Since an overdue focus on the Syrian refugee crisis in global headlines, nations across Europe have experienced a steep rise in the popularity of far-right political parties. With many of the foundational ideals of such parties pointing inwards to directly and solely support especially native born citizens, it is clear that such politicians are rising in favor built off the rallying hate of innocent refugees.
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Amidst veritable media frenzy, we hear the populists and their critiques loud and clear. It is time that someone stand up for the European project. So let us make the argument loudly: a strong, increasingly federal Europe is the best path to freedom, prosperity, and influence in the world. Interconnectedness is a reality, not a choice. In our era of globalization, national regulation is far less effective than continental regulation, which protects consumers from monopolies and unfair practices. From energy to roaming charges, the EU can regulate imperfect matters more effectively than national bodies ever could. In financial markets, the EU has been at the forefront of better regulation to prevent another crisis: from limits on bonuses to the European Central Bank's banking union, we are building a more resilient banking system to protect both depositors and taxpayers alike. Meanwhile the European single market is the key achievement of the Union that has improved standards of living for citizens in every single member state. Today, it provides a strong incentive for countries in the Union to support each other, a truth born out during the financial crisis.
France dodged the bullet in Sunday's second round of regional elections, but the threat from the extreme right remains a dark cloud over election post-mortems. Mainstream French politicians expressed relief this week that they had turned back a bid by Marine Le Pen's right-wing National Front that threatened to win control of six of France's 13 regions.