Europeanization of the Radical Right?
Department of Sociology University of Leipzig Leipzig, Germany
There are two events that are representative of the current political situation of the extreme right in Europe: the founding of the first radical right European parliamentary group "Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty" (ITS) in the European Parliament in September, 2007 and its breakup just two months later. The project, in which all major ultra-nationalist parties were involved, shows their common desire to cooperate on the European level. The breakup of the ITS so shortly after its establishment, due to tension between the Romanian and Italian representatives relating to assaults on Romanians in Italy, illustrates the fragile base of such a cooperation. Several aspects culminated in this event and deserve to be examined more closely: the nationally diverse organizational and ideological traditions of the radical right and their ability (as well as the limits) to network on a transnational level. Above all, the radical right really took shape on a European level in its manifestation as the ITS.
Especially in the context of a globalization of a radical right-wing discourse, the question is whether this also leads to an alignment or harmonization of previously nationally diverse right-wing ideologies. The analysis of the central semantics of right-wing "definitions of the enemy" and their respective self-images can shed light into these developments. Which majority society semantics - and also semantics from other radical groups - does the radical right pick up on and refer to? Where are the overlapping points and where can clear lines of differentiation be drawn?
Starting with the right-wing European party debates and their common EU-faction, this paper works out the commonalities and differences among the different (parliamentary) right-wing groups in Europe. The basis of this analysis is the programs of the parties involved in the EU-faction as well as the members of the EU parliamentary faction "independence and democracy" (2004-2009).