Right Wing Populism and Extremism in Europe

Right-wing populist and extremist parties did disturbingly well in the 2014 election to the European Parliament and in a series of national elections. It was time to pick up the gauntlet, rise to the challenge and work on counter-strategies.


Across Europe, democracies are increasingly under pressure from right-wing parties and movements that often combine radical anti-immigrant and Islamophobic positions with populist rhetoric. Those movements differ strongly in their party programmes, ranging from Eurosceptic to overtly racist but share a disdain for the existing political institutions.

From October 12 – 16 2015, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union hosted a capacity building for 16 young Europeans from France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Sweden and the UK. The aim was to give the participants the possibility to compare the right-wing movements in their respective countries of origin and to jointly develop policies to combat this disquieting trend.

Blog 'Young Voices of Europe'

On our blog young people from all over Europe share their ideas about the current state of Europe and the rise of right-wing populism and extremism.

Presentations of the participants

Populist radical right parties can be a threat to fundamental values of liberal democracies. What are the reactions and possible effects in the European Parliament?

Since the phrase ‘an ever closer union’ has come to use, the European project has changed, and will continue to change. How to build strategies to counter Euroscepticism?

Nowadays Euroscepticism is growing and strengthening, it is more evident than ever that we must change Europe and its institutional structures in order to save it.

Has the EU disillusionment over the recent years created Russia as the emerging ideological model/leader and an ally for right-wing European movements?

The radical Right now presents an emotive common sense which appeals to many European citizens far more than precise analysis

Over the last 20 years, UK Eurosceptic representation in the European Parliament increased. Does the Ukip represent a threat for European democracy?

We are now in the third wave of the rise of populist and extremist parties in Germany, what are the causes, examples and challenges in this difficult situation?

The fear of identity loss and rejection of diversity are typical signs of today's situation in Hungary

What strategies against xenophobia should the German government and German society implement?

What are the ways to tackle homophobic, misogynistic and transphobic behaviour? How is the situation in Greece?

Sweden was before the SD party, one of the few European countries without a right wing extremist party in its parliament

What structural and short-term factors fuel Euroscepticism? How to explain the growing phenomenon of Euroscepticism in France? How the national background affects the configuration of Euroscepticism? How to transform the Euroscepticism trend to “Europtimism”?

In case UKIP will do well in the next Scottish elections, would it represent a real threat to progressive politics?

The media is central in assessing the influence of the far-right movements, as they need a stage from where they can convey their ideas to the public

Could the presence of Eurosceptics in the European Parliament mean a guarantee of a greater legitimacy for the European political system?