News / Europe

Europe Lurches to Right as Voters Protest Against EU

Europe Lurches to Right as Voters Protest Against EUi
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 27, 2014 11:33 PM
Far-right, anti-EU parties have made strong gains following European elections over the weekend. The European Parliament in Brussels will now include hundreds of lawmakers whose aim is to break up the Union. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, analysts say the results are in part a reaction against the austerity measures imposed in the wake of the European debt crisis.
Henry Ridgwell
Far-right, anti-EU parties have made strong gains following European elections over the weekend. The European Parliament in Brussels will now include hundreds of lawmakers whose aim is to break up the Union. Analysts say the results are partially a reaction against the austerity measures imposed in the wake of the European debt crisis.
 
France’s far-right National Front party attracted one in four votes Sunday at the European polls. Party leader Marine Le Pen said the French people "no longer want to be ruled from the outside."

She said the party’s objective is to block all damaging European resolutions and to defend the interests of France and the French people.

Supporters claim the virulent anti-immigrant rhetoric of the National Front’s early years has moderated. There was shock, though, among immigrant communities in Paris.

Sensitive issues

Mohad Said Elouach, who came to France five years ago, said, “The far right is a danger. The far right does not change; they remain the far right.”

Parties like the National Front combine fears over immigration with concerns over the economy, said Andrea Mammone, an expert on far-right politics in Europe at Royal Holloway University in London.

“The economic situation is part of this problem because [of] a reduction of the job market, so more people are competing for this; reduction of welfare, so finding people responsible for this, so immigrants, competitors.”

The result will be felt beyond France, according to analyst Janis Emmanouilidis of the European Policy Center. “Having a weak France is not good news if you want to do EU policy making,” she said.

In Britain, the anti-EU UK Independence Party topped the vote, and now holds a third of Britain’s 73 seats in the European Parliament. Party leader Nigel Farage vowed to repeat the success in national elections - and force a referendum on Britain’s EU membership.

“Many of you think you've seen the high water mark of UKIP. You ain't seen nothing yet!” said Farage.

Anti-EU

In Greece - where EU-imposed austerity measures have been felt hardest - the left-wing anti-EU party Syriza topped the poll. There has been a rejection of mainstream political parties in many European countries, said Andrea Mammone of Royal Holloway University.

“People have started complaining, saying ‘Why? What is the point of a German politician telling us to do this and that? Where is the democratic legitimacy of all this?'” asked Mammone.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats topped the poll. She called the rise of anti-EU parties across Europe "remarkable and regrettable."

Merkel said it is up to politicians to win back voters in Germany, and also in France. The best way, she said, is to focus on improving competitiveness, on growth and creating jobs.

Italians also bucked the trend, giving an emphatic win to the center-left, pro-EU Democratic Party of President Matteo Renzi. Italy takes over the rotating EU presidency in July - and Renzi has pledged to focus on jobs and growth in place of austerity.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs