The rise of populist and far-right eurosceptic parties in the EU elections has given food for thought to the political establishment, but these disparate parties are unlikely to be able to mount a serious threat as they appear incapable of working together in the next parliament.
France felt the worst of the voter’s rebellion against the EU where Marine Le Pen’s Front National came top of the polls. The FN intends to ally itself with Austria’s Freedom Party, which also made strong gains.
“People no longer want to be led from abroad, to submit to laws that they haven’t voted for, or obey Commissioners who haven’t the legitimacy of being directly elected,” said Marine Le Pen.
UKip, which won the vote in Britain, has ruled out an alliance with the FN because its leader Nigel Farage says the FN is too antisemitic. It got 27% of the vote despite having no manifesto, and only arguing on one issue, leaving the EU.
“Well my dream has become a reality and despite the onslaught we’ve faced over the last few weeks, as if the whole world was against us, the British public have stood firm, they have backed UKip and we have won a national election. I’m over the moon,” said Farage, the first party leader not from the Conservatives or Labour to win a national election since 1906.
Even in countries where austerity has not been applied with such force, like Denmark, the extreme right prospered. The anti-immigrant Peoples’ Party won there with 26,7%, but again want no truck with France’s FN because of its perceived anti-semiticism and anti-gay opinions.
In Greece, where the EU’s austerity policies have cut the deepest, the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn has also made gains, in part countered by Syriza’s gains for the left, but Syriza campaigned for a different Europe, not no Europe at all.