Austrias and Germanys European Policy: Between Pragmatism and Right-Wing Populism

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-8-54-64

V. Vasil'ev (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation 

Abstract. The article deals with problems of integration of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) and the “Alternative for Germany” Party (AfD) into the European system of parliamentarism and state governance. The analysis of the FPO participation in the Austrian government and of the AfD in Bundestag makes it possible to determine the degree of influence enjoyed by the right-wing populist parties on the policy in the fields of migration, security, EU defence as well as relations with Russia. The author has arrived at the conclusion that alliances between the conservatives and social democrats both in Austria and Germany are polarizing society, facilitate the strengthening of right-wing populists and the establishment of new nationalist-type parties. Particular attention is paid to the attempts taken by the right-wing populists in Austria and Germany to make an image of respectable parties with a pragmatic approach to the solution of topical problems. In so doing, public opinion is dangerously getting used to the incorporation of the right-wing populists in the traditional European system of governance. During the time preceding the 2019 elections to the European Parliament, the democratic parties stand a chance to mobilize the intellectual potential and human resources in order to counteract the right-wing forces. At the same time, the unpredictable character of the present international situation narrows down the potentialities for having a verified forecast of the consequences of confrontation between the pragmatism of traditional parties and their right-wing opponents. Moscow has been displaying a pragmatic approach to cooperation with the government of Austria, just like Berlin is appraising the work by the ministers of Chancellor S. Kurz on concrete issues. The experience of the AfD must not give illusions concerning its generally benign attitude to Russia. Parties in Germany, except the Left Party and a section of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, have supplied a different interpretation even to W. Brandt’s “Eastern” policy by asserting claims to Moscow. 

Keywords: Freedom Party of Austria, “Alternative for Germany” Party, German national-socialism, pragmatism, right-wing populism, European integration, Russia 


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For citation:
Vasiliev V. Austrias and Germanys European Policy: Between Pragmatism and Right-Wing Populism. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 8, pp. 54-64.

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