The migrant crisis increasingly looks like it could break the EU, with euroskepticism on the rise as the crisis continues. The biggest news: The chances of a Brexit are up, with a poll by ICM putting support for leaving the EU at 40 percent, with 43 percent in favor of staying and 17 percent undecided. The poll gives the pro-union camp an edge—unlike the Survation poll earlier this month that found a majority of respondents favored leaving—but that lead has narrowed from 11 percent to just 3 percent. The uptick in support for a Brexit comes after a change in the way the poll question was worded, but the reason for the change appears to be the migrant crisis.
And the UK isn’t the only country seeing knock-on effects from the crisis. Euroskeptics are also picking up steam in Germany. We noted in yesterday’s newsletter that support for Germany’s far-right AfD party rose to 5.5 percent in a recent poll, even as Angela Merkel’s coalition was down to 40 percent approval, a loss of 1.5 percent. But today another poll shows that AfD is tied in Saxony with the SPD, a party that belongs to Merkel’s coalition. Both are polling at 13 percent in that region.
If you haven’t read it yet, Alina Polyakova’s latest feature for us is an excellent account of how far-right parties have benefited from the EU’s ineptitude:
And the migrant crisis convulsing Europe these days is only likely to strengthen the allure of the far-right’s pitch, even as Europe’s elites continue to remain obstinately deaf and blind to its appeal. “Our answer [to the migrant crisis] must be in line with our history and our values, in line with what Europe is about,” Europe’s Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said as hundreds of thousands of refugees poured into Euope. “To be European means to care about humanity and to care about human rights. […] When the world and Europe face such a drama, the answer should never be nationalistic. Never to close borders, never to renounce our values. Never.” Alas, fervently wishing for something does not make it so. Just yesterday, Germany “temporarily” exited the Schengen zone and started requiring passport checks on its border with Austria.
The far-right is licking its chops as the EU struggles to come up with a coherent response to the refugee crisis.