After skimming through over 30 articles on the Far Right and its rise throughout Europe, I have put together a list of what I’ve understood are the main reasons for the Rise of Europe’s Far Right:
- The Economy: the recession, the Eurocrisis, general economic crisis has pushed some voters into desperation. This as a result has led some to look for a scapegoat, others for a political alternative and many to cast a protest vote. All three benefit parties such as the Jobbik, who capitalise on the desperation of certain Hungarians in the lower classes.
- Disillusionment: Corruption, economic mismanagement and general failure on many governments parts to satisfy its electorate has disillusioned the people in countries such as Greece and Hungary. As a result, not only do voters sway to the extremes through either desperation or protest, but many simply refuse to vote, causing low turnout. Low turnout always bodes well for extremists as their voters are loyal and continue to go to the polls regardless of the turnout.
- Re-branding and Re-organisation of the Far Right: The Far Right is no longer a blatantly racist and openly hateful movement as it was in the 1930s. In many countries, the Far Right parties have managed to change their image and views from being a racist movement to one that rather protects national and cultural identity. Far Right parties focus on rhetoric about protecting their nation’s economy, pushing back the ‘threat of immigration’ and raising patriotic sentiments. Parties like the Jobbik have successfully created international ties with other Far Right movements (e.g. BNP) and a rapprochement towards countries like Iran. Jobbik presents itself as a well-organised party with an English webpage, the support of numerous intellectuals and a strong online as well as public presence.
- The Political Climate: The initial successes of parties like Jobbik and Golden Dawn have brought Far Right rhetoric into parliament, making it seemingly acceptable to use xenophobic, anti-Roma and anti-Semitic language to the public. A strong establishment of staunchly conservative governments such as Fidesz, whose leader Orbán Victor also has a tendency to dabble in nationalistic and overly-patriotic (though not xenophobic or anti-Semitic) rhetoric, has only helped create a political and cultural climate where nationalism and xenophobia are tolerated.
- Failure to Crackdown: Due to their desire to court the Far Right electorate, Fidesz has voided cracking down on the Far Right movements and has done little to denounce anti-Semitism, xenophobia and anti-Roma crimes. The interests of the governing party has made them idle on the key topics, which only legitimises the presence and rise of Jobbik and Far Right culture. Fidesz speaks out against these issues internationally, but little is said in Hungary (nothing about the Roma Killing Sprees of 2008 and 2009, nothing on the reformation of the banned Hungarian Guard etc).
- Culture: Culture plays an important part in the establishment of Far Right parties. This explains the success of anti-Semitic and anti-Roma movements in Eastern Europe, especially Hungary where history has shown an acceptance of the Far Right (under Horthy) and polls repeatedly report of above-average levels of intolerance towards Gypsies, Jews and Foreigners. Furthermore, as very ethnically monotonous country, Hungary has not adapted to the presence of non-Hungarian ethnics (or at least nationals).
While there seem to be counter-arguments to each of the above points, it seems that Hungary is affected by every single one of them, which would explain the success of Jobbik. It is however important to note that there have been increased efforts to change the situation and an improvement of election results for the outspoken anti-fascist parties such as MSZP, LMP and 2014 could make a difference.