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The rise of the far-right in Europe has become more popular but not more powerful, with recent events in Germany, Slovakia, and the Netherlands highlighting the dangerous nature of this movement. The upcoming European elections are expected to see the far-right and very conservative right parties garnering about 22% of the vote. This indicates that the far-right is now a fixture on the political scene in the West, reminiscent of the troubled times of the 1920s.

In Ireland, a recent event discussed the rise of the far-right in the country, which has been traditionally untroubled by such issues. However, immigration and far-right ideologies have now become live issues in Irish politics, leading to violence against immigrants and politicians. The far-right poses a threat to democracies by sapping energy and momentum, and promoting homophobia, misogyny, racism, and intimidation as core behaviors.

To diminish the allure of the far-right, governments, policymakers, and citizens can focus on four key areas. Firstly, addressing the shortage of housing and shelter for both immigrants and natives in tight housing markets across Europe is crucial. Secondly, framing the political narrative around the far-right and addressing sudden socio-economic changes caused by globalization shifts is essential. Engagement with younger people through arts and sports to prevent them from succumbing to violent behavior associated with the far-right is also important.

Additionally, external factors such as Russia and China undermining Western democracies, the impact of social media on younger voters, and politicians like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson vandalizing democracy need to be addressed. The aftermath of Brexit has shown that a lurch towards far-right politics, as seen in Rishi Sunak’s policies, does not pay off. Britain’s experience with Brexit may serve as a lesson for other countries, and the upcoming possibility of a center-left government in the UK may be a positive outcome.

In conclusion, the increasing presence of the far-right in Europe poses a threat to democracies and values. Efforts to combat the allure of the far-right must focus on resource allocation, addressing the political narrative, engaging with younger generations, and tackling external factors. The lessons learned from events like Brexit and the rise of far-right politics in Europe should serve as a warning for other countries to prevent the spread of harmful ideologies and behaviors.

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