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Last Updated: Friday, 28 June, 2002, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Flirting with Fascism

Far-right parties are already in national government in Austria, Italy, the Netherlands and in Denmark, and while they encompass a variety of styles, they all oppose immigration.

These parties play on people's insecurities - such as fears of unemployment, rising crime and losing their own distinctive identities.

And by linking these fears with high levels of immigration, the far and populist right is mounting a powerful challenge to the centrist consensus that has ruled most of Continental Europe since the end of the Cold War.

But do they have more in common beyond their opposition to immigration?

While the mainstream parties find it impossible to admit to what seems to be a deep undercurrent of fear and suspicion of outsiders in Europe, they have quietly taken on board some of the populist agenda and translated it into new, restrictive immigration laws - most notably in Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark.

In turn, the European Union is coming under pressure and taking a tougher line on immigration was the number one topic at the recent EU summit in Seville.

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto asks why voters are so discontented that they are willing to flirt with fascism and what the consequences might be for democracy in Europe.

Presenter: Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
Producer: Ingrid Hassler
Editor: Nicola Meyrick


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04 Jul 02  |  Analysis


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