Will the Far Right Take Over Europe in 2024?

Flemish farmers protest new proposed rules to reduce nitrogen emissions, in Brussels, on March 3, 2023.

Will the Far Right Take Over Europe in 2024?

Europe’s political system is about to undergo a massive change.

Farmers across Europe have spent the last two months blocking roads, driving their tractors into cities, and dumping manure on government buildings—all in revolt against the European Union’s leftist climate-change policies, cheap food imports, and support for Ukraine. The protests started in the Netherlands and Poland, but they have spread to more than 12 EU countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

The farmer protests are the latest show of the European people’s widespread dissatisfaction with their governments. With less than four months left until elections for European Parliament, one movement in particular is piggybacking on the outrage: the far right.

In addition to their stance on climate change, the opposition of most far-right parties to immigration, lgbtq rights, aid for Ukraine and the EU itself has made them popular alternatives to the mainstream in recent years.

“Far right” is not an ideal term. It implies a connection with Nazism and lumps together different parties with different political genealogies. But the broad trend across Europe is clear, and it’s the best term we have at the moment.

During the current five-year term of the European Parliament, far-right Georgia Meloni won the election in Italy, anti-immigration parties in both Finland and Sweden became part of their governments’ coalitions, and “extremist” far-right parties in Germany, France, Austria and Belgium have made unprecedented gains.

In Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, voters have never been so dissatisfied with a coalition, with only 1 in 5 saying they are doing a good job. Olaf Scholz’s current ruling coalition of the center-left Social Democrats, the Greens and the neoliberal Free Democrats is quickly losing favor in the polls.

“The coalition government must go,” one protester standing among the tractors told Politico. “When we look at the government’s policies, we see a lot of arrogance, ignorance and stupidity packed with ideology and still more stupidity.”

Meanwhile, the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is on the rise. Amid the failure of other parties, the AfD is becoming more extreme but also more accepted. It has already won smaller district council and mayoral elections, and it is expecting even bigger victories in 2024.

One of Germany’s neighbors saw such a victory in November. Fringe-right Party of Freedom leader Geert Wilders shocked Europe when he received nearly a quarter of all the votes in the Dutch elections. His “extremist” views against immigration and Islam are no longer unpopular.

French President Emmanuel Macron attempted to curb the rise of the fringe right in December by passing a controversial immigration bill that would make it easier to deport foreigners. “Our fellow citizens tell us we don’t control illegal immigration well enough,” he said on television. “This bill will help us fight against what feeds the National Rally.”

The opposite proved true. Marine Le Pen, leader of far-right party National Rally, claimed the bill as a “great ideological victory.” Seventy-three percent of the French believe Le Pen’s party inspired the bill, propelling her to lead current polls at 33 percent of the vote, more than 15 percent ahead of Macron’s party.

It seems that the rise of the far right is inevitable. Governments have to adapt to the movement or lose the people’s support.

On issues the far right sees as most important in Europe—immigration, crime committed by immigrants, the multicultural society, the Western debate on gender, more traditional views on families—many other parties have now adapted to their rhetoric. Far-right parties and their agendas have entered the mainstream. They are the new normal.
—Ann-Cathrine Junger, political scientist at Sweden’s Södertörn University

This trend is setting the stage for the highly anticipated EU-wide elections in June.

A forecast by the European Council on Foreign Relations said that anti-EU populists are likely to top the polls in nine member states (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia) and come second or third in another nine countries (Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden). “A populist right coalition of Christian democrats, conservatives and radical right meps could emerge with a majority for the first time,” it said.

Poll aggregator Europe Elects projects a gain of 35 seats for the Parliament’s right-wing Identity and Democracy group—home to far-right parties such as Germany’s AfD, France’s National Rally, the Dutch Party of Freedom and Austria’s Freedom Party. This would be the highest number of seats the group has ever had and make it the third-largest group in the European Parliament.

For a long time, a far-right EU has seemed impossible. The EU’s founders claimed it was created to destroy far-right nationalism. But 2024 could change that.

European Parliament spokesperson Jaume Duch noted that a shift to the right in the European Parliament is not so much an opportunity for those parties to destroy the EU but rather to transform it. “The parties that were previously practically supporters of leaving the European Union are now making other kinds of proposals that no longer involve leaving—because it’s very cold out there—but rather proposals that aim to adapt the European Union to how they consider it should be,” he said.

In September, we wrote in “Europe’s Altered Personality”:

To many of its supporters, the EU is the antidote to far-right nationalism. It is a multinational, globalist, progressive, left-wing project designed to destroy nationalism. It has been built by nations surrendering national sovereignty.

Europe’s far-right parties have generally been euroskeptic. But their Europe-wide success means that they now have a shot not necessarily at destroying the EU, but at remaking it.

While we cannot know for certain that the far right will take over the EU, Bible prophecy does indicate that Europe’s political system is about to undergo a radical transformation.

Late educator and religious leader Herbert W. Armstrong forecast such a transformation decades ago. “I have been proclaiming and writing ever since 1935 that the final one of the seven eras of the Holy Roman Empire is coming in our generation—a ‘United States of Europe,’ combining 10 nations or groups of nations in Europe—with a union of church and state!” he wrote in the January 1979 issue of our forerunner magazine, the Plain Truth.

Revelation 17 prophesies of this coming seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. The German Reich under Adolf Hitler was the sixth. This next empire will consist of 10 kings (verse 12), indicating that the EU will soon pare down to 10 nations or groups of nations. The rise of far-right movements in European countries that want to either leave or reshape the EU is a step in this direction.

However, history shows that a united Europe requires strong leadership supported by the people—something that is clearly lacking. In 1950, Mr. Armstrong said that Europe needs a “new supreme leader—the successor of Adolf Hitler—to rise up and assert himself and take command.” He delivered this warning for decades. Even in 1985, the last year of his life, he wrote, “There is yet another leader to arise in Europe!”

He based this on prophecies such as Daniel 8:23, which warns, “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” Together with Revelation 17, this describes the rise of one emperor ruling over 10 European kings.

The Trumpet has echoed this forecast of a massive change in European politics for decades. You can see how such a change occurred by looking back into history from less than a century ago.

The change in European politics is one of the most pivotal trends to watch. This soon-coming European empire and its powerful leader will shake the global order. But the Bible also shows that through this empire, God sends an important message about what He must do on Earth now so He can eventually set up a peaceful and prosperous world-ruling government through Jesus Christ.

To learn more about the coming changes in Europe’s leadership, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “Watch This Man Closely.”