Hello there, Welcome to the far-right observer!
We are glad that this blog caught your attention. This blog is managed by Boris, Emma, Isabel, Leire, and Luisa. We are second year students studying at Maastricht University. Coming from different national backgrounds, we aim at highlighting the rise of the far-right from different angles. The focus of our blog is to explain and understand the factors that have pushed EU citizens to support far-right parties. There is no general definition for the term “right-wing party”. When looking at Europe, we can see that in different countries, right-wing parties have different positions on topics such as for example climate change. While in Germany, the right-wing party AFD rejects the idea of climate change as a whole, in France Rassemblement National has started to support local policies to tackle this phenomenon (although they have also rejected international agreements on that). Our focus here is not to find a common definition for right-wing parties, but to analyse their rise from being isolated movements without much influence in the political spectrum to becoming big forces in different European governments. Therefore, it is useful to keep the differences in right-wing parties in different countries in mind. Our blog has different perspectives on how the rise emerged. From, for example, the rise of far-right wing countries in vastly different European countries to why people tend to choose these parties in the first place.
Who are we and what will we write about in this blog?
Isabel is 19 years old and from the Netherlands. She was born and raised in Maastricht and because she loves the city so much, she has chosen to stay here for her studies as well. Despite her staying close to her hometown, she also wanted to meet more international students. European Studies seemed to be a perfect fit as it combined all these factors into one. Her main interests in the studies lay within history and politics, but as the bachelor progressed another topic sparked her interest: psychology. Therefore her choice to look into the psyche behind, in this case, far-right politics. In order to explain this phenomenon, she will firstly focus on the character traits that are linked with far-right voters, and afterward, examine whether or not there is a set of character traits that form the far-right voter, looking at the topic with a critical eye. Her statements are backed up by an example from the UK election from 2015.
Luisa is a 20 year old Bachelor student. Even though she is originally from Cologne, Germany she really enjoys living in an international environment in Maastricht. She has always been enthusiastic about European history and the development of politics in Europe, especially about the reasons behind drastic changes in governments. In her Bachelor programme her interest lies within international relations between the European Union and countries outside of it, as well as European history in the past two centuries. In this blog she will focus on women in the far-right and why far-right parties experienced more encouragement from women in the past decade.
Leire is 19-year-old and she is Spanish but has also lived for seven years in Belgium. Living in Brussels, she was able to be in contact with many different people who used to work in European institutions, and this is when her attraction to politics and international relations started. Moreover, her interest in the far-right emerged when Vox, the Spanish far-right political party, started to have success. She wants to understand why people have decided to vote for this kind of party and find out if its success could have been avoided. Consequently, she has decided to research one of the most important parties in the rise of the far-right in Europe, namely the French political party Rassemblement National (RN). She will analyze what are the factors that have pushed French citizens to vote for this party and, therefore, have contributed to their success. She will explain how the financial crisis of 2008, the recent migration crisis, and the normalization of far-right ideas by mainstream political parties all have contributed to the success of RN.
Emma is 21 years old and from Germany. She has always been interested in the idea of Europe and the EU. While being in constant conflict with the opportunities the EU offered her and the rights that are kept from others by the same institution, she decided to study European Studies to gain a better understanding. Growing up in Germany, she was confronted with right-wing parties and their politics. She was always curious how something like the NSU (Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund) could emerge in Germany, considering the past of this country. Spending a gap year in Estonia, she found out that Estonia has been able to resist successful right-wing parties for a long time. Curious about that, she decided to write about this exact topic in the blog. In particular, she will write about the reasons for missing electoral success for right-wing parties in Estonia and what changed with the rise of the People’s Party.
Boris is 25 years old and from Belgium. Having grown up in Brussels with English and Irish family, he has always identified with the European project. Studying European Studies was a natural transition as it provided a similar multicultural environment which he believes is necessary to broaden one’s perspective. In particular, he got interested in the rise of the far-right after its worrying increase in the European elections. With this in mind, he intends to explore in his blog post to what extent the use of social media is representative of the real world situation. In particular, Boris will analyse the discrepancies between what happens after a potential election to office as opposed to the lead up to election.
We hope that you will enjoy reading our different articles and feel free to comment on our posts! We are eager to read your opinions and experiences in this field.