Anti-EU Parties Plan Strategy to Woo Europe’s Voters

Chris Morris, BBC, November 13, 2013

At the European Parliament’s hi-tech visitors’ centre you can learn about the history of the European Union in all 24 of the EU’s official languages.

A 360-degree digital surround screen takes you into the heart of a virtual parliamentary chamber.

But for those in this parliament who believe passionately in the European Union idea–and there are obviously many–these are testing times.

Among voters there is a sceptical mood, based in part on feelings of economic insecurity, and on concerns about immigration. Populist anti-EU parties are mobilising, to try to take advantage.

Opinion polls suggest that both Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) in France and Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands stand a chance of coming first in next May’s European elections.

And now they want to form a pan-European, radical right-wing alliance, to shake up the system, meeting in The Hague to plot a joint strategy.

“We don’t feel very comfortable being a kind of province in the European super-state,” Mr Wilders told me in an interview earlier this year.

“More than half of the laws in Holland are not initiated by the Dutch cabinet, but by the European Council, or Commission or parliament–by the European elite.”

A new bloc?

Mr Wilders has tacked hostility to Europe onto his anti-Islam agenda to try to broaden his party’s appeal.

But it is far from clear how many parties in other countries are interested in joining an informal alliance led by Mr Wilders and Ms Le Pen.

Much will depend of course on the actual results of the European elections in six months’ time.

To form a parliamentary group, which would receive official funding, they would need at least 25 MEPs from seven different countries.

There is already a strongly Eurosceptic group in parliament, Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD), which is dominated by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the Northern League from Italy.

But neither the FN nor the PVV are part of that bloc and if they were to set up a group of their own that could create a problem for the UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

He has already made it clear that he will play no part in the Wilders/Le Pen initiative–he has no intention of being tarred by an extremist brush. But he will not want to lose allies to an alternative group.

“Another grouping would leave the EFD as the moderate Eurosceptic group in the European Parliament,” counters a UKIP spokesman. “And that would be good for UKIP.”

And if the far right and other anti-EU parties do make a big breakthrough in the elections, others will ensure that they are held to account.

“We should tackle (them) head on, challenge them and challenge their views which I find very unsavoury,” argues the Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld.

“I’d rather do that than keep them out of the political arena through election procedures. It will force them to take responsibility for their promises.”

Broad spectrum

It is difficult to predict exactly how the cards will fall because unhappiness with the way the EU operates comes in many forms–British Euroscepticism is just one of them.

There are parties on the radical left like Syriza in Greece, insurgent political groups like Beppe Grillo’s Five Star movement in Italy, and overt racists such as Jobbik in Hungary or Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn.

All of them are seeking to take advantage of the fact that many voters are disaffected, and anxious about the future.

“I feel it everywhere,” Sophie in ‘t Veld says, “but the problems are much deeper than simply resentment against Brussels”.

Talk to anti-capitalist demonstrators in Dam Square in Amsterdam, and you get a sense of people concerned that there are global forces and elites that are beyond the control of ordinary voters.

They dismiss the European Union, and accuse it of lies and corruption. But a suggestion that they might have common cause with Geert Wilders brings a rapid response.

“Oh no, I don’t support Wilders, not at all,” says one man with an almost embarrassed chuckle.

“I don’t support any political party,” adds the woman standing next to him, lifting up her Guy Fawkes mask to make her point with extra emphasis.

That lack of enthusiasm for any party is certainly reflected in the turnout for European elections.

While the powers of the European Parliament are on the rise, voter participation has gone down in every election since the parliament was first directly elected by citizens in 1979.

This too provides opportunities for extremist parties with simple messages to flourish.

‘Vacuum of vision’

“It is very fertile ground for demagogues,” says Michael Geary, who teaches history at the University of Maastricht – a town synonymous with the idea of European Union.

“The mainstream parties need to tackle the rhetoric from the far-right, and the far-left. But more importantly they need to present an alternative vision.

“There is a massive vacuum of ideas, a vacuum of vision.”

It all adds up to a real challenge for the parties that traditionally make up the vast majority of members of the European Parliament.

In one recent opinion poll by Gallup more people said the EU was going in the wrong rather than the right direction, in 20 out of 28 member states.

And – crucially – this is not just a protest about austerity.

“It’s not just money, you don’t live by bread alone,” explains Robert Manchin, the managing director of Gallup Europe.

“It’s really [about] symbols, [about] sovereignty, and a feeling of control over your life. And if they cannot provide that, then I am looking for sources somewhere else.”

In other words, there is a complex, febrile political mood across Europe.

Extremist parties are set to make a real electoral impact in some countries, but not in others.

In Spain and Portugal, for example – two countries that have really suffered in the economic crisis – there is little sign that populism will have a significant electoral impact.

Mainstream centre-left and centre-right groups are still expected to hold dominant positions in the next European Parliament. But up to one-third of its members could well be bitter opponents of the Union it oversees.

Topics: , , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • NeanderthalDNA

    I’m getting a warm, fuzzy feeling about things in the Homeland. Seeds of hope breaking out.

    • So CAL Snowman

      Unlike Whites is the United States, Europeans have no “original sin” of wiping out the “natives” or importing black slaves from Africa. There is less to make them feel guilty about, so I imagine it is easier for them to rise against this madness.

      • RisingReich

        There are no Whites here either with this ‘original Race sin’ – that’s total hogwash.

      • Northern American-Nationalist

        Not to mention, by any stretch, they (the Europeans) are the indigenous of that land in every respect.

        • rightrightright

          The Left deal with that point by saying we are all immigrants, we are all mongrels, we colonised other countries and so forth. That we were immigrants but at the end of the last Ice Age is ignored. The historical movement of Huguenots and Jews into safer European nations is used as the Left’s proof that we are mishmash peoples who have no right to resent or resist the third world millionfold invasion currently underway.

          • Franklin_Ryckaert

            They are not interested in any historical truth whatsoever, they are only interested in our genocide and they should be openly attacked for that.

  • ncpride

    Extremist parties are set to make a real electoral impact in some countries, but not in others….

    You get that? Europeans are ‘extremists’ when they dare vote for their own interests. How absurd is that? It’s past time we took control of this narrative. I wish those running for office would be blunt and to the point about their intent. Announce you will be fighting for the indigenous peoples of Europe, and make no apologies. When the fierce accusations of ‘racism’ come flying (and they will, no doubt) they should stand their ground and point out the absurdities, hypocrisy, and the fallacy of their claims then ridicule them relentlessly. Take back control of the conversation, but that will never happen as long as they cower in fear.

    • So CAL Snowman

      It’s funny right? White people are NOT superior in any way, shape or form from the other races but when White people vote or rally for our own interests we are seen as extreme. We are constantly told that Whites are weak beta males (going by the images on the television) yet White solidarity is SO feared that any attempt is labeled as extremism. They must be deathly afraid of us.

      • Ella

        They are afraid of Whites if we can just organize and act much in our own interests. Too many Whites go on pitying others to conform and receive praise or social acceptance nowadays.

    • Sick of it

      It is amusing that being in favor of national sovereignty and a reduction in immigration from third world countries, particularly during a new Great Depression, can lead to one being considered extreme.

  • Spartacus

    Geert Wilders is controlled opposition of the most pathetic kind. He’s one of the biggest zionists in European politics, and a mongrel to boot. His Wikipedia page gives a more than concise description of him.

    • Northern American-Nationalist

      Zionism is the cure to the inherent internationalism of the diasporised Jew; support Israel and thus support tying the Hebrews to nationalism.

      Besides, if Wilders is controlled opposition, then the global/European elites must be more desperate than current politics would make it seem because a party that explicitly wants to ban all Islamic practices and immigration from Muslim countries in the Netherlands is a party that will rid the Dutch homeland of most of it’s non-Whites and their source of demographic decline.
      The Dutch will firmly remain masters of their own house with a few other Europeans and (non-muslim) former Dutch colonial peoples among them. Look at their current ethnic demographics to understand this path brought to you by Geert Wilder’s Party for Freedom.

  • Lord_Steven_Regal

    “And now they want to form a pan-European, radical right-wing alliance, to shake up the system”

    —————

    Leftists left to label even the most sane and common sense views that oppose their plans as “radical” or “extremist”. It sways the overly emotional reader who can’t think on their own (nearly all Liberals) to react viscerally and hate the person being labeled “radical” or “extremist” without giving further thought to the issue.

  • Blue-eyed Devil

    The muds in America tell us to “Go back to Europe”. I’d be on the first plane out but the muds are infiltrating Europe, too. Anybody know where I can purchase a ticket to Elysium?

  • Sensitivity Training

    If the Right makes real pro White gains, elections will be outlawed because of “rampant hate.”

    • rightrightright

      Marine Le Pen was stripped of her parliamentary immunity for “racism”, which means she can now be tried and imprisoned. Tommy Robinson of the EDL was imprisoned in solitary on remand for months, on the most spurious of charges. In my view it was this experience that finally broke him.

  • Canadian Boer

    It’s certainly heartening to see that the Nationalist Right is on the rise in Europe. If current trends continue Europe could eventually end up as an Islamic backwater; however, millions of Europeans are fed up with multiculturalism, mass immigration, and political correctness. Hopefully this will result in more power for Nationalist parties like the Front National/Party for Freedom so that this potential crisis is averted.

  • Ella

    You can also see how Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal treated their young by retiring at 55 with fat socialized pensions. I can imagine the rage of the youth who desire healthy and normal wants out of life much like their parents enjoyed in better times. Well, German citizens have told me that they never expected the EU to last. I hope European countries achieve faster progress since they don’t have forced integration and AA programs like the US. We’re already 40% nonwhite……….sigh

  • Fr. John+

    Let Americans fed up with our first Third World President, who wish to live in an all-White country again, have free national citizenship by helping them, and a larger number of USc citizenry would, ‘presto changeo’ become Frenchman, faster than you could say ‘Voila!’ If the Front National would institute such an immigration strategy to outnumber the dying, idiotic communists, in order to have us to vote for Le Pen’s party, imagine what would happen. We’d restore France to a position she has not seen since Louis XIV, and the world would watch us win a nation back to her ethnic heritage! Pensez, France. Pensez.