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Right-wing extremism on rise in Germany

Nov. 12, 2012 at 2:33 PM

BERLIN, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Right-wing extremism appears to be on the rise in parts of Germany, particularly in the east, a study released Monday indicated.

The report by Friedrich Ebert Foundation said young people were at greatest risk of falling prey to right-wing attitudes and called for more social engagement and educational programs to combat the problem, Spiegel Online reported Monday.

The foundation said it noted an increase in right-wing extremist attitudes from 8.2 percent to 9 percent across the country since 2010, with xenophobia the most prevalent expression, researchers said.

"Action at all levels -- whether it is in education work, the media, civil society or democratic parties -- is urgently needed," the report said, "[because] the approval that right-wing extremist messages [received] within the German population is unsettling for a number of reasons."

The study, based on surveys conducted during the summer, found right-wing extremism varied greatly, depending on the region, Der Spiegel Online said. Compared to 2010, western German states showed a slight decrease from 7.6 percent to 7.3 percent overall. In regions in what was once East Germany, however, researchers found such attitudes jumped from 10.5 percent to 15.8 percent.

The report said the region's weak economy was the primary reason.

Researchers found that young people, ages 14-30, from eastern Germany showed a higher level of approval for right-wing concepts than people over the age of 60.

"It is especially worrying that the study shows a new generation of right-wing extremism," the authors said. "The structural problems in eastern Germany, which have still not been adequately addressed even 20 years after reunification, are reflected here, as is this generation's feeling that they are not needed."

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