What’s happening to Europe? The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was seen as a triumph for liberal democracy. True, the ‘end of history’ narrative didn’t play out across the world as many predicted. But in Europe political liberalism seemed unshakable, supported as it was by international business and transnational organisations such as the EU and NATO.
But now Europe stands at a precarious moment. Anti-establishment and anti-EU political parties are on the rise. Brexit and the presidency of Donald Trump add to the uncertainty. Europe seems to face a near near-constant threat of terrorist attacks. And while Marine Le Pen didn’t sweep to victory in the recent French presidential election, the new president Emmanuel Macron faces an uphill battle to fix the French economy and reform the EU’s institutions. If he fails, Le Pen could be well set to win the presidency in 2022.
How can we account for this surge of support for far-right and populist parties in Europe? Conventional wisdom has i