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. Together with approximately 50 experts from academia, civil society, journalism and politics they analysed factors that contribute to the success of far-right parties, their ideology and strategies and worked on counter measures.
The group could hardly have been more diverse: it comprised high school and university students, researchers and academics with PhDs, as well as activists and aspiring young politicians; many of them coming from an ethnic minority background. Nevertheless it did not take long before a general consensus on the core issues was found and everybody agreed that the New Right threatens to reverse many of the positive developments of the past decades. Its populist rhetoric cuts into the fabric of established democratic structures, undermines trust in elected politicians and its proposed policies are spreading racist, homophobic and misogynist sentiments.