014 Policy Network - Nuancing the right-wing populist hype. Populism • Democracy • Political Participation While right-wing populism is certainly one expression of democratic discontent, disproportionate media focus risks reinforcing these parties as serious contenders and adversaries of the status quo, and alienating those who do not believe that the Le Pens and Farages are a viable solution to their political and democratic demands. 24/07/2014 Policy Network - Is participatory democracy the solution to populism? Populism • Engagement • Legitimacy. 23/06/2014 Debating Europe — Why did the Front National do so well in France? 19/06/2014 Debating Europe — Why is support in Greece for Golden Dawn still growing?
13/06/2014 Hudson Institute - The Rise of Far-right Parties in the European Parliament - by Naser Khader. 26/05/2014 Debating Europe — Are you happy with the results of the European Parliament elections? 25/05/2014 The Independent - European election results 2014: Far-right parties flourish across Europe. 22/05/2014 Reuters - Europe is under siege from both the left and right. Europe′s rising right. The rise of Europe's far right will only be halted by a populism of the left. 25/03/2014 Debating Europe — Is the danger from far right parties being exaggerated? European Elections 2014. 10/03/2014 Policy Network - The challenge of populism, then and now. 03/03/2014 The Mark News - Re-inventing scapegoats – right-wing populism across Europe. 28/02/2014 Debating Europe — Are Europeans growing more intolerant of diversity? 29/01/2014 Debating Europe — What's the difference between Eurosceptics and the far right? 16/01/2014 Policy Network - The populists: threat or corrective to the political establishment?
Europe’s populist insurgents: Turning right. 18/09/2013 Debating Europe — Are angry voters turning away from mainstream politics? 28/10/2013 Debating Europe — Will Eurosceptics be the big winners in the EU elections? 07/08/2013 Debating Europe — Should "hate speech" be banned in Europe? 30/05/2013 Debating Europe — How can politicians regain YOUR trust? 14/11/2012 Debating Europe — Should extremist parties be banned in the EU? 10/05/2012 Debating Europe — Are there limits to freedom of speech?