When in the late nineties, I started working as President of ENAR- the European Network Against Racism, I was hopeful that the struggle for human rights, anti-racism, and anti-discrimination would go from strength to strength in the future. For a while it did go in the right direction but slowly and steadily, anti-migrants, anti-asylum and religious discrimination started taking hold. More and more political movements and parties started using propaganda tools against ethnic and religious minorities and the atmosphere became poisonous.
Progressive people and NGOs warned the European and national decision makers that something was going wrong. Unfortunately, the mainstream parties were afraid to be seen by public as listening to anti-racist worries.
The 2014 EU Parliament election of today has proven us right. In most EU countries from Finland to Greece and UK to Hungry, far right parties have won more than 25% votes.
For example, in UK, UKIP got 30%, in Denmark, DPP got 27%, and in France, Front National received 26% votes. In Germany, even a New Nazi candidate was elected.
The far right-wing populist and anti-Islam Danish People’s Party won the largest share of Danish votes, 26.7%, party’s best-ever European showing.
Of the Front National’s victory in France, Martin Schulz, the former Socialist president of the European Parliament said: “It’s a bad day for the European Union, when a party with a racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic program gets 25% of the vote.” He should have added anti-Islam and anti-Arab to this party’s titles.
This tilt to the far right will effect the national elections in many EU countries and will hugely influence the mainstream parties and would force these to make compromises on humanistic policies.
It is a sad day for democracy in Europe, because it is now firmly marching in the wrong direction.