Far-right groups launch unofficial campaign for European elections

20 May 2024, 09:34

Marine Le Pen
Spain Politics. Picture: PA

Marine Le Pen, Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni and Argentinian leader Javier Milei appeared at an event sponsored by the Vox party.

Europe’s far-right political parties have unofficially launched their campaign for European Union elections in Spain with strong messages against illegal migration and the bloc’s climate policy while declaring their support for Israel in its war against Hamas.

French National Rally party leader Marine Le Pen and Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni sought to rally voters at an event organised by Spain’s far-right Vox party in Madrid ahead of the EU’s parliamentary elections from June 6-9.

Analysts say the vote across the bloc’s 27 nations could see strong support for the far-right.

French presidential candidate Ms Le Pen said: “We are in the final stretch to make June 9 a day of liberation and hope.

Javier Milei
Argentina’s President Javier Milei caused controversy with his remarks about Spain’s Prime Minister and his wife (AP)

“We have three weeks left to convince our respective compatriots to go out and vote.”

Ms Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party has foundations in Benito Mussolini’s fascism, spoke in Spanish via video conference and called for young people to vote.

“You are the only possible future for Europe,” she told them.

The defence of the EU’s borders was another main theme of the last of two days of a meeting organised by Vox in an arena in the outskirts of the Spanish capital.

“We are not against human rights, but we want strong borders in Europe… because it is ours,” said Andre Ventura, leader of Chega, a party that won the third largest number of parliamentary seats in Portugal earlier this year.

“We cannot continue to have this massive influx of Islamic and Muslim immigrants into Europe,” he added.

Attendee at the rally
The ‘Europa Viva 24’ event was organised by the Vox party (AP)

Ms Meloni defended her country’s policy of reaching agreements with third countries to try to curb illegal immigration, while Ms Le Pen advocated for reform of the Schengen area – which allows free movement of people within most of the bloc’s borders – so that “Europe allows each country to choose who enters and who leaves its territory”.

Vox’s president, Santiago Abascal, called for unity among the far-right ahead of the European election.

He said: “In the face of globalism we must respond with a global alliance of patriots in defence of common sense, economic prosperity, security and freedom because we share the threat, and that leads us to solidarity.”

The vote will indicate whether the continental political drift will match the rightward swing seen across much of the globe from the Netherlands to Slovakia to Argentina.

Argentina’s fiery libertarian President, Javier Milei – who was welcomed like a star amidst chants of “Freedom” – used the spotlight to criticise Pedro Sanchez, Spain’s socialist Prime Minster, and his wife, something unthinkable for most heads of state visiting a historic ally.

Giorgia Meloni
Italian leader Giorgia Meloni also took part in the event via video (LaPresse/AP)

“They don’t know what type of society and country (socialism) can produce and what kind of people chained to power and what levels of abuse it can generate,” Mr Milei said in his speech, before weighing in on the corruption allegations against Mr Sanchez’s wife, Begona Gomez.

“Even if he has a corrupt wife, he gets dirty and takes five days to think about it,” Mr Milei said, referring to the time Mr Sanchez took considering whether to step down after the accusations came to light.

In response, the Spanish government demanded an apology from Mr Milei and said it was recalling its ambassador from Buenos Aires over the remarks, which foreign minister Jose Manuel Albares condemned as bringing “relations between Spain and Argentina to the most grave point in our recent history”.

“To hospitality and good faith, he responded with a frontal attack on our democracy, on our institutions and on Spain,” Mr Albares said.

Anti-fascist activists
Activists from Avaaz wearing masks of far right politicians urged Europeans to unite to defeat the far-right in upcoming EU elections (Avaaz/AP)

Over the course of Sunday’s event, supporters who packed the Palacio de Vistalegre arena cheered messages against the European Green Deal and in favour of farm workers, whose protests brought several cities in the continent to a standstill in recent months.

They also applauded every speaker’s message in solidarity with Israel in its devastating war against Hamas in Gaza.

Israel was represented at the meeting by its minister for diaspora affairs Amichai Chikli.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary and the former prime minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, also spoke from a video screen.

Meanwhile, hundreds of left-wing activists demonstrated against fascism in Madrid’s city centre.

By Press Association

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