Ah, those were the days! It’s almost with nostalgia that we now remember the year 2000, when the European Union imposed sanctions against Austria after right-wing populists became part of its government.
Back then, France was one of the driving forces behind those sanctions. But now, the far-right has become the strongest political force in France itself after regional elections on Sunday, which saw the anti-immigrant, euro-skeptic National Front party surge ahead of the country’s more traditionally centerist parties in the wake of last month’s brutal terrorist attacks in Paris.
So what do we do now? We can no longer turn our backs in disinterest or disgust. For too long, the political and economic elites in both France and Germany did not take the National Front phenomenon seriously. This criminal impartiality is no longer sustainable. Instead, we must look closely at France and try to understand what is happening to our friends.