Brussels expects no 'dramatic' eurosceptic gains in EU
(VILNIUS) - The European Union executive on Friday said it did not expect eurosceptics to achieve "dramatic" gains in European polls next year, despite rising xenophobic sentiment in the region.
"I think there will be a strong mobilisation of pro-European forces in the next months," European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said after talks with EU affairs ministers.
"I do not expect there will be some dramatic increase of eurosceptic parties in the European Parliament," he told reporters in Lithuania, which holds the rotating EU presidency.
"There might be some but I believe that we see that the mood in Europe is changing for the better, economy is picking up, new jobs are being created."
Sefcovic warned that "supporters of the core EU values" will be challenged by "parties which are preaching xenophobia, racism, racial hatred" in the European Parliament elections of May 2014.
Politicians and rights activists have expressed concern in recent years that the economic crisis was fuelling intolerance across Europe.
Far-right parties have been on the rise, with examples including the anti-immigration UK Independence Party in Britain, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in Greece, and the nationalist True Finns in Finland.