All things considered, hardcore nationalists – those for whom the European Union is the problem, and nation states the solution – remain a minority. Topping the the list of Europeans’ main concerns is not immigration, but rather domestic issues such as corruption, housing conditions, health, pensions and unemployment. This is what a recent poll by the European Council of Foreign Relations (ECFR) would seem to suggest.
Of course, sovereignists happen to be a loud minority, and their potential ascent in the forthcoming European elections is a cause for concern. If they manage to succeed, they could wreck the European Union from within. These are the terms used by the ECFR in an analysis published last February, where they speculate that sovereignist and populist groups could take more than a third of seats in the next European Parliament.
This article relies on the possibilities for research and analysis provided by the Quote Finder tool developed by EDJNet, allowing users to track the Twitter activity – tweets, hashtags – of every MEP.
Just recently, openDemocracy reported on the flow of money funding the spread of ultra-Catholic and ultra-conservative ideas in Europe: “far-right parties aim for big wins in the upcoming European Parliament elections in May”, reads their analysis, and “large amounts of foreign money have supported the spread of their ‘traditional values’”.
Meanwhile, leader of Lega and Interior Minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini, has launched the “European alliance of people and nations” (EAPN), which he hopes will become a new European Parliament group, gathering members of ENF (including Lega), EFDD (from which MEPs from Germany’s AFD would migrate) and ECR.
Present at the launch of the new formation were the Finns Party (formerly known as the True Finns), the Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti) – currently members of the conservative, eurosceptic ECR group. Nevertheless, the possible merger of ECR with the far right has been denied in a tweet by ECR Spitzenkandidat Jan Zahradil:
Opinions on the new group’s chances of success are mixed. Some commentators are sceptical: the parties are too quarrelsome, precisely because they’re nationalists; and in any case, they’re hardly drawing a full crowd. According to Europe Elects , the new group – focused on “harsher policies towards immigration and borders, and subscribing to various levels of euroscepticism in favour of mor