In October, James Bartholomeusz represented the Project for Democratic Union at a capacity-building week on combating the far-Right, organised by the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
The Foundation, which is the affiliated think-tank of the German Green Party, brought together participants from a range of European countries to discuss the challenges posed by the rise of the far-Right. The participants were based at the Foundation’s office in Brussels, and took excursions to visit the European Green Party and the University of Antwerp to hear a variety of expert opinions.
The discussions covered a great deal of ground, including the role of the Eurozone crisis, fears over immigration and loss of cultural homogeneity, the anti-democratic and patriarchal aspects of far-Right ideology, and the failure of the EU to provide a common European vision and identity. James, who is British and of Sri Lankan descent, spoke about the recent surge of support for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in the context of migration flows and severe economic uncertainty. He also argued that the greatest immediate threat comes not from far-Right parties themselves but rather their tendency to infect mainstream political discourse with a form of xenophobic populism.
The participants will be producing a paper on their findings, due to be published early next year, and James will be collaborating on a separate piece on European identity. The PDU would like to thank the Heinrich Böll Foundation and we look forward to working on this issue further.
Image: ‘Jobbik manifestation Budapest’ courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.