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    What's Driving Europe's Changing Political Landscape?

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    Across Europe, far-right and populist groups are on the rise, signaling a significant change in what Europeans want. Although these groups have historically had some supporters, we are now seeing a sharp increase in the level of influence these political parties and groups possess. This is largely because of the failure of alternatives.

    The influx of refugees into Europe is one of the main driving forces, which is shifting more and more people rightwards on the political spectrum. Millions have entered Europe in the past couple of years, with the bulk of them living in Germany. Greece and Sweden also house a significant number of migrants.

    Refugees and migrants, most of them Afghans, block the entrance of the refugee camp at the disused Hellenikon airport as police officers try to disperse them, in Athens, Greece, February 6, 2017
    © REUTERS / Alkis Konstantinidis
    Refugees and migrants, most of them Afghans, block the entrance of the refugee camp at the disused Hellenikon airport as police officers try to disperse them, in Athens, Greece, February 6, 2017

    In late 2015, the Czech Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, described the colossal number of refugees entering Europe as an "organized invasion." He also added that young, healthy refugees (Syrians and Iraqis) should be fighting terrorism in their own countries, not flocking to Europe. These views are shared by some Europeans, as the presence of groups such as Deash in Syria and Iraq is also a direct threat to Europe's security. 

    It is easy to see why such a huge spike in the number of migrants entering Europe is causing resentment. Many European nations were already struggling to provide adequate levels of core public services, such as healthcare, and an increase in net migration will inevitably worsen the situation.

    Several European countries, such as Sweden, are also facing a chronic housing crisis, with demand for property far outstripping supply. This is pushing rent and house prices up, making property ownership a dream for many. It seems that the majority of European politicians (currently in office) are more concerned with political correctness, than ensuring that their citizens have access to basic services.

    YouTuber Angry Foreigner, regularly discusses the current political and economic challenges Sweden is facing. He describes himself as "the unofficial ambassador for Sweden" on his channel. I asked him about the changing political situation in Sweden. 

    "In the case of Sweden, the Sweden Democrats have been the only alternative for people who want to decrease immigration, and believe in assimilation. I'm not exaggerating. Literally, all other parties in parliament have promoted high immigration and multiculturalism for years on end, up until very recently where they decided to copy a few of the Sweden Democrats' ideas, because they've finally understood what the people want. But why would people vote for an imitation when they can have the real deal? I don't necessarily support the Sweden Democrats, but I certainly understand their appeal," he told Sputnik.

    Regarding British politics, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has been growing in recent years, receiving a sizeable chunk of votes in the most recent parliamentary election. However, because of the UK's first-past-the-post electoral system, they hold relatively few seats in parliament. Despite this, the party has almost achieved its primary objective; removing the UK from the European Union.

    Lawrence Webb, UKIP group leader at Havering Council, provided Sputnik News with a statement regarding the evolving political situation in Europe, specifically, the UK.

    "The media are still stuck in the age of linear politics and seem only able to discuss things in terms of left and right; and it is that failing which has lead them to not understanding the rise in populism. From an early age, we are conditioned to do as we are told. First it is our parents who tell us to eat over-boiled rank cabbage because it is good for us, now it is the ruling elite who tell us we must swallow mass immigration and multiculturalism, because that too is good for us," Lawrence Webb said.

    "When we were young we did not have enough information to dispute these parental 'facts'; and so, it was twenty years ago, with the mantras of the ruling elite. However now people are able to get their information from an ever increasing and wider variety of sources and no longer accept those false narratives. And while the same lies continue to be pedaled by the elites across the globe, people will seek out those who represent their experiences and view of the world, hence the rise of populism."

    "We after all are supposed to live in a democracy where the will of the majority is the one that should prevail. Brexit has shown the silent majority that their voice can be heard and as any parent can tell you, once their children start talking, it can sometimes be impossible to stop them."

    The majority of supporters of such groups aren't opposed to mass migration because they dislike the migrants, although this will inevitably be the case sometimes. The increasing opposition to mass migration is due to the negative impacts it has on its host country; strain on public services, and in some cases, an exponential increase in rape, and other crimes.

    Needless to say, this serves to benefit political parties and pressure groups who are pushing for harsher immigration controls, even if their other policies aren't necessarily to the liking of their new supporters.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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    alternative media, European borders, influx, far-right groups, populism, migrant crisis, nationalism, economic crisis, society, integration, refugees, immigration, Sweden Democrats party, UK Independence Party (UKIP), European Union, Sweden, Germany, Europe, Middle East, Greece
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