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Rise of extremist parties sends tremors across Europe

The Sweden Democrats increased their share in parliament, thousands took to the streets in East Germany chanting neo-Nazi slogans, and asylum seekers continue to be refused entry into the European Union. FRANCE 24 spoke to political scientist Jean-Yves Camus about why extreme parties are on the rise in Europe.


"The far right is on the rise," said Camus, a political scientist and author of a new book, "The return of populists: the state of the world in 2019".

The rise in popularity can’t be attributed entirely to migrants and refugees, Camus argues. He views the trend as a wider movement that pits proponents of a multicultural society against those who oppose it.

"People are unhappy because they feel on the one hand that their country isn’t safe and on the other hand that their country is not their country. Cultural values seem to change so fast that part of the population, especially among the most deprived and the less educated, says that ‘this is not my country anymore’. Why? Because of immigration."

These same populations often feel alienated from the main governing parties, he explained, and have turned to parties at both ends of the political spectrum. While parties like the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the far-right Swedish Democrats have made gains this year "it’s not a new phenomenon", said Camus. "It’s a slow rise and one that hasn’t given [far-right parties] much power, except in countries like Austria."

Broad coalitions oppose such parties, blocking their access to cabinet and government positions, he said. However, "they have more or less achieved what they wanted because the political agenda of many countries have shifted very much to the right on issues of refugees and multiculturalism."

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