This paper considers the reactions of parties of the populist radical right (PRR) to Brexit. As defenders of their native cultures and national sovereignty, PRR parties are naturally Eurosceptic; they, for instance, distrust the drive towards supranationalism and lament the free movement of people within the single market. The British referendum vote was logically hailed by many PRR parties as a victory for ordinary people against unresponsive Europhile elites, a rejection of the undemocratic and technocratic decision-making process at the European level, and a shining example of a country regaining its sovereignty. Several demanded a similar referendum in their home countries. One would expect that the British referendum vote also became a source of inspiration for PRR parties’ national election campaigns. Based on an analysis of these parties’ discourses in the run-up to elections in the Netherlands, France, Germany and (ultimately) Italy, however, this paper will show a) that PRR parties have not made Brexit a central issue in their campaigns, and b) that they have not converged around hard-Euroscepticism in response to the British referendum vote.
Authors: Stijn van Kessel, Nicola Chelotti, Helen Drake, Juan Roch González, Patricia Rodi