A majority of Austrian and French voters are concerned about globalisation, a study has found, identifying it as the top factor driving support for populist parties.
The findings of the survey by Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation sharply contradict the image of populism projected by most of the mainstream media.
The survey showed 55 per cent of Austrian respondents and 54 per cent of French view globalisation as a threat but the numbers among people who support populist parties were much higher.
76 per cent of Front National (FN) supporters and 69 per cent of respondents who back the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) say they fear globalisation. This was also the case for 78 per cent of Germans who support the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
Concerns over globalisation were a greater determinant of support for populist parties than other factors such as traditional values and economic anxiety, Reuters reported.
The results of the survey of 14,936 citizens in nations within the European Union (EU) come amid establishment fears ahead of Sunday’s presidential run-off vote in Austria, and the French presidential election next year in which FN candidate Marine Le Pen is expected to do well.
Traditional parties have grown increasingly worried about populism after Britain voted to leave the EU and Americans voted for Donald Trump, who ran on a platform of standing up for the interests of U.S. citizens, to be president.
Across the 28 nations in the EU, 45 per cent said they view the phenomena as a threat compared to 55 per cent who said it is an opportunity. Of the nine countries polled, people in Britain were found to be the least concerned about globalisation with just 36 per cent fearing the process, under which it’s estimated huge numbers of jobs will be permanently lost.
The mainstream media in Britain, and internationally, were united in condemning recent changes to the visa system that were brought in by the government to help prevent the displacement of British workers.
Papers widely quoted Indian tech company Nasscom, who said: “A system that restricts the UK’s ability to access talent is also likely to restrict the growth and productivity of the UK economy.”
The mainstream media neglected to report that the system change, which raised salary thresholds for intra-company (ICT) worker transfers from outside the EU, came after years of warnings that the system is being abused.
Intended for employees of multinational companies who are being transferred by their overseas employer to a UK branch of the body, ICTs were instead being used to replace British workers with cheaper Indian labour, and relocate British jobs to India.
Research increasingly confirms that while globalisation hurts the middle classes, and unskilled workers in the West, the super-rich benefit immensely from it.
Economist Branko Milanović commented that Western elites “have continually piled up larger and larger gains, all the while socially and mentally separating themselves from fellow citizens”.