European Voters Signal Shift as Nationalist Parties Gain Ground in EU Elections


European leaders, we are told, worry that their relationship with the United States could face instability if former President Donald Trump is reelected and adopts an America-first stance, rather than one aligned with the priorities of Europe’s ruling parties.

Those European leaders should pay attention to their own constituents. Following the European Parliament elections last weekend, it’s clear European voters desire changes similar to those proposed by Trump.

Approximately 360 million voters in 27 European countries headed to the polls, filling 720 seats in the continent-wide body that has the power to approve or amend European Union regulations and approve trade agreements.

The center-right European People’s Party, which has dominated the EU for a generation, maintained a solid majority in the legislature. However, several nationalist parties gained ground while leftist parties, such as the Greens, faltered.

Many news outlets and political participants label nationalist parties as “extreme” or “far right” without substantiating that clear attempt at denigration. While the parties differ from country to country, they share a profound dissatisfaction with the acceptance of millions of immigrants from around the world. It’s not just the financial burden of public benefits for immigrants that frustrates taxpayers, nor merely the aggravation of migrant populations often being allowed to break laws with impunity, undermining public peace. There’s also the refusal of these immigrants, often encouraged, to assimilate into the cultures of their new homes.

Polling on the day voting began indicated that “immigration and asylum seekers” were the third-highest concern for voters across Europe. The issue held even more weight in countries where nationalist parties performed best. In France, where Marine Le Pen’s National Rally more than doubled the vote of President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party, immigration was the second most pressing issue, just behind the economy. In Germany, where the Alternative for Germany party outpaced Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party, immigration was the top concern.

European voters are dissatisfied, even furious, with the immigration policies imposed on them by their ruling classes. If these supposedly centrist parties aim to “save democracy,” a claim they frequently make, they should heed the democratic demand of their voters to significantly reduce immigration from foreign cultures.

The problem European leaders face regarding immigration mirrors that of the Democratic Party in the U.S. Open borders activists have persuaded leaders that advocating any limits on immigration is inherently racist and therefore morally unacceptable.

However, controlling a nation’s borders is not inherently racist. In fact, it’s a moral duty in a democracy for citizens to decide who may enter their country and who may not. Asserting control over a border is a primary duty of a nation-state. A functional political community cannot include the entire world; it requires limits and control over who can join it.

It doesn’t help that many immigrants entering Europe and the U.S. reject Western values. By entering illegally, they inherently reject any commitment to law and order. Moreover, as protests on both sides of the Atlantic show, they do not share our commitment to supporting democracies under attack from terrorist regimes.

Contrary to rhetoric suggesting international migration is driven by poverty, the opposite is true: As countries with weaker economies than ours grow wealthier, their populations become able to see how much wealthier we are and travel here to enjoy the wealth we’ve created. Until European and Democratic Party leaders acknowledge that migration must be limited, expect more victories for so-called “extreme” parties that accept this obvious truth.

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