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Abstract

A mere look at electoral results on both the national and European level of many European countries shows that populist and right-wing parties’ support has been growing extensively. The French Front National (FN), which has made significant strides since Marine Le Pen took over the party’s leadership, is often seen as on the forefront of this movement, and is deemed to be a core part of the contemporary European extreme right. Although their individual agendas and rhetoric differ from that of the FN, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the German Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD) are often placed in the same party family. Disregarding this hotly debated terminology, however, this paper seeks to identify specific differences and overlaps among the three parties. Examining specific agenda points, most prominently their anti-immigration rhetoric and stance toward the EU, the party programs are used as a starting point to assess to what extent the three parties can justifiably be classified as part of an anti-globalization movement.

Prior to examining the parties’ positions concerning specific issues, an influx in immigration, increased integration into the European Union, resulting in a transfer of some national powers to the supranational level, as well as growing xenophobia, Islamophobia, and anti-Americanism have sometimes been identified as consequences of globalization; negative attitudes toward this development, increased nationalism, and policy proposals designed to halt these effects were deemed as highly indicative of a radical rejection of globalization. Following a comparative analysis of the three parties’ positions, the discussion shows that the French “Front National” fulfills the given criteria to a much greater extent than the other two, and its ethnic-based, Francocentric rhetoric is much more extreme than that of its counterparts. Nevertheless, a future radicalization in the UK and Germany is conceivable, particularly since Islamophobia is especially pronounced in the three countries under investigation, and as refugee crises in the Mediterranean Sea are leading to an increased foreign presence in said countries, perhaps sparking similar ethnic intolerance as is propagated by the FN.