Friday, February 23, 2024

This time, the far-right threat is real – POLITICO

In 2024, the right wing surge in the polls seems bigger and bolder, with one predicting the nationalist right and far right could pick up nearly a quarter of seats in the European Parliament in June.

Even if the center-right — currently tipped to come first in the election — refuses to form a governing coalition with ever more powerful firebrand fringe parties, there’s still a significant chance the far-right will, for the first time, be able to influence Europe’s policy agenda. That will enable it to threaten the EU’s sacred values on rule of law and human rights, and block or even overturn major green and climate laws.

“We’re going to see a really significant shift to the right,” said Simon Hix, a professor of comparative politics at the European University Institute, referring to the June elections when 400 million people across the European Union are eligible to vote to send 720 representatives to Brussels.

Hix forecast the far-right Identity & Democracy (ID) grouping in the European Parliament, the sixth largest of seven, will gain 40 seats in June, meaning the group could have 98 lawmakers, vaulting into the third place currently occupied by the Liberals. It’s already home to the German extreme-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the French far-right National Rally (RN) party.

Then, if the current fifth largest grouping, the 67-member right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group — the home of Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) and Italy’s ruling Brothers of Italy — also grows by some 18 seats, as Hix predicts, it could become the fourth largest group in Parliament, surpassing both the Greens and the liberals.

Between those projections and the 12 members of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party, who are politically homeless, the ECR and ID could muster 25 percent of seats in the next European Parliament, according to a poll commissioned by the European Council on Foreign Relations.


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