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Rise of the Radical Right: Implications for European Politics

Political Extremism in Europe
David Art

For more than three years now, European leaders have struggled to resolve a sovereign debt crisis that continues to threaten the euro. Given that the common currency is not only the most significant political achievement of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union but also the central symbol of European cooperation, it is important to ask whether the last three years have marked a resurgence in the type of nationalism that, according to both the official narrative of the European Union and the rhetoric of political leaders, the EU was designed to solve. However, many informed commentators have done more than soberly assess the manifestations of this nationalist backlash; they have warned that the Great Recession of 2008 is generating political movements with eerie parallels to the fascist ones that tore the continent apart in the wake of the Great Crash of 1929. The far right, in short, is back. Although there are some notable political parties on the extreme left