Dark clouds have been hovering over Europeans who believe in an integrated, tolerant and open continent. First came Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June, followed by Donald Trump’s election. Nationalists and right-wing populists seemed to be on the march. And Europhiles looked nervously ahead to a string of elections in 2017, any one of which could herald the moment when the European project began to unravel for good.
And the far right’s influence isn’t felt only at the voting booth. Derogatory language once unthinkable in a union shaped by its experiences during World War II are now commonplace. The second biggest party in the Netherlands is led by a man who has called people of Moroccan origin “scum.” Violent attacks by far-right extremists are on the rise. Germany reported nearly 10 hate crimes a day against migrants and refugees in 2016.