May 20, 2014
So, it looks like we are going to win big across Europe this week.
The question then is, will the diverse groups of far-righters be able to get along?
With voters tired of a European Union handing down decisions from on high, parties like France’s National Front (FN), Britain’s UKIP and Austria’s Freedom Party (FPOe) are going strong in the polls ahead of the May 22-25 ballot.
But it might not be all plain sailing in the months to come.
Hoping to capitalise on recent support, the FPOe — formerly led by Joerg Haider who had praised some of Hitler’s policies — proudly announced in November that six European far-right parties would join forces to put Europe “back on the right track.”
“The agreement is well on its way,” leading FPOe candidate Harald Vilimsky said last week.
Matteo Salvini, head of Italy’s Northern League, also spoke of “advanced” talks recently to set up a far-right group, adding it would be “as big as possible” with like-minded parties from Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and France.
Nationalist parties have regularly talked of setting up an alliance, united by their opposition to the euro and to the EU “monster”, which they see as anti-democratic and encroaching on national sovereignty.
Common grievances against Islam, immigration and ethnic minorities like the Roma have also made parties like the FPOe, FN, Sweden Democrats, Dutch PVV and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang natural partners.
In 2007, a short-lived far-right faction — “Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty” — was even formed in the European parliament with FN, FPOe, Vlaams Belang and Bulgarian Attaka deputies.
The FPOe and the FN — the latter formerly led by Jean-Marie Le Pen before his daughter Marine took over — are still struggling with lingering accusations of anti-Semitism.
This has turned off potential partners like the Danish People’s Party, Finland’s far-right Finns or UKIP, whose leader Nigel Farage has rejected any alliance with the National Front.
Islamophobic comments by PVV leader Geert Wilders have meanwhile met with condemnation in France, while Hungary’s anti-Semitic Jobbik and the British National Party (BNP) have been kept at arm’s length for fear of being too extreme.
“The question is how homogeneous is this faction. Can these parties work together in the long term?” Reinhold Gaertner, a political expert at Innsbruck University, told AFP.
Far-right deputies in the parliament — numbering about 50 in the current 766-seat parliament, according to various analysts — are currently split between different factions or unaligned and isolated.
A far-right group would give them a better status, more funds and greater influence in policy-making, including seats on committees and more speaking time in parliament.
God willing, all Anti-EU parties can get along. Even if you don’t like these people because they don’t talk about the Jews, they are anti-immigrant and anti-system.