Rise of Nationalism

by Sylwia Heller

Many countries currently face the problem of immigration, which in places like the UK has been an issue of debate for years. Vast numbers of refugees from Syria put countries in a difficult position. Governments and the public are increasingly worried about its identity.

In France Marine Le Pen’s National Front won 6.8 million votes in regional elections in 2015. Its increasing support came as a result of the Islamist attacks in Paris in January and in November where 150 people died. The leader of the party says that immigrants from Islamic states take advantage of Europe’s open borders.

In Germany Alternative for Germany, a right-wing party gained more support since it rallied against immigration. Increasing support for the party shows disagreement of the public with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy, which lets into Germany all Syrian refugees who want to live there permanently. As a result of the policy there are currently 1.1 million Muslim asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Ms Petry, leader of the party aims to prevent the “spreading of Islamist ideology”.

In Hungary the third strongest party is far-right Jobbik. It gains more support recently because it is against distribution of immigrants by the EU among its members. Because of such problems with immigration the parties’ leaders Mr Orban (Hungary) and Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico say stricter control of immigration is needed to defend Christian heritage in Europe.

In the Netherlands Geert Wilders, a nationalist politician and leader of anti-EU Party for Freedom gained a lot of support recently. It is a result of his plans to stop Muslim immigration. He claims that Islam contrasts with the Dutch values and that Koran should be banned in the Netherlands. The Party for Freedom is currently the third largest party in the Netherlands.

The Nationalist Sweden Democrats is against multiculturalism and it has also gained more support with its plans to increase immigration controls. In 2015 there were 160,000 asylum seekers, which may have caused changes in public attitude.

In Denmark the Danish People’s Party was second in the last general elections with its, toughest in Europe, immigration rules.

In Switzerland in October 2015 Swiss People’s Party won the Parliamentary elections with surprisingly high record of 29.4%. It is not in the EU but faces enormous problems with migrants from Syria. This party gained more public support because it supports stricter immigration controls.

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