Mapped: Europe’s rapidly rising right

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The longstanding effort to keep extremist forces out of government in Europe is officially over.

For decades, political parties of all kinds joined forces to keep the hard-right far from the levers of power. Today, this strategy — known in France as a cordon sanitaire (or firewall) — is falling apart, as populist and nationalist parties grow in strength across the Continent.

Five EU countries — Italy, Finland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic — have hard-right parties in government. In Sweden, the survival of the executive relies on a confidence and supply agreement with the nationalist Sweden Democrats, the second-largest force in parliament. In the Netherlands, the anti-Islamic firebrand Geert Wilders is on the verge of power, having sealed a historic deal to form the most right-wing government in recent Dutch history.

Meanwhile, hard-right parties are dominating the polls across much of Europe. In France, far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s National Rally is cruising at over 30 percent, far ahead of President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party, according to POLITICO’s Poll of Polls. Across the Rhine, Alternative for Germany, a party under police surveillance for its extremist views, is polling second, head-to-head with the Social Democrats.

As we approach next month’s European Parliament election, these parties may use their momentum to form a powerful political bloc — if they can maintain their unity.

A hard-right party is defined for the purposes of this article as a member of the two pan-European umbrella parties on the furthest right of the political spectrum, or the European Parliament groups with the same name.

These include the nationalist European Conservatives and Reformists party, dominated by the Brothers of Italy party and Poland’s Law and Justice party, and the far-right Identity and Democracy party, whose members include France’s National Rally (and contained Alternative for Germany before it was expelled on Thursday following a series of scandals). Hungary’s Fidesz party, which quit the center-right European People’s Party in 2021 amid concerns over democratic backsliding, is also included.


For more polling data from across Europe visit POLITICO Poll of Polls.