Populism becomes more popular in Europe

The recent investigation of Israeli journalist Zvi Yehezkeli does not add confidence that the correct policy is being pursued with regard to refugees.

For 1.25 thousand dollars, he bought a fake Syrian passport in Istanbul and migrated to Germany under the guise of a migrant, successfully penetrating into the hidden Islamist structures. An employee of the refugee center told him about ways to deceive the migration services, then Ezekiel went to the Muslim Brotherhood, operating through mosques throughout Europe. After communicating with a large number of new guests in Europe, the journalist concluded that the words of the Czech minister: none of them are going to integrate – it is more about “silent conquest” and the formation of a new Muslim society in the West.

Desiring to explain the behavior of visegrades (Visegrad — city in Hungary known for the migrant problems) they do not understand with the help of understandable stereotypes, Western media call the politicians the populists. According to the classification of Melbourne University, a political party can be called populist if it negatively affects migrants, ethnic minorities, financial and political elites; if it depends on a charismatic leader and does not accept the norms of liberal democracy.

According to Ruth Wodak, an expert on this topic from the University of Lancaster, populist politicians refer to an “ordinary” person who feels that the establishment ignores his opinion. As a rule, she notes, populists at the same time stand on nationalist and conservative positions, with rare exceptions in the form of left populists, who criticize capitalism and globalization.

The policy of the countries of the Visegrad group meets these criteria to varying degrees. Hungary, where Viktor Orban’s party has the highest percentage of votes in the whole of the EU, is an ideal example: the rhetoric of the struggle for national identity and “defense” from the corrupting influence of billionaire George Soros is accompanied by tighter control over the media and even attempts to close the Central European University. Prejudice against Muslims among the Hungarians was formed, including as a result of years of wars with the Ottoman Empire.

Hungary follows Poland, where the ruling national-conservative party “Law and Justice” is trying to subjugate the judiciary, for which the European Commission had to threaten it with sanctions for violating the principles of democracy. Nationalists in Poland and in power, and in opposition: the most radical Polish conservatives recently tried to completely ban the abortion in the country.

Much more calm things are happening in the Czech Republic: no one party in the country’s parliament has such a preponderance as the populists of Hungary and Poland – here both the Social Democrats and the moderate right calmly and confidently oppose the migration policy of Brussels, and the populists of ANO who have won in the elections in 2017, fall under the above criteria is very conditional – their ideology is described with the help of such oxymorons as “center-rightists with a left bias”.

The most modest in terms of population and economic weight, the country of the four – Slovakia – is perhaps the least consistent with the stereotypes: it is the only state in the Visegrad Group that uses the euro as a monetary unit. The majority in the parliament is with the Social Democrats who are members of the Socialist International. This, however, did not prevent the Slovaks from enacting a law that effectively prohibits Islam. And that is a very dangerous trend for the further possible racism.

It is worth noting that populism is gaining strength not only in the Visegrad. In recent years, populist parties have taken a high bar in Greece, Italy, Estonia, Bulgaria and other countries. The number of their supporters is increasing in almost all EU countries, however, as noted by Philip Marler – a political scientist at University College London, the traditional parties are in a difficult situation, not only in the east of association, but also in the “Grand”: Germany, France and Spain.

According to him, traditional parties will be forced to pay attention to the problems that the electorate really cares about, and thus to seize some of the populist agenda. This will lead to change, but, he believes, “changes are necessary if the EU wants to survive.”

Among other things, the populist group differs from the rest of Europe in its attitude towards Russia: the delegation of the German – “Alternative for Germany” visited Crimea, Italian populists have long opposed anti-Russian sanctions. The friendly relations between Viktor Orban and Vladimir Putin have been known for a long time, and Austria even refused to expel Russian diplomats, despite British pressure.

At possible changes in the EU, there is a young face and impressive ears – Sebastian Kurtz, 31-year-old Federal Chancellor of Austria, intends to solve the problem that is splitting the European Union.

“It is clear that in recent years many mistakes have been made in the migration policy. Unlimited migration – the cause of many of the problems we are facing now, why the federal government wants to correct the mistakes of recent years “, – he said after the trial of an Afghan-drug courier who attacked passers-by in the street and wounding four people.

Even before his appointment to the main position, Austria and Croatia teamed up with the Visegrad Group in the so-called Central European Defense Cooperation, whose purpose is to control migration problems.

With the coming to power of Kurtz and the victory in the parliament of the coalition of nationalist parties, the upcoming Austrian presidency in the EU has successfully coincided. The chancellor plans to devote the period of maximum strengthening of his power to a rethinking of the EU’s migration policy. Kurtz is in a friendly relationship with Viktor Orban and believes that it is useless to discuss quotas for the distribution of migrants, because the Visegrad Four will never agree with them. In his plans – the creation of a new system, the priority of which will be the return of refugees to Africa and the cessation of illegal immigration as such.

British political scientist Matthew Goodwin, observing the latest events, says that within the European Union a new alliance is being formed – with a fundamentally different approach to migration issues. It is possible that sooner or later the economically strengthened visegraders will start playing the first violin in the European Union, and the notion of “European values” will change from the current to the diametrically opposite. Dangerous trends ahead.