Thursday, November 14, 2013

An international alliance of eurosceptic parties?

The Financial Times is somewhat sniffy about the proposed electoral pact between Geert Wilders' Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) and Marine Le Pen's National Front (FN) but that is to be expected. In fact, it is rather sniffy about the parties themselves, not bothering to differentiate much between them and calling them extreme right-wing and all anti-EU parties "nationalistic and xenophobic". Why is it, asks one rhetorically, that all parties, regardless of other political ideas, who prefer their countries to be independent and self-governing as well as have more accountable governments, are described as extremist while those who campaign for greater European integration (not a very popular idea across the member states of the EU) as moderates?

Anyway, back to the electoral pact.
Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders, two of Europe’s best-known far-right leaders, vowed to fight side by side in a coalition of nationalist parties in next year’s European Parliament elections to bring down the “monster in Brussels”.

The anti-EU alliance between the French National Front party (FN) and the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) will seek to attract other eurosceptic groups as they try to capitalise on the economic misery and high unemployment plaguing the continent.
Pretty bad, eh? Fancy trying to capitalize on the fact that certain political decisions have made the economic situation across Europe considerably worse than it would have been otherwise. Shockingly bad behaviour.

The two party leaders intend to campaign together next year in the European elections and to form a group with, they hope, other parties in the European Parliament, thus shifting somewhat the debate or what passes for debate in that institution. Among parties that they hope will join them is our very own UKIP but the Dear Leader has remained aloof, claiming with justification that certain past political pronouncements by the FN and its then leader, Papa Le Pen are incompatible with UKIP's stance. Indeed, it would be an excellent idea if the FN would distance itself from those anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying comments. Mr Wilders has also spoken of Belgium's Vlaams Belang and Italy's Lega Norda as possible allies.
Other anti-EU parties that could consider joining forces in next year’s European polls include the Danish People’s party, Finland’s The Finns, Austria’s Freedom party, Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland and Italy’s Five Star Movement.

However, eurosceptics have often had divergent views, ranging from ending the EU to quitting the euro or simply forming a looser union. The divisions have often outstripped points in common. For example, Alternative für Deutschland and the Five Star Movement, led by comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo, would find it difficult to form an alliance with a neo-fascist party like the FN.

Nevertheless, analysts said the FN-PVV alliance had potential because the two leaders agree on several issues, including reducing EU powers, imposing tougher immigration laws and reinstating border controls. The two remain divided on gay rights, openness to Islam and some socioeconomic matters.
Covered by the BBC and the Washington Post that is a little less biased than our own media, perhaps because it is all so far away for them and they cannot  imagine the EU ever breaking up. 

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