As European Parliament elections draw near, the president of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, desperately aims to tone down his party’s persistent anti-European rhetoric.

The National Rally (le Rassemblement national, RN), synonymous with Marine Le Pen, is a populist far-right French party that frequently uses othering language against immigrants and other minorities, and is anti-European (some have speculated that had Le Pen won the previous presidential elections last year, it might signal a Frexit in all but name).

However, the new 28-year-old party leader Jordan Bardella claims that RN no longer defends a Frexit, but promotes an idea of “Europe of nations”. Idea without a common strategy, very speculative project which, without the consent of all Twenty-Seven to revise the treaties, would threaten France with economic and political sanctions. The objective of “dismantling” Europe apparently remains unchanged. And this recent shift from anti-European narratives appears «unconvincing».

Polls have shown that there’s a high chance that inside the European Parliament, a populist right coalition of Christian democrats, conservatives, and radical right MEPs could emerge with a majority for the first time. The populist right will be the main winners. According to predictions, the radical right Identity and Democracy (ID) group (which includes Bardella’s party) will gain 40 seats and with almost 100 MEPs become the third largest group in Parliament.

Why is the far-right a threat, not just to Europe, but to democracy everywhere?
The rise of the right in the European Parliament is a threat to European democracy. Many of the groups expected to gain more seats are sharp critics of the EU that advocate for less ‘European’ policies, and even a Frexit. European unity will fall apart, which is dangerous in the face of the threat that Russia, as well as domestic extremism, poses to Europe.

Why is the far-right getting more support than ever?
Far-right politicians are incredibly skilled in utilising the «correct» language to rally people for their causes and portraying the centre-left or the left as a threat to ‘normal’ society. “If we formed the government, we wouldn’t have done this; we wouldn’t have done that.” They make grand promises without being held accountable for their feasibility or consequences, shifting blame onto the ruling government when they fail to deliver.