Though a number of countries on the continent have had concerted movements to secede from the EU, only in Britain have those beliefs received political oxygen to both be placed on a ballot, and win in a referendum.
Since the 2016 vote, Brexit has dominated the political scene, producing the resignation of two Prime Ministers, two general elections and a failed vote of no-confidence.
However, Shafqat is “concerned” with the methods used by those who advocated for the U.K. to leave the EU.
“The rhetoric often used by parties such as UKIP has been very anti-immigrant, very Islam- ophobic,” she said.
Brigui also said that the rise in populism in Britain has led to an increase in racial tensions and discrimination from certain political parties.
“Now you have the rise of the English Christian Party, what you call nationalist parties, generally on the far right. I think those are the biggest [where] the racial tensions overbuild,” he said.
De Taurines said that populist parties have increased influence in the U.K. as a result of Brexit.
“People like Nigel Farrage of the Brexit party have used incorrect facts to stir up emotions that were negative towards immigrants and towards the EU,” he said. “Eventually that gave them the referendum, and we’re still seeing the repercussions today.”
Brigui said that although he does not believe in open borders, he feels as though extreme populist parties are dangerous.
“[Populism] hinders actual critical solutions because I do think [immigration] is an issue in society,” he said.
Around the EU, parties like Alternative for Germany have gained support. For more information on European populism, visit standard.asl.org for exclusive online content.