The popularity of nationalist parties has swept across Europe. The most recent example is Finland: Basic Finns came second in the parliamentary elections and defeated the prime minister’s party SDP. It didn’t even help that the prime minister, who was dubbed the world’s rock star of politics, didn’t help Sanna Marini personal preference.
Petteri Orpon On Tuesday, the coalition led by Mr.
The previous wave of populism in Europe was seen between 2015 and 2020. In Finland, however, we were ahead of schedule, when Timo Soinin led by the Fundamental Finns already received a “big boost” in the 2011 parliamentary elections.
However, political researchers seem to be just as puzzled every time when nationalist parties receive an avalanche of votes. Write about it, for example online magazine Politico. (you switch to another service)
Nationalist parties are already in power in, for example, Italy, Hungary and Poland.
in Sweden by Jimmie Åkesson led by the Sweden Democrats supports the minority government from outside it. The other parties did not agree to the same government, although the Sweden Democrats became the second largest party.
The Sweden Democrats have threatened to overthrow the Swedish government because of the EU’s immigration and refugee program.
We asked the experts how nationalist right-wing parties have used their power in other parts of Europe after reaching a decision-making position.
Gays, lesbians and environmental issues are on the Italian Melon’s hate list
In Italy, the chairman of the Italian Brothers party came to power in the fall Georgia Meloni. Prime Minister Meloni demands Italy’s interest before others and opposes immigration. Meloni defends Italian food, genetic heritage and traditional family.
Meloni has promised to increase Italy’s low birth rate with big promises: he would remove taxes on those who add to the family.
Meloni has formed a government Silvio Berlusconi led by the right-wing Forza Italia party and Matteo Salvini with the right-wing populist Lega party led by
Senior researcher at the Foreign Policy Institute Marco Siddi estimates that so far Meloni’s words have been louder than his actions. However, it has already been seen that the prime minister, who has been in power for six months, is not interested in the fairness of income distribution.
– He supports a flat tax and lower taxes for entrepreneurs. Basic security is being cut because it will become expensive. Meloni does not want the people to be paid for being idle, says Siddi.
Prime Minister Meloni’s list of dislikes includes gays and lesbians and environmental issues. He is against abortion.
– The Abortion Act has not been changed, but doctors still have the right to refuse to perform an abortion. When getting an abortion is delayed, the birth rate rises, says Siddi.
Economic views may differ
Expert at the Brussels-based think tank EPC (European Policy Center). Sophie Pornschlegel estimates that the biggest concerns from the EU’s point of view have not been realized so far.
EPC analyzes EU affairs.
According to Pornschlegel, Meloni has surprisingly remained in line with other EU countries, for example, regarding the Russian war of aggression.
However, Pornschlegel points out that Meloni’s politics are showing. He takes, for example, the one who transported migrants rescued from the Mediterranean of the Ocean Viking ship (you switch to another service)which Italy initially denied entry to its ports at the end of last year.
– It was a very clear political decision.
According to Pornschlegel, drawing a unified picture of the actions of European nationalist parties is difficult, as they differ, especially at the national level.
– It is important to understand what kind of political field there is in each country and which national issues are important: on which line of polarization the nationalist parties place themselves.
Of course, the nationalist parties of Europe also have similarities.
– They are against immigration, they have traditional values and they play with fear. However, what is interesting is that they do not necessarily have, for example, the same financial viewpoints.
They want power out of Brussels
Right-wing populists also use the same type of tactics. Pornschlegel also takes an example from the EU. One way is to use the right of veto and slow down the processes, but not directly seek to leave the EU.
– They want to destroy the EU from within and take power away from Brussels, he says.
Doctor of research Sanna Salo The foreign policy institute says that the nationalist parties of Sweden and Finland can be easily compared with each other.
– Especially after 2017, when Purussuomalaiset, during and after Jussi Halla-aho’s presidency, moved in a more immigration-critical direction and got closer to the mainstream of European right-wing populist parties and also the Sweden Democrats in this sense.
On the other hand, according to Salo, the comparison with, for example, Hungary’s Fidesz party is already far-fetched, even though there is something in common, such as criticism of the EU and immigration.
– But the prime minister Viktor Orbán EU-criticism or, for example, questioning the basic pillars of liberal democracy is much more drastic than, for example, fundamental Finns, who have acted according to the common rules of the game as a parliamentary party.
In Hungary, the president interfered with the law on sexual minorities
In his work, Pornschlegel currently focuses on the rule of law and is therefore familiar with the situation in Hungary and Poland, among others.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has weakened democracy since his election victory in 2010, he describes.
– Since then, there has been a constant downward spiral from the rule of law, freedom of the press, academic freedom, civil society and so on.
In Hungary, the president Katalin Novák used recently right of veto (you switch to another service) in the law, which has been considered to lead to discrimination against sexual minorities.
Poland has shown strong support for Ukraine since the Russian invasion, bringing it to the center of European politics.
– At the same time, people seem to forget that the Polish government is very much on the right wing, says Pornschlegel.
He highlights, among other things, the problems of the judiciary, the media and sexual minorities in the country.
Right-wing populists skillfully influence the topics of discussion
Salo finds several reasons why, for example, in Italy and Sweden, right-wing populists succeeded in the elections.
– I would say that the reluctance or inability of the political elite to take seriously the issues that worried some voters is one of the reasons. In Sweden, for example, segregation was kept quiet for too long [eriytyminen]about gangs and integration problems.
According to Pornschlegel, right-wing populist parties are skilled at influencing public opinion and topics of discussion before elections.
– Traditional parties have failed to present opposing narratives to populist narratives [kertomuksille]. Instead, they have mostly embraced them and made them mainstream. However, you cannot win by copying the original.
Salo points out that there is little experience of what happens if the right-wing populist party is the prime minister’s party and thus can really dictate the direction of politics.
In Norway, the right-wing party FrP was in the conservative-led coalition government 2017-2020.
– It used that time by acting as if it were the internal opposition of the government, demanding an even tougher policy from the government in e.g. immigration issues than it already did. This made the government internally contentious, and eventually the FrP left the government in 2020.
According to Salo, it is difficult for the right-wing populists if they are not able to do what they want, especially as a smaller party in the coalition government.
– The support of basic Finns also collapsed in Sipilä’s government.
Pornschlegel estimates that next year’s European elections will largely show how the nationalist parties are doing.
– They show if there is a lot of frustration in the air.
You can discuss the topic 2.5. until 11 p.m.
Giorgia Meloni promised on election night last fall to unite Italy if her party is in power. The video was published on September 26, 2022: