(CNSNews.com) - Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, who was appointed to her job by President Joe Biden, submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee today the Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, which warned about the impact of populist parties “that oppose immigration and deeper EU integration.”
The threat assessment included a subsection carrying the headline: “Europe. The entirety of this three-paragraph subsection focused on “populist parties.”
“Populist parties across the political spectrum probably will take advantage of inflation and high energy prices to increase their support in at least some national and subnational elections during the coming year and make governments—even those in which they are not represented—more cautious about liberalizing immigration or trade,” said this intelligence community assessment.
“Populist parties that oppose immigration and deeper EU integration using antiestablishment rhetoric,” said the assessment, “constitute the largest share of this group and have channeled voters’ frustration with mainstream leaders’ handling of successive crises and the perceived erosion of national culture and sovereignty.
“European governments’ differing views on key policies, in some cases because of concerns about domestic blowback, have hampered deeper EU political and economic integration and contributed to some transatlantic trade tensions,” it said.
“In some Central European countries, populist leaders have begun to erode democratic practices by using state power to gain unfair political advantage,” said the assessment. “These leaders have enacted policies that undermine press freedom, weaken independent judiciaries, disproportionately benefit their own parties, and entrench corruption and poor accountability.
“If Europe’s ongoing energy crisis develops into an extended economic downturn, prolonged economic difficulties almost certainly would prompt public discontent—potentially including increased mass public protests—and undermine backing for mainstream European governments while increasing support for populist and extreme parties,” said the intelligence community assessment.
“Mainstream parties’ efforts to win back support by adopting populist policies have been generally unsuccessful and also may undermine the quality of democracy.”