The Far Right Threat to European Stability and Security

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After the great and destructive wars in the European continent, the European Union (EU) was established in order to ensure the sustainability of peace through integration; an inclusive and broad European identity was designed with the motto of “united in diversity”. However, regional and global developments since the beginning of the 2000s have led to an increase in identity-based polarizations. As a result of increasing divisions, the far-right problem, which acts with motives such as xenophobia, anti-immigration, anti-Islamism, reaction to multiculturalism, Euroscepticism and racism, recurred in Europe.

Essentially, it was thought that racist understanding ended with World War II. However, the attacks of September 11, 2001, the economic crises, the energy crisis have shown that the supremacist mentality has preserved its dominance in some members of the society by disguising it. Seeds of marginalization were spread by establishing a connection between Islam and terrorism with the September 11 attacks; with the realization of terrorist attacks by groups claiming to be Muslim in London in 2004 and Madrid in 2005, the fear of Islam took root in Europe; identity has become the main issue.

The economic crisis in 2008 increased unemployment in many European countries; European citizens have been deprived of some of their rights with the measures taken in line with the fight against the crisis. A section of Europeans, who are accustomed to living in prosperity, showed immigrants as the cause of economic difficulties and believed that the society should be simplified.

The intense wave of migration from Syria to Europe in 2015 was also influential in Europe’s vigilance. As a reflection of the idea that human rights and the asylum regime are abused by terrorists or that terrorists can enter together with illegal immigrants, the problem of immigrants from Muslim countries has begun to be securitized in Europe. While the immigration problem, which was considered as security issue, continued, the Covid-19 epidemic and the socio-economic reflections of the Russia-Ukraine War that started right after it on Europe accelerated the rise of the extreme right in the eyes of the society.

As a result of increased support, the first success of the far right was to achieve political representation. The number of supporters of the National Rally in France, the AfD in Germany, The Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, VOX in Spain, and The Law and Justice Party in Poland is increasing day by day. Likewise, the Sweden Democrats, with 20.54% of the votes, rose to the position of the second party in the Swedish elections. Under the leadership of Giorgia Meloni, who had neofascist ideas in Italy, the Brothers of Italy Party procure the majority with 26.2% of the votes and eventually the far-right Meloni became the Prime Minister of Italy.

The transformation of far-right discourses into votes with it the threat that mainstream political parties will also tend to change their policies. This situation shows that the parties, which were once outside the European politics, started to shape the European politics as of the point reached.

In fact, the recent development of far-right parties in Europe is not surprising given that Adolf Hitler formed the government in post-Great Depression Germany. However, the discourse emphasized by these parties that culture, values and their existence are under threat paves the way for groups like PEGIDA to take to the streets on social media in a short time or for extremist individuals who adopt a white supremacist approach to be supported more on virtual platforms in today’s age of digitalization. In this way, today, the far right is organized in a wide range from extremism to politics, including individual, group and political party. Their total targets is to build a Europe without Muslims, which they describe as a threat to European identity.

Of course, it is out of the question for the actions that were done against the Jews in the past to take place in the middle of Europe today. The formation of prejudice with attitudes and discourses towards Islam, Muslims and Islamic symbols, the occurrence of terrorist acts against Muslims from time to time, including hate crime, and thus the dominance of fear and panic air among the minority group, currently serves the purpose of the far right.

In short, when the big picture is examined, the far right does not only engage in racist actions that exclude Muslims. The European right, which gathers supporters through the narrative of immigrant and anti-Islamism, also creates cracks in the European ship and destabilizes Europe by deepening the divisions between continental countries.

The situation in question; it provides an intervening environment for the great powers that want to weaken the EU bloc, have an indirect say in the decision-making processes of European countries and legitimize policies that serve their own interests. Because in Sweden, which abandoned its neutrality status against the Russian threat and approached NATO membership, far-right politician Ramus Paludan burned the Holy Quran, the holy book of Islam, and a few days later, the Dutch leader of PEGIDA, Edwin Wagensveld, similarly committed a provocative act. Both actions aimed to create a crisis in international politics as well as the hostile attitude towards Muslims.

It is claimed that extreme rightists see Russia as the savior that will ensure be purified of European identity.[1] The second actor that benefits from the environment created by the extreme right in Europe is the USA, which considers a strong and integrated Europe as a security threat, is among the allegations that are frequently voiced.

Regardless of whether it is Russia, the USA or any other third country, it is understood from all this background that one of the most important threats for European countries in the short and long term is the existence of the extreme right in today’s hybrid wars. If far-right ideas continue to rise in the political and social sphere, the existence of the EU is expected to suffer. As a matter of fact, intelligence services also warn about the threats posed by the European far right.[2]

As a result, with the influence of the international conjuncture, the support of the European society, which acts with nationalist feelings, to the extreme right in the political and social field is increasing. The strengthening of the extreme right in Europe reinforces the sharp nation-statist understanding and threatens the existence of the EU. Secondly, with the increase in hate crimes against Muslims, European countries are being dragged into chaos. Thirdly, a suitable ground is formed for the covert intervention of external actors in Europe. For all these reasons, it can be said that the far right destabilizes Europe. Despite this, Europe, which remains silent on the externalization of security by targeting a minority group on the grounds that immigrants and Islam are a threat in terms of its values, culture and identity, continues to grow the real threat to its existence from within.

[1] Stephanıe Foggett vd., How Are Putın’s Far-Rıght Fans in The West Reactıng to Hıs War?,, (Date of Accession: 30.12.2022).

[2] “European Intelligence Services See Far-Right Extremism As Growing Threat”, France 24,, (Date of Accession:25.01.2022).

Gamze BAL
Sakarya Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nde lisans eğitimini tamamlamıştır. Akabinde Sakarya Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda başladığı yüksek lisans eğitimini “1992 Sonrası Avrupa Birliği’nin Filistin-İsrail Sorununa Yaklaşımı” başlıklı teziyle tamamlamıştır. 2021-2022 yılları arasında İstanbul Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Avrupa Birliği Anabilim Dalı’nda doktora ders dönemini tamamlamıştır. Halihazırda Bal, Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli Üniversitesi Lisansüstü Eğitim Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda doktora eğitimine devam etmektedir. İleri derecede İngilizce bilen Bal’ın başlıca çalışma alanları, Avrupa Birliği, güvenlik, etnik çatışmalar ve çatışma çözümü yöntemleridir.