Saturday

3rd Dec 2016

Growing racism spurs rise in extremist parties, commission says

  • Political leaders need to take a stand against extremist parties, says Malmstrom (Photo: eu2013.lt)

Creeping racism and xenophobia in Europe may contribute to an upsurge of far-right MEPs following European Parliament elections next May.

Speaking to reporters in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the EU has never before seen so many far right parties in elected bodies since the Second World War.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“In many countries, xenophobia, populism, [and] racism is on the rise,” she said, noting such political parties will most likely be sending emissaries to the EU’s Brussels-based parliament next year.

“Some of these parties have existed for a long time in the European Union, some are quite new, some are very close to entering into government,” she said.

She described the growing phenomenon as counter productive for a struggling EU economy that is need of skilled workers currently not available in Europe, despite the high unemployment numbers.

Immigrants make up just over 4 percent of the EU population out of a total of some 504 million people, says the EU statistical office Eurostat.

The commission says immigrants are needed to counter declining birth rates and offset the widening age gap between the young and elderly.

Most residence permits in 2012 were issued to Ukraine nationals at around 204,000, followed by US nationals at 189,000, and nationals from India at around 179,000.

The immigrant arrivals and pro-migration policy of the EU are common cannon fodder for Britain’s eurosceptic party, UKIP.

On Wednesday, the right-wing party said it expects a strong anti-EU vote in the May EU elections.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage. told Reuters in an interview that it will win most of the British votes in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland next May.

"Lots of eurosceptic groups with varying shades of euroscepticism will get elected from lots of European countries,” said Farage.

But Farage's UKIP popularity claims do not match an ICM poll out Tuesday in the Guardian newspaper. ICM says his group polled at only 7 percent - down 5 points compared to last month.

Meanwhile, Malmstrom’s concerns on the rise of EU-wide xenophobia come in the context of an informal meeting of EU justice ministers in Vilnius.

Ministers at the morning round-table session discussed the European Commission report on immigration and asylum and the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Syria.

The commission’s fourth annual report on immigration and asylum, published in June, noted a 10 percent increase in 2012 in the number of asylum applications.

The increase is due in part to the Syrian crisis that has seen some 1.8 million seek refuge, mostly in neighbouring countries like Turkey. Around 45,000 have attempted to enter the EU.

For its part, the European Commission announced it would contribute an additional €400 million in humanitarian aid, on top of the €877 million pledged from member states and the EU budget.

“We have from the commission added another €400 million to the neighbouring countries who are doing a fantastic job for 1.8 million Syrians who have left the country,” said Malmstrom.

News in Brief

  1. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start
  2. Lead MEP Dieselgate committee: Italy and Slovakia will cooperate
  3. Transparency NGO sues EU commission on Turkey deal
  4. Pro-EU liberal wins UK by-election
  5. Finnish support for Nato drops, Russia-scepticism grows
  6. Cyprus talks to resume in January
  7. Documents from German NSA inquiry released
  8. Transport commissioner 'not aware' of legal action on emissions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting AssociationContinues to Grow its Membership and Welcomes its Newest Member Association
  2. ACCASupports the Women of Europe Awards, Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  3. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  4. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  5. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  6. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  7. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  8. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Trasport and Mobility in Rome
  9. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  10. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  11. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security
  12. ACCAThe Future of Audit Means Adaption to Today’s Global and Digital World