And Merkel is not the only leader aware of rise of the right among voters across Europe. Merkel's counterparts in France and Italy have both made recent comments about the unpalatable prominence of populist movements in their countries.
In their new year addresses, French President Francois Hollande attacked what he called "dangerous" populist movements, and Giorgio Napolitano, the 89 year-old outgoing Italian President, warned there was "nothing more unrealistic or dangerous" than calls for Italy to leave the euro zone.
As well as opposing immigration, many of these movements also campaign against the European Union (EU) and the single currency union, the euro zone.
Examples include the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), both of which have positioned themselves as euroskeptic alternatives to the mainstream parties.
But more extremist right-wing groups are also gaining in popularity in some countries, with Golden Dawn in Greece getting a boost from anger at the country's rising unemployment and tough austerity policies, implemented as part of economic reforms. The party is often described as neo-Nazi, although it rejects this label.
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In countries like France, where growth remains anaemic, the political elite could face real problems from parties like the National Front, Howard Goldring, managing director of Delmore Asset Management, warned.
"The National Front is doing quite well and they are playing on popular fears (over immigration and the economy)," he told CNBC on Friday. "It's clear that France really has problems and the economy could slow down further and, therefore, you can expect more unrest and political turmoil."
The party's current leader, Marine Le Pen, has tried to clean up the party's image after taking over from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who made several anti-Semitic comments during his tenure of the party.