Report: Xenophobic Europeans outnumber far-right voters

Published 30.06.2017 00:00
Updated 30.06.2017 00:02

A report prepared by the Parliamentary Research Services Department that analyzes the rising far-right sentiment in Europe and xenophobia directed at Muslims and other people across the continent says that the number of xenophobic Europeans exceeds that of actual far-right voters.

The parliamentary research underscored that far-right parties in Europe have garnered at least 10 percent of the vote in many Western European countries while they were only able to attract one voter out of 100 in the 1980s.

According to research, the indication of rising far-right tendencies in Europe is not only the increasing number of votes given to far-right parties. Research also revealed that crimes committed by far-right people have peaked recently. Hate crimes committed by far-right people increased by 2,6 percent in Germany to 23,555 cases.

The parliamentary report underlined that the number of people thinking that Muslims and foreigners should be alienated and isolated from the society is much higher than the number of people voting for far-right parties.

In addition, throughout 2016, a large number of violent attacks targeting mosques, refugee centers and establishments owned by Turkish-origin citizens were widely reported in the media, particularly in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Austria.

While anti-Muslim attacks and xenophobia are on the rise across the continent, Austrian authorities pressed charges in about 1,690 cases related to right-wing extremism in 2015, the highest number to date in a single year, and up from 1,200 in 2014, a report by Austria's domestic intelligence service BVT showed.

Also, Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPO) has called for a law banning Muslim symbols, saying Islam could wipe out European society. The Netherlands' anti-Islam Dutch Deputy Geert Wilders and his far-right Freedom Party has called for similar actions to be taken against the country's Muslim minorities.

Research, however, stressed that far-right sentiment is unlikely to draw wide support in Luxembourg, Slovenia, Malta or Iceland.

Emphasizing that the message of the far right rises on populism centered on xenophobia and an anti-establishment attitude, the research indicates that the new wave of far-right and xenophobia started after the global economic crisis in 2008 and the refugee crisis after the Syrian civil war began in 2011.Research revealed that difficult economic conditions in Europe, along with the mass exodus of refugees into the Schengen zone, made the threat seem more real for Europeans who perceived that the continent was growing more Islamized, deeming Islam as a threat.

Far-right parties received 24 percent of the vote in Austria in 2013, compared with 21.1 percent in Denmark in 2015, 17.6 percent in Finland in 2015, 13.2 percent in France in 2017 and 13 percent in the Netherlands in 2017.

Furthermore, a February inquiry of 10,000 Europeans across 10 nations by the Chatham House Royal Institute of International Affairs revealed that 55 percent of Europeans want "all further migration from predominantly Muslim countries [to be] stopped."

Furthermore, the report found that 25 percent neither agreed nor disagreed while 20 percent disagreed. Majorities in all but two of the 10 states agreed: 71percent in Poland, 65 percent in Austria, 53 percent in Germany and 51 percent in Italy to 47 percent in the U.K. and 41 percent in Spain."

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