Essay on Right-Wing Populism in Europe

Published: 2021/12/03
Number of words: 993

Question: Is right-wing populism on the rise? Discuss factors that can explain why populist political parties in Europe have been on the rise.

Right-wing populism is a political ideology comprising populist rhetoric and right-wing politics. The setting is mainly based on speaking on behalf of the common people while fostering anti-elitist notions. This political system is hierarchy bound, as it defends the group’s superiority. Examples of parties across Europe utilizing this ideology include Front National (FN) in France, Lega Lord (LN) in Italy, and Dansk Folkeparty in Denmark, among others. The central policy for these parties is to conserve national cultures and values, that is, preserving pure race at all costs (Bjånesøy and Elisabeth 2016). This subject abandons the classical racism concepts but adopts the ideal national identity approach. It posits that different people should be kept separate to preserve their way of life. Another concept is that they work against immigration exclusion. The rise of right-wing populism across Europe can be attributed to a myriad of factors, including xenophobia, economy, and political reasons, with most of these ideas emerging after the 2008 economic recession.

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Even though right-wing populism is a concept that has existed for a long period, the appearance of the Great Recession in 2008 prompted a significant rise of parties affiliated with this ideology. Using the pathology approach, people tend to vote against parties that they think are responsible for causing an economic problem. People are typically sensitive to messages associated with such crises, as they appear to link parties with those problems. In this sense, every economic crisis has a high likelihood of creating a right-wing surge (Wodak, Majid, and Brigitte 2013). Most right-wing parties gained electoral success in Europe after 2008, thanks to the cause and effect approach. Votes are commonly inclined to believe that economic turmoil in the country results from poor governance. Because of this viewpoint, they will tend to vote for political parties they feel addresses this issue succinctly by scrutinizing their manifestos. The Great Recession is known even today, as it created unemployment and financial harms across Europe. Notably, this problem created economic instability, which prompted financial insecurity, leading to anxiety increasing among people. Therefore, voters started to incline themselves to parties that appeared to solve their issues.

Political alienation and discontent is another reason behind the increase of right-wing populism in Europe. As politicians and relevant institutions lose reputations in voters’ eyes, the right-wing parties significantly raise their votes. The electorates who feel that they are alienated from the main system appear to support these parties because they think doing so will help them express their reactions (Stavrakakis et al. 2017). Most people are typically dissatisfied about issues, such as corruption, crime, immigration, growth, and drugs, among others. For example, an immigration problem is one of the factors that has caused the increase of right-wing parties. Most people have migrated from other parts of the world to Europe, with the majority coming from Asia and the Soviet Union. Because of such migration, social problems are typically accustomed to it. The anti-immigrant right-wing parties exploit immigration’s social implications, as they concur with voters’ sentiments, mostly complaining that it has increased crime rates and unemployment. The social media platform has been exploited to spread anti-immigration sentiments across Europe. The security issue is another social problem that right-wing parties use to gain popularity. This viewpoint considers immigrants as critical factors that can weaken their security. For example, the terrorists used migration routes during September 11, making the immigrants appear like potential threats. Therefore, anti-immigrants spread across Europe, leading to the emergence of right-wing populism.

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Classical racism is another issue related to right-wing parties’ anti-immigrant attitudes. This way, these political factions have modeled a new racist understanding by abandoning classical racism. They argue that people who are different should be separated from the rest so as to conserve their distinct national character traits (Wodak and Majid 2013). Because of that viewpoint, their ideology is that intermingling can lead to cultural destruction; therefore, they do not give them any inferiority or superiority hierarchy. Instead, these different groups are only suggested to be non-comparable and distinct. For example, the FN party defended the French nationalists, stating that they are not despising other people. The party denoted that they operate by protecting French civilization and identity. Therefore, voters tend to support such parties because they feel that they are prioritized.

In conclusion, right-wing parties’ surge in Europe is evident, and they have gained significant electoral success. Although there are several reasons explaining the surge of right-wing populism in Europe, the main reasons are economic instability conflicts, anti-immigration, and xenophobia. The Great Recession in 2008 impacted Europe significantly. Therefore, those who voted for the right-wing parties targeted the economic transformation process. However, the rise of right-wing populism has spurred racism and racial actions in certain nations across Europe. The right-wing parties believe in ideal national identity, as they tend to abandon classical racism. Here, they believe that different individuals should be kept separate so as to conserve their distinct character. This belief is based on the ground that intermingling with other cultures can lead to cultural destruction. On the whole, right-wing populism surge across Europe is detrimental to minority rights.


Bjånesøy, Lise Lund, and Elisabeth Ivarsflaten. 2016. “What kind of challenge? Right-wing populism in contemporary Western Europe.” In Democratic transformations in Europe, ed. Peters Yvette and MichaÎl Tatham. New York: Routledge, 53-70.

Stavrakakis, Yannis, Giorgos Katsambekis, Nikos Nikisianis, Alexandros Kioupkiolis, and Thomas Siomos. 2017. “Extreme Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Revisiting a Reified Association.” Critical Discourse Studies 14(4): 420-439.

Wodak, Ruth, and Majid KhosraviNik. 2013. “Dynamics of Discourse and Politics in Right-Wing Populism in Europe and Beyond: An Introduction.” Right-wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse.

Wodak, Ruth, Majid KhosraviNik, and Brigitte Mral, eds. 2013. Right-wing populism in Europe: Politics and discourse. London, United Kingdom: A&C Black.

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