Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Political Science (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jamie Scalera


This paper will investigate and analyze the rise of the far right movement’s influence and legitimacy in European Union (EU) states. The far right movement has been characterized by its nationalism, nativism, and skepticism of global and regional integration. In Europe the global financial crisis of 2008 and the current European immigration crisis have shaken public faith in EU integration efforts and led to the legitimization of far right political movements that previously represented a bare minority in political discourse. The expansion of such movements has led to massive policy shifts throughout Europe, such as the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU in 2016. In this paper, I analyze the conditions that have led to the recent rise of far right movements to determine whether Europe may be experiencing a temporary political phenomenon or a more substantial break from previous policies of international integration and liberalism. I examine the cases of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom to determine how far right parties achieve electoral and policy success by capitalizing on issue salience and party platform flexibility. My findings have important implications for the future influence of these movements in national politics and in the EU.