Europe′s right-wing euroskeptics laud Brexit decision | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 24.06.2016

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Europe's right-wing euroskeptics laud Brexit decision

As the EU comes to terms with the UK's impending Brexit, Brussels must now brace itself for similar referendums across the EU. The decision has been praised as a victory by nationalists and euroskeptics across Europe.

The UK has voted and a decision has been made. Some 52 percent of the eligible electorate voted in favor of a Brexit in Thursday's referendum.

Casting the immediate political and economic implications aside, the main fear now for many European capitals is that the result is likely to fire up eurosceptic populists across the bloc, triggering a domino effect of referendums in other countries and in turn threatening the core of the European project.

Arguably the most immediate risk is France, where right-wing leader Marine Le Pen has already dubbed herself "Madame Frexit."

The National Front (FN) leader hailed the UK's decision to leave the European Union on Friday and called for a similar referendum in France within hours of the Brexit vote being announced.

"Victory for Freedom! As I have been asking for years we must now have the same referendum in France and EU countries," the National Front (FN) leader tweeted.

The euroskeptic, anti-immigration FN has repeatedly accused the EU of suffering a "democratic deficit" and has long urged all members of the bloc to follow Britain's example.

Le Pen also claimed the EU is responsible for high eurozone unemployment and has accused to union of failing to keep out "smugglers, terrorists (and) economic migrants."

In the Netherlands, which, like France, is one of the EU's six founding members, nationalist Dutch MP Geert Wilders also praised the victory of the UK's Brexiteers. The founder and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) vowed that if he becomes prime minister next year, "there will be a referendum in the Netherlands on leaving the European Union."

"Let the Dutch people decide!" Wilders said.

In Germany, Friday's Brexit results were also welcomed by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The right-wing, populist party has seen a surge in support in recent months with opinion polls suggesting that the AfD now holds between 12 percent and 14 percent of public support nationwide.

Their strong gains have coincided with the arrival of 1.1 million migrants in Germany last year, as well as the renewed debate on Islam in Germany. The AfD now holds seats in eight of the country's 16 state parliaments - and looks on course to claim national representation in next year's general elections.

Co-party leader Frauke Petry tweeted on Friday:

Beatrix von Storch, an MEP for the AfD, also welcomed the Brexit. The right-wing populist was recently expelled from here European Parliament party over comments regarding "shooting refugees" at the EU's borders.

Tweeting her support for the Brexit on Friday, von Storch said the Brits had "done Europe a great service with their sovereign decision."

Despite having urged Britain to remain in the EU ahead of Thursday's referendum, Hungary is also a likely candidate to loosen their ties with their European partners.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has garnered a reputation for his skepticism of Brussels, having previously being caught on camera greeting head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker with "Hello dictator." A referendum in Hungary, however, would be more likely question Brussels' authority rather than question Hungary's membership in the bloc.

Watch video 26:03

The Rise of Populism - A Threat to Europe?

Skeptic Scandinavians

Euroskeptism in Scandinavian countries is also likely to enjoy riding the Brexit wave. Much of the hostility towards Brussels has been fueled by the ongoing migration crisis. With a population of less than 10 million, Sweden alone received some 160,000 asylum seekers last year - more than any other EU nation per capita.

Amid the growing resistance to the high numbers of arriving refugees, the nationalist and anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party has slowly become a more prominent figure on the Swedish political stage.

In neighboring Finland, the ultra-nationalist True Finns party has also seen a surge in popularity, winning almost 20 percent of the vote in the 2015 election.

The Danish People's Party (DF) also called for popular vote on Friday. The anti-immigration party is not in the Danish government, although its provides necessary support to the center-right cabinet. The opposition Red-Green alliance also called for a vote.

Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen rejected the calls, but acknowledged that Brexit raised the possibility of a "slimmer EU".

"We belong in the EU," Rasmussen told reporters. "I do not foresee that there will be a situation in the future where we need to take a break with that."

This week, an opinion poll showed 59 percent of Danes opposed to a British-style referendum, while 33 percent were in favor of a vote.

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