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People protesting against Italy’s COVID-19 Green Pass walk past customers sitting at a cafe in Milan People protesting against Italy’s COVID-19 Green Pass walk past customers sitting at a cafe in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele shopping arcade, Milan, Italy, July 24, 2021 (AP photo by Antonio Calanni).

For Europe’s Far Right, Opposing Vaccine Mandates Isn’t Paying Off

Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021

Half a decade ago, Europe’s far-right politicians and their parties found themselves enjoying a promising set of circumstances. Just as the continent was struggling to recover from a deep recession, huge numbers of refugees started crossing its borders. It was an ideal combination for nationalist populists, who used the ensuing rise in xenophobic sentiment to boost their political fortunes. But then the refugee flows eased, and economies started to recover. As the far-right parties’ influence waned, they began to ask: Could they find new controversies to continue fueling their ascent?

Enter the COVID-19 pandemic. Across Europe, the far right has jumped on the crisis—and, in particular, on government-imposed vaccination requirements—as a new source of outrage to motivate its political base. So far, though, the results have been disappointing, at best. ...

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