marin22_Jens SchlueterGetty Images_afdprotest Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

The Resistible Rise of Germany’s Far Right

As nationalist parties gain power across Europe, Germany’s own populist surge has remained confined to its deindustrialized east. This is because the country has benefited more from globalization than other developed countries – and it could benefit from deglobalization as well.

MUNICH – The recent elections in Sweden and Italy have shown that right-wing populism remains on the rise across Europe. Not so in Germany, where the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has had only modest success so far.

One possible explanation for Germany’s resistance to the populist surge is that, unlike far-right parties that have gained ground elsewhere in Europe, globalization played only a minor role in AfD’s rise. The party became an electoral force long after globalization peaked in Germany, and its successes have mostly been confined to the states in former East Germany.

Before AfD emerged in 2013 as an anti-euro and anti-Greek-bailout party, Germany had no successful right-wing populist movement. Given that trade as a share of GDP had already been stagnating since the 2008 financial crisis, the party quickly shifted its focus to xenophobia and anti-immigrant policies.

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