31 October 2010
The rise of right-wing populist parties in Europe is discussed in this interview with the Austrian political scientist Reinhold Gärtner. In Gärtner’s opinion, Muslims and Islam have come to be the main scapegoats in many European countries, just as Jews or Roma have been in the past. The juxtaposition of criminality, immigration, and Muslims appeals to peoples’ fears, though there is certainly a limit to this appeal.
Nonetheless, there is no single recipe for dealing with these parties. In Switzerland and Italy, integrating them into the government seems to have worked to a certain degree. Meanwhile, the case of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) and its spell in government shows how this participation can also fail, as the party finds that the easy solutions which it preaches do not exist.