For years now, the economic crisis, immigration and unemployment have provided a ready platform for extreme right parties in Europe. But despite the wind in their sails and rising support at national level, their European Parliamentary standing remains low. The various far right leaders of France, Austria and Belgium have decided to do something about it. Their vision is to form an alliance of extreme right parties for the next European elections.
Marine Le Pen is the president of the French National Front. She rejected the label “extreme right” for her party just a few days ago. Speaking to euronews, her objectives are absolutely clear:
“The message in a historical sense is the return of nations, the return of homelands. The European empire as it’s been built is anti-democratic, an empire whose economic and social outcomes are deplorable. Our nations have fared much better in the past, and they can do much better in the future, by working together, but freely. We need to return sovereignty to every nation, in other words give them the freedom to create their own destiny.”
In recent months, the alliance has enlarged, as partly intended by Marine Le Pen, to include in particular the Italian Northern League, Sweden’s Democrats and the Dutch Party of Freedom.
But could such an alliance really scare traditional parties? Far right parties share common ground on issues affecting Europe. Traditionally, the main targets are immigration and European policy. But such parties always put the defense of their respective countries first. This inherent nationalistic divergence would make an alliance difficult if each party defended its own interests.
One thing is certain, they are winning more and more votes – another common point. As well-represented as they are in their parliaments, their numbers are few among the almost eight hundred MEPs.
Forming a political group requires 25 deputies elected in at least a quarter of EU Member States. This is a mathematical possibility, but the challenge of unifying such deeply disparate ideologies remains a big one.