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Will far right bring forth new Hitler in Europe?

Will far right bring forth new Hitler in Europe?
By Cem Kucuk
Jun 12, 2024 11:21 AM

Renowned journalist and author Cem Kucuk dissects the outcomes of the European Parliament elections, shedding light on the resurgence of far-right movements.

Despite the center managing to maintain its position, Kucuk’s evaluation prompts reflection on the unsettling query: “Will a new Hitler emerge?”, as the question marks the first of its kind since World War II.

Will far right bring forth new Hitler in Europe?
Leader of the French far-right National Rally Marine Le Pen left and lead candidate of the party for the European election Jordan Bardella attend a political meeting on June 2, 2024, in Paris (AP)

France: Le Pen’s National Rally surges

In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) saw a 10-point increase compared to the 2019 elections, securing 31.5% of the vote.

President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance Party, on the other hand, lagged behind by 15%. The Socialist Party, with 14% of the vote, secured the third position.

Will far right bring forth new Hitler in Europe?
Member of AfD Tino Chrupalla speaks as the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party launches its campaign for highly contested elections, in the three east German regions of Saxony, Thuringia, Brandenburg, and the European Parliament elections in Donaueschingen, Germany April 27, 2024. (Reuters)

Germany: AfD strengthens amid CDU/CSU dominance

In Germany, according to exit polls, the conservative CDU/CSU secured the top spot with around 30% of the vote, similar to the 2019 elections.

The far-right AfD increased its vote share by around 5% compared to five years ago, reaching 16%. Despite being expelled from the ID group in the European Parliament due to its Nazi-apologetic rhetoric, AfD is expected to be represented in parliament with 17 members. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD remained at a record low of 14%, becoming the third-largest party.

Will far right bring forth new Hitler in Europe?
Lega (League) leader Matteo Salvini, Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi, and Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni react during the closing electoral campaign rally of the center-right’s coalition in Piazza del Popolo, ahead of the September 25 general election, in Rome, Italy, September 22, 2022. (Reuters)

Italy: Meloni’s Brothers of Italy rise

In Italy, Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI), which had secured 6.4% of the vote in the 2019 elections, saw a significant surge in support, surpassing 28.8% and claiming the top position.

The center-left Democratic Party became the second-largest party with 24% of the vote.

Will far right bring forth new Hitler in Europe?
Dutch far-right politician and leader of the PVV party, Geert Wilders gestures as he meets with members of his party at the Dutch Parliament, after the Dutch parliamentary elections, in The Hague, Netherlands November 23, 2023 (Reuters)

Netherlands: PVV’s gain falls short of victory

In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) saw significant gains compared to five years ago but failed to secure the top position. PVV, with 17.7% of the vote, increased its European Parliament seats from 1 to 7.

Center holds, far-right rises

A closer look at the election results reveals that the center managed to maintain its votes, yet the far right significantly gained ground in France and Germany.

Although concerning the future, it’s crucial to note that Marine Le Pen lost to Macron in the French presidential elections, but she could win the next one.

Will far right bring forth new Hitler in Europe?
A supporter of Alternative for Germany (AfD) party does a Hitler salute during a protest against the government, amid skyrocketing energy prices, in Berlin, Germany, October 8, 2022 (Reuters)

Concerns over AfD’s strength in Germany

The strengthening of the Hitler-supportive AfD in Germany poses a grim scenario for all immigrants and foreigners in the country. It’s a dire situation for German citizens too because without immigrants, the country would face economic challenges.

Implications for Türkiye

The outcomes of these elections will undoubtedly impact Türkiye, likely more positively. Despite cultural hesitations toward others, Europe cannot sustain itself without immigration. How Europe navigates this dilemma will shape its future. It must proceed with wise decisions to avoid stumbling.

Insights from The New York Times

The vaccine issue has negatively impacted EU leaders. The mismanagement of the pandemic has been one of the factors contributing to the rise of the far right.

Let’s take a look at an analysis from The New York Times dated June 7, titled “Never Waste a Crisis”

  • Europe’s response to crises is underpinned by the notion of collective action yielding greater results than individual efforts.
  • The pandemic underscored this cooperative spirit, as the EU spearheaded vaccine procurement to mitigate the impact of lockdowns.
  • Despite this achievement, the handling of the pandemic exacerbated distrust toward Brussels, particularly among right-wing factions wary of perceived government overreach.
  • Mismanagement of the pandemic contributed to the surge of far-right sentiments across Europe.
  • Following the pandemic, the EU’s collective borrowing for a comprehensive stimulus package prevented a more severe economic downturn, albeit facing criticism from wealthier member states who felt they were contributing disproportionately.
  • This discontent has stoked resentment among right-wing voters, particularly in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, who feel the EU’s policies are detrimental to their interests.
Will far right bring forth new Hitler in Europe?

Cem Kucuk, a journalist and writer, graduated from Istanbul University with a degree in American Culture and Literature. Presently, he hosts programs on the TGRT news channel and continues to contribute columns to Türkiye Gazetesi.

Last Updated:  Jul 22, 2024 6:09 PM