Extreme right is gaining ground in all of Europe, except for Wallonia
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    Extreme right is gaining ground in all of Europe, except for Wallonia

    "Islam, no thanks", anti-migrant march in Germany.

    Wallonia has all the ingredients for a breakthrough of right-wing and extreme-right political parties, but it is the only place in Europe where the right is not rising. Hungary, Poland, Switzerland and Italy are (co-) governed by moderate to extreme right-wing parties. In Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Norway, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Lithuania, the right-wing parties strongly support the government from within the Parliament, reports VRT NWS.

    Many other European countries have right-wing, far-right, right-wing nationalists or alt-right politicians with very high scores, from Marine Le Pen in France to Thierry Baudet in the Netherlands.

    In Flanders, the Flemish nationalist N-VA is the biggest party, and Vlaams Belang is getting high poll ratings as well. However, in Wallonia, the biggest party is the Socialist Party (PS).

    The Walloon Region has been underperforming in economic terms for years, and migration is as hot a topic in the South of Belgium as in the rest of Europe.

    Leuven University has been measuring Walloon and Flemish attitudes towards migrants for many years, based on four questions, but the answers do not differ much, according to political scientist and Wallonia expert Dave Sinderdat (VUB). “The Flemish and Walloon public opinion are not that different. There is also an electoral market for a hard discourse on migration and for law and order,” he said to VRT NWS.

    Rudy Aernoudt, who once founded the right-wing Parti Populaire (People’s Party), thinks it is because of the subsidies. “Everyone, employer and employee, has ever been helped by the socialists,” he said to VRT NWS. “Additionally, there is not a single right-wing figure to look up to who intends to take the Region to a higher level,” he added.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times