2

Do Europeans Really Fear Migrants?

LONDON – Far-right parties are set to make substantial gains in the upcoming European Parliament election. Though analysts differ on whether this populist wave is fleeting, whether it will seriously harm European Union policymaking, and whether it will be sustained in national elections, they tend to agree on at least one thing: support for such parties is often grounded in anti-migrant sentiment. Appearances and received wisdom, however, can deceive.

Populism takes many forms, and the logic of its success varies from place to place. But economic discontent (often associated with the euro), anger at the political establishment, the resurgent appeal of nationalism, and negative sentiment toward the EU are all recurring themes, whether it be in the United Kingdom, France, Hungary, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, or Denmark.