In recent years, right-wing populism has assumed the spotlight on political stages throughout Europe. Representatives from Italy, France, Germany, Hungary and Poland are rallying behind the cries of their citizens to prioritize their needs over the strength of the whole of Europe. In short, they believe that a withdrawal from the European Union would bring about more jobs and improve their quality of life. The Enemy in Brussels examines the motivations behind this seismic political shift, and what it might spell for the long-term future of Europe.
Political organizers have hatched a scheme to successfully infiltrate the upcoming parliamentary election process in the spring of 2019, and their entry will occur in the capital city of Brussels. Millions of followers are placing their hopes in them. Fed up with limited economic opportunities and crumbling neighborhoods, they've associated their troubles with the rise of the European Union and an influx of immigrants.
Their movement has adopted the tone and tenor of President Donald Trump's "America First" brand of populism. Political figures like Northern League leader Matteo Salvini, AfD European Parliament candidate Guido Reil, and Reassemblement National Party candidate Marine Le Pen have the establishment firmly in their crosshairs. What were once minority-held views are gaining traction among the masses.
In addition to spotlighting these new right-wing political leaders, the filmmakers collect a vast array of profiles from common citizens, including business owners, laborers and home makers. We hear from those who stand in strong support of the party's views - including their strict anti-immigration policies - and others who view the movement as a threat to morality and human rights.
The extreme right-wing rhetoric has momentum, but it's also inspired troubling fissures in the culture. A radical recently took it upon himself to shoot random dark-skinned bystanders. Social workers also testify to a rise in openly expressed racism. The movement's leaders claim this uptick in violence is just an inevitable response to the EU's flagrant permissiveness when it comes to illegal immigration.
Handsomely produced by the DW Documentary series, The Enemy in Brussels is a thoughtful and immersive portrait of one of the modern history's most consequential shifts in global politics.