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EU top diplomat fears right-wing wave

Josep Borrell believes uncertainty could lead Europeans to demand drastic changes in the upcoming parliamentary election

The stakes will be high in the European parliament election next June, as many EU voters may choose to support right-wing parties, many of which have made strides in popularity recently, Josep Borrell, the bloc’s top diplomat, has warned.

In an interview with The Guardian on Sunday, the diplomat said the new election cycle could be as fateful as the 2024 US presidential election, in which former President Donald Trump is seeking to avenge his 2020 defeat to incumbent Joe Biden.

“I am afraid of fear, I am afraid Europeans vote because they are afraid… Fear in the face of the unknown and uncertainty generates a hormone that calls for a security response,” Borrell said.

The diplomat’s comments come amid the Ukraine and Gaza conflicts, concerns about surging migration, as well as plunging living standards in the EU. As a result, according to Borrell, parties can play on fears linked to those crises, garnering significant support despite “offer[ing] bad responses to good questions.” 

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While admitting that the bloc faces certain issues, he urged EU voters to be reasonable when analyzing the current situation. “If we cannot do that, I think the European elections will be as dangerous as those in the US,” Borrell added.

Borrell’s warning follows the stunning victory of the Dutch right-wing and anti-Islam Freedom party led by Geert Wilders, who has been highly skeptical of providing military assistance to Ukraine.

Right-wing forces in other European countries have also seen a surge in popularity. A July poll by Deutschlandtrend found support for the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party had risen by 2 points to 20%, making it the third most popular party in the country.

Several surveys also suggested that many Europeans are increasingly worried about migration. A poll published on Friday by Der Spiegel found that around 65% of Germans believe there has been ‘too much’ immigration into the country.

In France, another core EU member, a December 2022 Kantar poll suggested that 45% of the population believes that “there are too many immigrants” in the country. Meanwhile, a recent poll by Ispos found that Marine Le Pen, the leader of the right-wing National Rally party, had become one of the country’s three favorite politicians.

Meanwhile, right-wing forces are in firm control in Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban has repeatedly locked horns with Brussels, demanding stricter migration rules while questioning sending military assistance to Ukraine.

December 24, 2023 at 08:04PM

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