A European identity: too much to hope for?
Martinez, Matthew G.
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Right-wing political parties are nothing new to Europe. However, there has been a rise and revitalization among far-right populist parties across Europe over the past two decades. This development does not appear to be a flash in the political pan but a manifestation of deeper trends. Contributing factors include perceived and actual economic hardships, anti-immigrant sentiments, and perceived loss of autonomy under the European Union’s umbrella. This thesis analyzes Europe’s flirtations with populist parties and the current state of extreme right-wing parties in politics today. Specifically, it analyzes the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party to determine what the implications are for the success of a European identity becoming the normal status quo—and the consequences if it fails. The thesis concludes that should the extreme right parties continue in their successes, the EU would change radically or even disintegrate, with security implications for the United States. Specifically, if UKIP and AfD are influential in having Britain or Germany exit the EU, the European project of forging a common European identity among EU citizens would be a catastrophic failure and a notable problem for U.S. security, which relies on a stable, prosperous, and unified Europe.
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