How populist and xenophobic movements in the EU tear apart European businesses and startups

bienkowska-nato

Participation of Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Member of the EC, in the NATO-Industry Forum 2016. Date: 09/11/2016 Reference: P-032867/00-05 Location: Brussels – Palais d’Egmont, © European Union , 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lukasz Kobus

Exclusively written for the Sting by Mr João Malhadeiro, a young entrepreneur affiliated to the European Confederation of Junior Entreprises (JADE). The opinions expressed within reflect only the writer’s views and not The European Sting’s position on the issue.

Europe’s values and ideologies are under serious threat. Everyday, they are being challenged by the rise of intolerance, racism, xenophobia and violence all across Europe. Speeches and polices of hatred that would have been unacceptable a few years ago, are becoming more and more uninhibited and popular in the political debate.

When we look at the problem, one name arises at the surface: the right wing popularism and extremist parties and movements. Although they may demonstrate different degrees of aggressiveness, the main similarity between all this ideologies is the racist and xenophobic rethoric. Far right populists and extremists try to present themselves as the real representatives of the people, voicing the problems that citizens face and expressing their dissatisfaction with the current state of play.

The main target of the racist and xenophobic speech: the migration flows and refugees that arrive to Europe every day, trying to escape to the horrors of the war in their countries. However, they end up in another horror show. We have reached a stage where dissimulation is no longer necessary and xenophobic, discriminatory and even racist ideas can be expressed freely and without being reprehended.

Issues such as the economic crisis, migration, globalisation and ultimately the idea of a united  Europe  are  used,  misused  and  misrepresented. Recently, Brexit was the main proof that it’s easy to blame the migration flows and that this kind of advertising receives attention from the population. However, when we look on the other side, we can also see that European businesses and startups got scared of Brexit.

Once London was considered one of the most important centers of business in Europe. Today, we can see the end of the Entrepreneurial London. The city was seen as the ideal place to be in contact with global talent and global markets, mainly because of its vibrancy and that was partly due to the variety of people from different nationalities that mix ideas and skills there.

However, Brexit was just the beginning, but it can create a colossal domino effect. When you look around Europe, we can see that the extreme parties are starting to control the politics in countries like France, the Netherlands, Sweden or Austria. So what’s next? How can entrepreneurs and startups grow up in countries where they are suffocated by the racist and xenophobic propaganda? Every day, these ideas are getting more and more supporters and at the same time we have an European (Dis)Union that is not capable of dealing with the migration crisis, as well as, the growth of the erupean right wing.

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