On March 14 2013, I had the privilege to host the Greek Public Policy Forum’s fourth event in Strasbourg, during the European Parliament’s Plenary Session. The topic explored was ‘The Rise of Extremism in Europe’. This is a phenomenon I have been noticing with increasing alarm, one which puts the whole European project in jeopardy.
The Strasbourg forum discussed the causes and common patterns that lead to the rise of extremism, as well as its relation with the economic crisis. To analyse the patterns, the political party Golden Dawn and its staggering rise in popularity in Greece was used as the particular case study.
Around the same time as the panel took place in Strasbourg, racism and xenophobia was debated in the European Parliament. The same week, the Europeanist Jean-Claude Junker stated that ‘Europe’s nationalist demons have not been banished’. As I mentioned in my response to Mr Junker, it is the deteriorating economic circumstances that are driving the extremist tendencies we are witnessing in Europe. Necessity, not believe is what makes normal citizens turning to Golden Dawn. This party is seen as the only one who can help, the only one who is ‘doing something’ for the Greeks in these hard times.