EU’s waffling on climate goals is allowing far-right to piggyback to power

(EurActiv, 13 Feb 2024) To stop the far-right piggybacking to power this year, the EU must stop giving ground on hard-won climate rules, writes Isabel Schatzschneider.

Isabel Schatzschneider is a Research Associate at the Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen-Nüremberg. She is an environmental activist and commentator on EU environment policy.

Europe is now facing the depressing sight of the far-right hitching a ride to power – on the back of a tractor, ridden by a raging farmer.

Populist parties such as France’s National Rally and the Alternative for Germany are on the rise as they piggyback on farmer protests gripping Brussels ahead of an EU-wide election in June.

The right wingers have hitched their climate change-denying wagons to farmers’ violent protests over excessive costs, environmental policies and what they see as excessive bureaucracy – successfully bellowing that climate change policy is antithetical and poses a threat to the European concept of liberty.

After all, this is what sells.

From Italy to Sweden, figures show the far-right is dominating thanks to its traditional playbook: using hot-potato issues including migration to sow a malicious agenda that burrows into its growing bases’ unfounded fears, which then blossom into brutally harmful misinformation and hatreds.

Opposition to immigration, Islam, and the EU were what united Europe’s far-right parties for decades – but now new causes have emerged for them to capitalise on, from the culture wars to minority rights and now the EU’s farming crisis.

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EurActiv, 13 Feb 2024: EU’s waffling on climate goals is allowing far-right to piggyback to power