The European Far Right Since COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has sent political shockwaves through Europe’s democracies. This panel will discuss how COVID-19 has affected the electoral fortunes of extreme right parties. In last month’s German elections, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) remained a small party in the Bundestag but grew stronger in some Eastern states. Marine LePen remains a strong contender for the French presidency in the runup to the spring election. While Sebastian Kurz fell from grace in Austria and Golden Dawn was banned in Greece, other far right parties like Salvini's Lega and the far-right Fratelli d'Italia in Italy remain strong. Anti-democratic leaders in Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia suggest that political extremism remains a threat in Central Europe. The far right seems to benefit from public opposition to COVID lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates as well as conspiracy theories on social media. At the same time, new East/West, North/South cleavages appear to be developing in Europe over migration and the rule of law. Three experts on illiberal tendencies in Europe will explore the political implications of the pandemic for the far right. 


Mabel Berezin is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Europeans Studies at the Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University. She writes on challenges to democratic cohesion and solidarity in Europe and the United States. Berezin is the author of Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times: Culture, Security, and Populism in the New Europe (Cambridge 2009) and Making the Fascist Self: The Political Culture of Inter-war Italy (Cornell 1997). She is working on a manuscript The End of Security and the Rise of Populism under contract at Oxford University Press that examines the current global resurgence of nationalism and the populist challenge to democratic practice.

Giovanni Savino is Senior Lecturer in History at the School of Public Policy, RANEPA, Moscow. He has worked on nationalism and the far right in Russia and Italy, and he is known for his work on Russian–Italian far right connections. He teaches courses on the history of the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of political thought and European history.

Tommaso Vitale is Associate Professor of Sociology and Scientific Director of the Master "Governing the Large Metropolis" at Sciences Po (Paris, France). He is also a researcher at Centre d'études européennes, a member of the Comité de direction of the Institut Convergences MIGRATIONS (CNRS), and is co-coordinator of the research group "Cities, borders and (im)mobility" of the CEE. He has published books and articles in comparative political sociology and in comparative urban sociology. His research focuses on racism, housing discrimination, anti-minority right wing mobilizations, islamophobia, metropolitan governance of social policies towards ethnic minorities in European Cities. 


Hilary Silver is Professor of Sociology, International Affairs, and Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University. 

This event is on the record and open to the media. 

Zoom Link