« Back to Analyses


Available on Demand - Demand for Right-Wing Extremism is on the rise in Europe

Clearly rising anti-establishment and, within that, anti-EU attitudes in most member states leave parties agitating against the European Union in a strong position – it is revealed in Political Capital’s most recent data on Demand for Right Wing Extremism Index (DEREX), measuring social demand for far-right ideologies.

Aside from prejudice and xenophobia, lately popular support for the far right seem to be mostly driven by a widespread disaffection with the European Union and representative democracy in general. Compared to the earliest DEREX data of the first three waves (2002–2007) of The European Social Survey, the most recent data of the last three waves (2008–2013) shows that in the past few years the rate of those strongly opposing the establishment’s political institutions increased in 18 out of 29 European (mainly EU) countries from an earlier average of 17 to 25%. The number of voters expressing extreme distrust of the European Parliament (EP) also shows a clearly rising trend. In 24 out of 29 European countries the number of those with absolutely no confidence in the EP has increased.

In line with this, the more successful populist, Euro-reject parties in the last few years have shifted their platform’s central pillar from anti-immigration in 2009’s EP election to anti-EU in 2014’s EP election2. Consequently, there is a substitution of migration as a cultural group-threat with a more systematic cross-country Euro-reject stance in which the rejection of the European establishment serves as a common cause for the effects of migration on the economic hardships of the majority.

Compared to a decade ago, anti-establishment attitudes have increased significantly in Spain, Portugal, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Italy, Cyprus, and Greece (in the latter jumping from one fourth to two thirds of the population in just one decade).

Read the full analysis by Political Capital here.