By Greta Gietz
Several months ago, we published an article on the rise of right-wing parties across Europe. While right-wing parties continue to gain influence, notably Marine Le Pen’s nationalist, anti-immigration National Front in France, two extreme left-wing movements have been making headlines early this year: Syriza and Podemos. In Greece’s high-profile general elections the anti-austerity party Syriza won a landmark victory. The consequences of the new government are still to be seen, but Syriza has announced that it will not comply with the bailout agreement or support a “Grexit” (Greece’s exit from the Eurozone) and for restructuring debt within the Eurozone. Meanwhile, Spain, in anticipation of its upcoming fall elections, is closely watching Syriza’s rise. The far-left anti-austerity party Podemos (“We Can”) has gained vast support in Spain and is on track to becoming Spain’s very own Syriza.
While Greece and Spain, two of the most economically hard-hit countries in the E.U., show a shift to the far left of the political spectrum, it is unclear whether Syriza and Podemos’ popularity are signaling a European-wide development. What does their rise mean for the future of the Eurozone and, with that, for the European Union? How will Syriza and Podemos influence other economically struggling countries, especially in Southern Europe, and change the political climate?