The Agenda

Dani Rodrik’s Strange Juxtaposition

Dani Rodrik has a column on how tensions within the eurozone are threatening European integration, which includes the following passage:


It is the extreme right that has benefited most from the centrists’ failure. In Finland, the heretofore unknown True Finn party capitalized on the resentment around eurozone bailouts to finish a close third in April’s general election. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom wields enough power to play kingmaker; without its support, the minority liberal government would collapse. In France, the National Front, which finished second in the 2002 presidential election, has been revitalized under Marine Le Pen.

Nor is the backlash confined to eurozone members. Elsewhere in Scandinavia, the Sweden Democrats, a party with neo-Nazi roots, entered parliament last year with nearly 6% of the popular vote. In Britain, one recent poll indicated that as many as two-thirds of Conservatives want Britain to leave the European Union.

One gets the impression that Rodrik believes that there is some meaningful similarity between the Sweden Democrats and British Conservatives who believe that Britain should leave the European Union while remaining part of the EEA and EFTA. He might have also added that many supporters of the Labour Party have the same view. There is nothing intrinsically “extreme” about believing that Britain, and other members of the European Union, would be best served by leaving the union and abandoning its implicit goal of ever closer political integration.


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