Varieties of Right-Wing Extremism in Europe by Varieties of Right-Wing Extremism in Europe (2013)

Varieties of Right-Wing Extremism in Europe by Varieties of Right-Wing Extremism in Europe (2013)

Author:Varieties of Right-Wing Extremism in Europe (2013)
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 1181043
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group

The Front National

By contrast with the FPÖ, the FN shows much more continuity in the content of its approach to the EC/EU, which tends to be dominated by political arguments. Anti-communism was, until the 1980s, the FN’s prime raison d’être, and the EC (or any other form of European project) was seen as the best means of protection against potential assaults from the USSR (Hainsworth 2004). Yet, while this threat was deemed a sufficient justification for the development of a defence component to the EC, the FN of the mid-1980s still put forward a model of integration based on cooperation, not integration, which was valid beyond the field of defence, and was symptomatic of their overall perception of acceptable routes for the development of European integration.

From 1989 onwards, issues of immigration and border control prevailed in the FN’s discourse towards the EC/EU, but the tension between national and European borders remained, in the main, unresolved. Thus, in 1997, the FN called for a ‘renegotiation of the treaties’ and for a rejection of Maastricht and Schengen. Yet, paradoxically, given that the role of Schengen is also to provide for European borders, it also called for ‘the reinforcement of European borders against third world immigration’ (FN 1997: 4). The same unresolved tension is found with respect to the existence of a European citizenship, particularly where it involves the granting of voting rights in local and European elections to EU nationals residing in other member-states. This is not, however, wholly related to the development of the EU, but rather is used to reinforce the FN’s anti-immigration rhetoric: the manifesto for the 2004 European election thus strongly opposed the concept of a European citizenship, not only because of the perceived outcome of the erosion of the primacy of French sovereignty and citizenship, but also because, according to the FN, it would lead to the naturalization of immigrants.

Within this primacy of political issues, however, there was a notable change in 2004, as the FN shifted towards a focus on more ‘real’ European issues. Thus, while the manifestos after 1989 were almost solely oriented towards issues such as immigration or law and order – the mainstays of the FN’s national campaign discourse but presented with a European gloss – the 2004 manifesto suddenly shifted to a much more serious focus on attributes of the EU, most visibly with respect to the role and actions of European institutions.

By contrast with political factors, economic factors tend to be approached through a moderately less negative lens. Most of the economic references are to issues over which the EU has little power: in other words, the FN ‘Europeanizes’ its campaign themes also for economic factors. This included in particular employment policy and welfare provision, for which the FN sometimes advocated a form of ‘European preference’, reserving access not only to French nationals but also to citizens of other member-states. Protectionism is mentioned recurrently, the FN being in favour of a ‘European protectionism’, a European free-trade area in agriculture, trade and


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