Dutch Freedom Party Leader Says Euroskeptic Bloc Failed

French and Dutch nationalist party leaders Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders in The Hague, November 13
French and Dutch nationalist party leaders Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders in The Hague, November 13 (AP/Peter Dejong)

Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders admitted on Tuesday his and France’s Marine Le Pen’s attempts to form a second Euroskeptic bloc in the European Parliament had failed.

Last week, Britain’s Nigel Farage found enough allies to continue his group, Europe of Freedom and Democracy, thanks to the defection of one member from Le Pen’s Front national.

Like Le Pen and Wilders, Farage advocates a withdrawal from the European Union for his country but unlike those other party leaders, he is not strongly opposed to immigration nor particularly critical of Islam.

Wilders, who rose to prominence in the Netherlands as an Islam critic before becoming Euroskeptic, told Dutch media his Freedom Party was unwilling to form a European group “at any price.” He added that cooperating with the conservative Congress of the New Right from Poland would have been “a bridge too far.” Read more “Dutch Freedom Party Leader Says Euroskeptic Bloc Failed”

British, German Eurosceptics Join; Farage, Le Pen Seek Allies

Germany’s anti-euro party Alternative für Deutschland joined the group that is led by Britain’s Conservatives and the Polish Law and Justice party in the European Parliament on Thursday, giving them more seats than the mainstream liberals.

The Alternative, which won seven seats in May’s European Parliament election, joined the anti-federalist European Conservatives and Reformists, the mildest of three Euroskeptic groups in the assembly and now its third largest party.

The Danish People’s Party and the Fins Party earlier joined the reformists as well, defecting from the more radical Europe of Freedom and Democracy group that is led by Britain’s Nigel Farage.

Despite doubling its seats, Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party, which calls for Britain to leave the European Union, is struggling to find enough allies to continue to be recognized as a group in the European Parliament. Read more “British, German Eurosceptics Join; Farage, Le Pen Seek Allies”

Europe’s Nationalists Channel Resentment in Culture War

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Night falls on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France (Unsplash/Rafael Kellermann Streit)

Last week’s European Parliament elections saw huge gains for nationalist parties across Western Europe, notably the National Front in France and the United Kingdom Independence Party. Both won more seats in the European assembly than either the mainstream conservative or socialist parties in their countries.

Andrew Sullivan, a British-born blogger, sees evidence of a “blue-red culture war over modernity” in the results, one that is similar to America’s. Read more “Europe’s Nationalists Channel Resentment in Culture War”

Le Pen Struggles to Find Allies. Farage Finds Italian Friend

Marine Le Pen Geert Wilders
French and Dutch nationalist party leaders Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders in The Hague, November 13, 2013 (AP/Peter Dejong)

France’s Marine Le Pen and the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders are struggling to find enough supporters in the European Parliament to form a Euroskeptic bloc of their own while the group led by Britain’s Nigel Farage appeared to have won a new member on Wednesday: Italy’s Five Star Movement. Read more “Le Pen Struggles to Find Allies. Farage Finds Italian Friend”

Euroskeptics Win Election in France, Lose in Netherlands

French and Dutch nationalist party leaders Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders in The Hague, November 13, 2013
French and Dutch nationalist party leaders Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders in The Hague, November 13, 2013 (AP/Peter Dejong)

Right-wing Euroskeptic parties in France and the Netherlands did well in local elections last week. But whereas Marine Le Pen’s Front national vastly improved its reach, support for Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party dropped slightly in the cities where it competed. A party mutiny has since thrown his prospects for May’s European Parliament election in doubt.

The Front national reached the second-round runoffs in more than two hundred French cities and towns on Sunday, beating President François Hollande’s Socialists into third place, notably in the port city of Marseille.

It also won its first mayoral seat outright since 1995.

While the opposition conservatives made the biggest gains, winning 46.5 percent of the total first-round vote, Le Pen could with some justification claim to have broken up France’s two-party system. Read more “Euroskeptics Win Election in France, Lose in Netherlands”

Danish Nationalists Reject Alliance with Dutch, French

Denmark’s nationalists dealt a blow to the hopes of similar parties in France and the Netherlands to form an alliance in the European Parliament on Wednesday when one of its lawmakers ruled out any cooperation with Marine Le Pen’s Front national.

Søren Espersen, the Danish People’s Party deputy leader and foreign policy spokesman, told Politiken newspaper that Le Pen’s was not a “decent” party, referring to its history of antisemitism. Marine’s father, Jean-Marie, who founded and long led the Front, made several antisemitic remarks throughout his political career. Read more “Danish Nationalists Reject Alliance with Dutch, French”

Dutch, French Nationalists to Jointly Contest Election

French nationalist party leader Marine Le Pen welcomes her Dutch counterpart Geert Wilders’ proposal to join forces in next year’s European parliamentary elections.

“All patriotic parties that fight for their identity, fight for sovereignty, should unite in the European elections,” she told Dutch state broadcaster NOS on Tuesday. Read more “Dutch, French Nationalists to Jointly Contest Election”

The Far Right’s Revival in France

One of the things that was taken out of the 2007 French presidential election was the collapse of the far right (the Front national or FN), the same far right which five years earlier had shocked the world and France by placing second in the presidential race with 16.9 percent of the vote. Its poor 10.4 percent showing in 2007 was followed by a drubbing in subsequent legislative elections and an equally weak showing in the 2009 European elections.

It has rightfully been said that Nicolas Sarkozy took a lot of the far-right vote in 2007 with his tough law and order platform and populist rhetoric. It helped him with working-class voters, many of whom had supported the FN in 2002 despite their left-wing roots.

Following the party’s collapse, which put it on the verge of bankruptcy and forced it to sell off its headquarters in an affluent Parisian suburb, the far right was buried. Sarkozy and the traditional right had permanently integrated most of the FN’s electorate, and it would collapse following the inevitable retirement of its historical lider maximo, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

It turns out that the far right was buried far too early and the party that passed for dead or at least moribund four years ago is roaring back with a vengeance. Read more “The Far Right’s Revival in France”