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24 Dec, 2023 14:34

The EU's top diplomat fears right-wing wave

Josep Borrell believes uncertainty and discontent over immigration and living standards could lead to drastic changes in upcoming parliamentary election
The EU's top diplomat fears right-wing wave

Many EU voters may choose to support right-wing parties in the European parliament election next June, Josep Borrell, the bloc’s top diplomat, has warned. He noted that many parties representing the political right have made strides in its member states recently.

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, Borrell warned in an interview with The Guardian on Sunday.

“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, widespread voter concerns over 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.” 

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 also 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.

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