European Union unable to handle crises, voters turn to nationalist right

Norbert Hofer the candidate for Austria’s Freedom Party, an established nationalist right party, received 36 percent of the vote in the first round of the Presidential elections in Austria. Mabel Berezin is professor of sociology at Cornell University and author of “Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times: Cultures, Security, and Populism in a New Europe” and “Europe Without Borders.” She says the appeal of the nationalistic right in Austria represents a Europe-wide trend.

Bio: http://www.soc.cornell.edu/people/faculty/berezin/

Berezin says:

“Why does it matter who runs Austria – a small middle European country – with a population of under nine million? The Austrian election is salient because it represents a trans-European trend of right nationalist parties rising to electoral salience and overcoming established parties.

“This trend and these parties have been around longer than standard newspaper accounts would have us believe. The political phenomenon is not new, what is new is the legitimacy that voters accord these parties when they flock to them in large numbers.

“The salience of these parties represent collateral damage that the triple crises – economic, migration and security – austerity, refugees and terror has brought to a European Union that is revealing itself as singularly unable to handle them.

“There are more European elections on the horizon, and no end in sight either to the crises that beset Europe or the appeal of the nationalist right.”

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