Contemporary extreme‐right, or radical‐right, parties in Western Europe are variously characterized as populist, nationalist, fascist, anti‐system, anti‐party, anti‐Eu and/or anti‐immigrant. While none of these are essential, anti‐immigrant policy is common to the vast majority. Major examples include the Freedom Party (Austria), National Front (France), Vlaams Belang (previously Vlaams Blok) (Belgium), Republikaner (Germany), the Danish and Norwegian Progress parties, Alleanza Nazionale (previously MSI) and Lega Nord (Italy), and in the UK the British National Party and National Front. Many of these parties saw a marked increase in their vote share in the 1980s and 1990s so that among others, the French, Italian, Austrian, and Flemish extreme‐right have all frequently achieved more than 10 per cent of the vote although some have received setbacks since 2000. While survey research shows that anti‐immigrant sentiment is the main factor influencing individual citizen decisions to vote for the extreme‐right, it is not the case that the varying fortunes of extreme‐right parties can be accounted for by differences between countries in the hostility to immigrants. Instead it appears that the success of extreme-right parties are affected by the electoral system, the reactions of other parties and their own history prior to the immigration issue becoming prominent.