Back by popular demand
- Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Latvia and Hungary show the strongest demand for discriminatory, • anti-establishment and authoritarian ideologies. In Hungary, the number of potential right-wing extremists more than doubled from 10 percent in 2003 to 21 percent in 2009.
- Political Capital’s study rebuts the oft-cited notion that the far right-wing’s social base has • been expanding across Europe. In this regard, Hungary is the exception that disproves the rule: While the far right is indeed ascendant in several Eastern European countries, its threat is decreasing in Western Europe.
- This is partly because in Western Europe, the extreme-right’s main appeal lies in its anti-• immigration policies, a topic that rarely leads people to reject the political establishment as a whole. In Eastern Europe, prejudice and anti-Gypsy attitudes are closely linked to opposition to the entire political system, along with distrust and general malaise. This combination can pose a major threat to stability.
- Of course, rising anti-immigration sentiment in Western Europe poses a threat of escalating • ethnic conflict for some countries.
- The era is over when Western Europe exercised ideological influence over the eastern • part of the continent, but not vice versa. Now, the East is in a position to export radical ideologies westwards. Radical right-wing parties in the West, envying the success of their eastern counterparts, may adopt some of their ideologies and tools such as paramilitary guard movements. In this process, Western European parties may break through some of the ideological boundaries that have confined their activity so far.
- Another possible channel of influence is that right-wingers in Eastern Europe may find • it easier to form alliances with like-minded political groups in the West than in their own backyard. Nationalist parties in neighboring countries (e.g. Slovakia and Hungary) frequently view each other as adversaries, not potential partners. Hungary’s extreme-right Jobbik party formed an alliance with Italian, British, Swedish and Belgian far-right parties in 2009, not its counterparts in the region.
The complete study can be accessed here (pdf, 1,891 kB)