THINK of a right-wing Eurosceptic and the image that comes to mind is of an ageing, grumpily xenophobic man. To put it mildly, that is not the whole story.

Take Golden Dawn, an ultra-right party in Greece. In January’s election, its showing was strongest among the 18-24 group, with 8.4% of that cohort. A fifth of Hungarians aged 18 to 33 would now back the far-right Jobbik party. Alternative for Germany (AfD), another populist party, does best among those under 30. Among Dutch people under 35 who plan to vote, 24% would choose the Eurosceptic Freedom (PVV) party. France’s young prefer Marine Le Pen (see article) to President François Hollande.

Why do such parties attract the normally open-minded young? Maybe because recession hits them hardest. Net employment in the euro area fell by 6m between 2008 and 2013; half of those affected were under 25. In southern Europe, youth unemployment is appallingly high. And those who do work get ill-paid, often part-time jobs.

The young are easily disgruntled with established institutions, like the European Union. Those born after 1980 are slightly more likely than the preceding generation to link the EU with waste and bureaucracy. Young people prefer grass-roots initiatives, says Hilary Pilkington of Myplace, an EU-financed, youth-linked research project; populist parties seem to offer this. Golden Dawn is highly visible on the street, whether giving migrants a hard time or doling out food to natives.

Eurosceptic parties work hard to woo youngsters. Their youth wings hold debates, summer camps and music festivals. Jobbik has created a subculture, with fashion labels and patriotic rock bands. Germany’s National Democratic Party has handed out thousands of propaganda CDs in schoolyards.

Far-right parties have also built up their presence on the teen-infested internet. Geert Wilders, the PVV leader, has more Twitter followers than Mark Rutte, his country’s prime minister. The AfD gets more Facebook “likes” than Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats. If this is Europe’s future, it’s worrying.

Fonte/Source, http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21646240-will-tomorrow-belong-them-budding-toughies?fsrc=scn/fb/te/pe/ed/buddingtoughies