Twenty-First Century Nationalism in Europe

One of the most significant developments following the Financial Crisis has been the increase in the power of right-wing nationalist parties in Europe, and a nationalist tilt in the United States. The nationalism that has arisen seems to be because of the considerable fear that local populations have developed in recent years about their economic and social future. Most of the states within which nationalist feelings have become prevalent, such as in Britain, France, Hungary, and Poland, have had varying histories with the first two having been colonial powers while the last two were for decades occupied by or under the influence of the Soviet Union. In this post, however, we will discuss the situation in France and Britain.

Britain and France attracted a large number of immigrants from their own colonies and this trend has continued during the post-colonial period despite the restrictions that have been put in place. The large number of immigrants in these two countries, especially because of their membership in the EU, has come to be sen as a threat not only to their cultural identity, but also to the economic security of the native populations. A consequence is that there has developed a backlash that has not only led to the increase in the number of people supporting right-leaning parties like UKIP and the Nationalist Front in Britain and France respectively, but also a backlash against refugees from such volatile countries as Iraq and Syria. The failure of the EU to address these concerns has led has led to Brexit, which is an event that was so unexpected that the rest of EU member states have yet to come to terms with it. A potential withdrawal of France from the EU if it does not change its open-border policy to refugees might just happen.

Incidents of terrorism that have hit France the hardest among EU member states have empowered the political right of this country. The potential of some members of ISIS coming into the country among the refugees and committing acts of terror against the people of France has led to public opinion tilting towards the right. Thus, among the most liberal states in Europe concerning immigration and refugees, France and Britain might both end up not only blocking refugees from entering their borders, but might also leave the EU and its European dream a shadow of its former self. The EU has to act in order to maintain its composition and remain a strong voice on the world stage.

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