"From this moment," proclaimed the ultra-right, "the liberation of Europe from the self-proclaimed elite, the Brussels monster, which has long been no longer considered the interests of nations, begins." Le Pen and Wilders urge to abandon the current model of integration, which they dubbed the "globalist anomaly", and to return to the "continental bloc based on the cooperation of sovereign states."
A few years ago, representatives of the European mainstream would probably be skeptical of these statements, but now they are forced to reckon with the mood of the nationalists. According to public opinion polls, the National Front is the undisputed favorite of the election race in France (the party of Le Pen is 24 percent ahead of the ruling Socialist Party), and the anti-immigrant movement Wilders is leading in Holland. The Franco-Dutch alliance seems to be joined by the “Swedish Democrats”, also ranked first in national opinion polls, by the Austrian Heinz-Christian Strache Freedom Party, which gained 20 percent support in recent parliamentary elections, the anti-immigrant Danish party, the Italian The Northern League, as well as the radical separatists from the New Flemish Alliance. According to international adviser Le Pen on international issues, Louis de Dunn, “it’s already impossible to say that the leader of the National Front is wandering alone in the desert. This is a real tsunami, and if I were a federalist, I would be very scared and started to panic. ”
And, probably, he is right. Indeed, in addition to the organizations listed by Le Pen close, other anti-European parties also have very good chances. “Alternative for Germany”, which failed to go to the Bundestag (although it did very well for the party that arose literally on the eve of the elections), in the elections to the European Parliament it threatens to double its results. There is also a group of euro skeptics “Europe for Freedom and Democracy” operating in the current European Parliament, which is dominated by the British Independence Party. And although its leader Nigel Faraj considers the views of Le Pen and Wilders to be too radical, on key issues he will obviously be blocked with them. And in London, the Independence Party is also considered the favorite of the pre-election race.
As a result, euro skeptics can get more than 30 percent of the seats in the European Parliament. “This will be the most extremist, most radical parliament in stories“- laments the baroness Sarah Ludford, a representative of the British Liberal Democrats. However, this is not surprising. According to Gallup polls, now only 30 percent of Europeans are positive about EU institutions, although 20 years ago the number of supporters of the European idea exceeded 70 percent. Even in Germany, which is traditionally considered to be the most pro-European country of the Union, euro skeptics are no fewer than euro-optimists.
So, the nationalists, who for almost half a century were considered marginalized in Europe, are becoming today a serious political force. Adherents of a politically correct ideology, long ago transformed into the EU into a kind of civic religion, started talking about Europe returning to the 30 years of the last century, when right-wing radicals came to power in many countries of the Old World. However, the analogy with the interwar period is incorrect. After all, if in the 1930s, the ultra-right enjoyed support in backward agricultural areas, now they show the most impressive results in such successful countries as Austria, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland, and in industrialized regions like Northeast Italy and Flanders. In addition, nationalist parties abandoned anti-Semitic rhetoric, completely switching to the fight against Islamization, which they consider the main threat to national identity. “Our enemies,” says the leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, “are not Jews, but Anglo-Saxon liberals, leftists and defeatists who welcome the wave of Muslims who want to live according to their own laws.”
It was precisely anti-Islamic slogans that made the Dutch Freedom Party successful. Gert Wilders, the author of the notorious film “Fitna” (“Fight”), in which he compared the Quran with the book of Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf, in his election program promised to introduce a tax on hijabs and to prohibit the construction of mosques in the Netherlands.
Not less categorically tuned and Marine Le Pen. In the right-wing media, it is compared to Joan of Arc, whose image, as we know, is the emblem of the National Front. Like the Maid of Orleans, Le Pen fights for "traditional France", which is opposed to the current wave of Islamization. “European elites,” she said in an interview with “However,” “are bought by the globalist lobby and do not want to take into account the interests of the peoples. They are held captive by politically correct fallacies and turn a blind eye to what is happening in Muslim quarters. Meanwhile, there are more and more people in Europe who profess the values of Islamic fundamentalism, which are contrary to individual and public freedom. I think that as long as the residents of Paris suburbs, for example, answer “I am a Muslim,” we will not succeed in reviving the former greatness when asked about nationality.
The New Flemish Alliance stands somewhat apart, which became famous not so much for its anti-immigrant sentiment as for calling for the division of the Belgian kingdom into Flemish-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. Such a prospect for Belgium, which has always been considered an exemplary example of the coexistence of two ethnic groups that inspired the once-European founding fathers, could, according to experts, set in motion nationalist mechanisms throughout Europe.
Euroskeptics vs. Eurocrats
The question is, why did Eurosceptic nationalists still fail to create a powerful alliance? First of all, unlike the mainstream representatives, they always attached great importance to the contradictions existing between the European powers, and were not ready for a dialogue with historical opponents. A serious obstacle was also the ambitions of leaders, whose personality cult reigned in nationalist movements. There were also ideological contradictions, which, in fact, have not disappeared to this day. Wilders, for example, supports Israel, the gay and feminist movement, Le Pen, on the contrary, defends traditional values and is suspicious of the policy of Jerusalem. However, they are so close to the dislike of immigrants and Brussels Eurocrats that any disagreements seem insignificant.
The union of euro-skeptics, which is being formed before our eyes, is in many ways reminiscent of the Tea Party Movement that arose in the US in 2009 and united various political forces: from libertarians to ultraconservatives. However, if the “tea cups” who criticized the “big government” never threatened the existing political system, their European counterparts are trying to bury the integration project and, according to experts, will play the role of a “Trojan horse” in the EU institutions. “Having won a significant number of seats in the European Parliament,” writes the conservative British magazine The Spectator, “nationalists will have the opportunity to destroy the hated Brussels system from the inside. They will be able to block the activities of the European Commission, the signing of pan-European treaties, impose a veto on most of the bills and slow down the adoption of the budget. All this will paralyze the decision-making system and will eventually lead to a crisis of EU legitimacy. ”
Of course, this is the most pessimistic scenario. However, even if Brussels with the support of the “federalists” in national governments succeeds in repulsing the attack of the Alliance for Freedom, the continent’s political landscape will change dramatically. The old division into left and right will be replaced by a division between the pro-European elite and Euro-skeptics populists. Not only in Germany, but also in other EU countries, most likely, there will be “big coalitions” that unite mainstream parties that do not want to put up with centrifugal tendencies.
It is not excluded, however, that under the influence of the radicals, the center-right parties of Europe will be forced to move towards traditionalism and adopt anti-immigrant and Euro-skeptical slogans. It is no accident, for example, that the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, the leader of the Liberal People’s Party, Mark Rutte, was nicknamed “Wilders Light” for his attacks on immigrants. As Michael Bruther, a professor at the London School of Economics, said in an interview with "However," many European center-right parties are becoming political counterparts of the right-wing radicals, playing the role of Dr. Jekyll under the unpredictable Mr. Heide.
Almost all European political scientists argue about the ideological affinity of the FIDES center-right ruling party in Hungary with the nationalists from the Jobbik party. “Both parties,” writes The Business Week, “share the right-conservative ideology, which in Hungary has undergone minimal changes since the 1930's. Both FIDES and Jobbik are characterized by anti-liberal sentiment and old-fashioned nationalism mixed with racist theories. ”
In general, while in the west of Europe, the ultra-right parties are mainly oriented towards the middle class, in the east, poorly educated peasants from poor provinces are being bought into nationalist slogans. According to Bruther, "unlike their Western counterparts, who uphold liberal values and criticize immigrants who do not want to accept them, the far-right of the former countries of the socialist camp build their campaign on anti-market and anti-liberal slogans." Anyway, Brussels among the Eastern European nationalists causes no less allergy. They call for withdrawal from the Treaty of Lisbon and argue that joining the EU instead of the promised development has increased in their countries a sense of hopelessness.
One of the main theses advocated by Euro-skeptics nationalists is the thesis that the EC repeats the fate of the USSR. Le Pen last week, for example, stated that “the Brussels-based Eurocrats, like the Soviet nomenklatura, are not capable of saving their ideological bureaucratic project.” “The departed charisma of aging officials who made a name for themselves as early as the era of 60 student unrest,” echoes The Spectator, “they now sit in meaningless bureaucratic structures and take tons of bills, rules and recommendations just like Soviet apparatchiks. Only one made a pathetic talk about the imminent victory of communism, while others talk about the triumph of European tolerance. ”
At the same time, skeptics say, the European “spindoctor” is not much different from the Soviet propagandist. All those who express doubts in the official doctrine are proclaimed by racists and nationalists (both in the EU and in the Soviet Union, with their international ideology, “nationalist” is an abusive term). Moreover, the “dissidents” have no opportunity to get into power. Recall how Brussels effectively declared the Austrian popularly elected government, headed by the leader of the nationalist Freedom Party, illegitimate.
Euroskeptics find many similarities in the two “unions”: the depreciated position of the titular nations, protest nationalist movements in the outskirts and harsh criticism of the provincial “freeloaders” in the center, the degradation and powerlessness of the elites (both the USSR and the European Union are ruled by a faceless bureaucracy who has not elected and is not responsible for their actions), distrust of official dogmas and the growing popularity of alternative ideologies (the ideology of political correctness, according to critics, is becoming the same false officialdom as the commune gp to commoners in the Soviet era of stagnation). However, like the Soviet academic elite, “European intellectuals” are not able to get rid of stereotyped thinking and abandon the materialistic Darwinian understanding of the world.
According to Eurosceptics, the fate of the EU reminds the fate of the USSR also because all decisions made by Eurocrats are late and cannot affect anything. The economic system of the EU, they say, has lost its viability. Individual citizens, enterprises and entire states sat tightly on a credit needle (like the USSR - on an oil needle). Bureaucratization and planned economy are gradually replacing market principles from European economic life. Money, as in the Soviet Union, is becoming the EU's instrument of political influence (the creation of the eurozone, many experts now recognize, is, first and foremost, a political project). Private initiative plays an ever-decreasing role, while the paternalistic functions of the state are strengthened (many compare the Soviet “snowdrops” and European dependents sitting on unemployment benefits). There are indeed many common features, and skeptics are convinced that the European Union, in which the “councils” and “commissars” play a key role, and the state ideology, in fact, is socialism, has long become the second USSR - the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.