Economic insecurity and the rise of the radical right

Employment and Social Affairs

Estimated time of reading: ~ 1 minutes  

Economic and social insecurity are one of the main drivers of the rise of far-right parties in Europe. This is especially true after the economic and energy crises, which led to higher costs of living and exacerbated the contradictions of many European economies, a dynamic that gained new political support for the radical right. People from lower and more vulnerable social groups can find in the narrative of right-wing parties convincing arguments when it comes to the crisis of the welfare state and the rise of unemployment, fearing that people coming from abroad can compete for job places and social opportunities.

Some recent studies even highlighted that throughout Europe, far-right parties’ percentage votes can be related to the rise and fall of the GDP. Unemployment’s rate can also be a leading factor in the electoral fortunes of right-wing parties, while being partially connected with immigration and the perception of such an issue among the population. 

This dynamic alone cannot explain the rise of the radical right in many European countries in the last decade, especially if we consider the different economic performances of each nation on the Continent. Thus, many features are similar, as global events can trigger negative ramifications in richer as well as poorer countries, as the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine showed us in the last years. In order to prevent the spread of radical right narratives and the rise of parties linked to this anti-EU agenda, European leaders should focus on reducing economic inequalities on a national level, while improving the integration of people with different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds.

These efforts could hopefully create a better social and economic environment, especially in the urban context, as well as marginalizing the rhetoric of radical right groups in Europe.

Written by: Francesco Marino

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