Radical parties on the left and the right of the political spectrum are rising in popularity across the EU with some in an increasingly strong position to take power in European countries from France and the Netherlands to Sweden, but the same trend is not apparent in Lithuania.
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

The migrant crisis and the possible British withdrawal from the union could plunge the European Union into a period of deeper political divisions and a more vigorous defence of national interests, according to analysts, in turn strengthening the position of radical parties.

However, in Lithuania political forces on the extreme right and left are standing at the brink of extinction and have almost no chance to getting representation in parliament, or at a local level on Lithuanian city councils.

Radical parties in Europe are united by two common denominators: euroscepticism and anti-immigration rhetoric, said Mažvydas Jastramskis, lecturer, political scientist at the Vilnius University Institute of International Relations and Political Science.

“If you would take these two criteria and put them in the Lithuanian context... we have almost no immigrants or refugees. You can create a problem out of whatever you want, but extreme right-wing parties build support based on a high level of migration,” Mr. Jastramskis said

As many as 38 current members of the European Parliament are from radical parties drawn from Denmark, Italy, Austria, Belgium, the UK, Poland and Romania.

Jastramskis said that even after the euro zone crisis and introduction of the euro, Lithuania as a nation remains one of the most optimistic and positive about the European Union.

"There are still conservative, moral issues, but the niche is well occupied. There are too many parties, too many politicians who are conservative in Lithuania, he said,

Analysts also pointed to a lack of significant ethnic minorities in Lithuania that would be usually used to fan support for more extreme parties.

In Lithuania, European political scientists consider MEP Rolandas Paksas‘s Order and Justice Party as the most successful party at propogating radical ideas.


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