The German hard right party Alternative for Germany and the French hard right party National Rally made strong gains among youngsters in the 2024 European elections.EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU

News Vote 24

European hard-right finds success among young voters


Europe’s hard-right is becoming increasingly popular amongst younger voters, polling surrounding the EU elections has shown.

Hard-right parties Alternative for Germany (AfD) and France’s National Rally (RN) achieved significant gains among young voters during the June 9 vote.

In France, the RN led the youth vote, with its President Jordan Bardella securing 32 per cent of the 18-34-year-old demographic, while Valérie Hayer of the Renaissance party garnered just 5 per cent.

In Germany, 16 per cent of voters under the age of 25 supported the AfD, according to political researcher Institute Infratest Dimap, marking the highest percentage for the party across any age group.

It also recorded the most significant growth —  plus 11 points  — among under-25s compared to the 2019 EP elections.

In the latest European contest over June 6-9, 16-year-olds were allowed to vote for the first time in Germany, with under-18s also voting in Austria and Belgium.

Prior to the elections, the European Greens had been optimistic about their chances due to perceived popularity among the younger generation.

In an interview published on May 18 by German news outlet Der Western, Co-President of The Greens/EFA in the EP Terry Reintke was confident about her chances with young voters.

“I know that for a 16-year-old, I’m probably at least one person older, but I’m not part of the grandparent generation yet,” she said.

“There are still many young people for whom climate protection is a central issue. They also want climate policy to be pursued ambitiously at the European level,” she added.

While the European Greens group had been upbeat about their chances, the reality proved otherwise.

Speaking to Brussels Signal, Aymeric-Matthieu, a French left-wing 25-year-old, said that most of his classmates voted for the hard right because the Left had, he said, abandoned the fight on immigration and security.

While the younger generations contributed to the success of the “green wave” in the 2019 European elections, it seemed that many had shifted to the Right in the 2024 vote.

The surge of the hard-right among young voters has been put down to those parties’ growing presence on social media.

The number of AfD followers on TikTok exceeds those of every other German party. As of writing, the AfD had 436,800 followers on the platform, the Christian Democrats 23,400 and The Greens 16,700.

In France, Bardella is a rising social media star with 1.6 million followers on TikTok. By comparison, the French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal of the Renaissance party has 298,500.