May 15 - From France's National Front to Hungary's Jobbik, far-right parties are expected to do well in the upcoming European parliament elections. Joanna Partridge reports on how high unemployment, austerity and sluggish growth offer fertile conditions for fringe parties.
A face that French and Europeans can expect to see a lot more of. Marine Le Pen's the leader of France's far-right National Front. She's grown the anti-immigration party founded by her father to unexpected levels, even if she's careful to avoid his anti-semitic comments. After success in French local elections, the National Front's predicted to come out on top in France in the upcoming European parliamentary elections. Le Pen's been an independent member of the European parliament for a decade, but wants to reclaim sovereignty from the EU. SOUNDBITE: Marine Le Pen, French National Front leader, saying (French): "Blocking all new transfers of sovereignty, refusing all new constraints imposed by the EU, refusing all new enlargement.You know, when an absurd machine is launched at great speed, the first thing to do to turn it around is to stop it." Euroscepticism is also resonating in the UK. SOUNDBITE: Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, saying (English): "We want our money back from Europe, we want our borders back, we want our country back." Nigel Farage and his UK Independence Party are expected to win the most British votes on May 22nd. SOUNDBITE: Unidentified male UKIP supporter, saying (English): "You're the best man to run this country. The rest of them are not saying anything." UKIP's popular, despite polls suggesting a quarter of voters see it as racist. But Farage has said he won't ally with the National Front due to anti-semitism in its ranks. Continued high unemployment, especially among young people, austerity and sluggish growth across Europe have created fertile conditions for fringe parties. Richard Hunter is from Hargreaves Lansdown. SOUNDBITE: Richard Hunter, Hargreaves Lansdown, saying (English): "We're certainly not back to pre-crisis levels in the majority of Europe, with the obvious exception of the likes of Germany, and inevitably that is going to have an impact on what people are thinking." A group of far-right parties are working as a bloc for the first time in the hope of building a Eurosceptic political group in the European parliament. France's National Front is working with the Freedom parties of Austria and the Netherlands, among others. There are advantages - such as grants - for official political groups in parliament. For that, they'd need a minimum of 25 members from seven states. The bloc also explicitly rejects xenophobic views, and says it wants nothing to do with ultra rightist parties like Hungary's Jobbik, or Greece's Golden Dawn. Some analysts forecast the group of anti-euro parties could capture 20% of seats in the European parliament - and a political force to be reckoned with.