Thursday

18th Oct 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

“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.

Russian activist warning on 'fake news' as EU backs action

In 2015, internet activist Lyudmila Savchuk went under cover to expose a troll factory in St Petersburg. As the EU summit endorses anti-disinformation action, she told EUobserver the Russian government is bankrolling many more.

News in Brief

  1. Rutte: summit was 'not the moment' for higher climate ambition
  2. Legal text for Brexit relocation EU agencies agreed
  3. Greek foreign minister resigns over Macedonia deal
  4. No Brexit backstop means no approval, says EU parliament
  5. Poland questions supremacy of EU court
  6. Medvedev to meet Juncker and Merkel in Brussels
  7. Italians and Czechs least favourable to remaining in EU
  8. Facebook hack set to be first major test of EU data rules

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa
  2. EU leaders worried about Italy's budget
  3. Russian activist warning on 'fake news' as EU backs action
  4. Kaczynski: No question of Polish EU exit
  5. EU summit to accept urgency of climate action – but no measures planned
  6. MEPs demand more from EU on human rights in Asia
  7. EU migration solutions are on the table - let's adopt them
  8. No progress at Brexit summit, talks continue

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us