The ENF crowd got into the news this weekend in Germany. ENF? It stands for the Europe of Nations and Freedom. It's an umbrella association of forty different political parties or agenda groups....who all lean right or far-right from across Europe.
Yeah, AfD of Germany is in the group. Other names you might recongize are the Northern League (Italy), National Front (France), Freedom Party (Austria), the Flemish Interest (Belgium), the Congress of the New Right (Poland), the UKIP (UK), and Party for Freedom (Netherlands).
For the weekend, a big meeting was held in Koblenz, which drew approximately 5,000 protesters....mostly peaceful (unlike the US protest crowd in DC).
Theme? Well....they most gave speeches and put the news media into the position of reporting on this....mostly in negative tones.
You have basically three elements at work in Europe which is drawing more attention to the right, and bringing in more votes.
1. Immigration woes or perception of no control.
2. EU skepticism has yet to peak, and with the next election in 2019....there is some worry that more than a quarter of the crowd there will be replaced by far-right membership....maybe even going up to one-third of the EU representatives.
3. Nationalism isn't considered a negative theme anymore.
Other than the speeches and letting the EU know that they aren't backing off....there's not much else gained by this weekend. To some degree, they are all playing off elections now, and any boost on their polling numbers....helps other groups in different states suggest a public acceptance of the right.
The middle of the road center-right folks? They aren't generally seen as right-wing anymore. Political organizations like the CDU or CSU of Germany are looked upon as centralists (I would have my doubts saying that for the CSU of Bavaria). France Arise is mostly considered a centralist-right party.
The centralist groups were the only acceptable right-leaning political parties in existence for decades in Europe. What changed? I think the internet, social media, and YouTube helped to form a clear message and brought various groups to focus on message content that garnered public support. This 'rebirth' of the right-wing politics wouldn't have been able to occur in the 1980s.
A peak? No, there is yet to be seen any type of peak....within any country of Europe.
Mostly what you can expect over the next month or two is for the state-run/public-TV news crowd to center on the group, their speeches from the weekend, and pronounce some fascist threat to democracy.....while cutting and pasting bits and pieces of the speeches in the background, with some scary classical music in the background (I'd suggest Marschner's Der Vampyr, Bartok's Adagio with strings, or Totentanz by Liszt). Throw in some special graphics, some chit-chat by worried theologians, and you'd have a first-class left-winger hype show.
Left-wing versus right-wing? Yeah, it's more or less sizing up as such.
The odd thing is that you can now go to various countries and find that more than fifty percent of the general public has a lack of trust in the news media (it doesn't matter if you talk print-media, internet-media, or the TV-crowd). If they don't believe in the message being conveyed.....it lessens any attachment to normal or what was regular politics, and that means something of a revolutionary nature is underway, in numerous countries.
Perhaps I harp too much on the Jon Gnarr-effect out of Iceland, but when the general public reaches a stage where politics and journalism are seen as a joke....then electing real jokers into public office isn't such a big deal.
So, when you hear ENF mentioned as some dire threat to the democracy of Europe....you can guess where this news topic is going with the story.