Populist leaders take steps towards building ‘big European force’, says Le Pen

4 December 2021, 17:54

Marine Le Pen
Poland Europe Populists. Picture: PA

Right-wing leaders from across Europe have vowed closer cooperation after a meeting in Poland.

European right-wing populist leaders have declared they will cooperate more closely at the European Union’s parliament in order to defend the sovereignty of the bloc’s 27 member nations.

A statement at the end of a meeting in Warsaw, Poland, fell short of a declaration to create a new alliance at the European Parliament – an idea that some of the party leaders have sought, but has so far not materialised.

However, French far-right party leader Marine Le Pen said the meeting was “a key step” towards closer cooperation.

Viktor Orban and Marine Le Pen
Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban and French far-right leader Marine Le Pen (AP)

The summit brought together party leaders from more than a dozen nations united in conservative values, nationalism and a sense that the EU is taking powers for itself never given to it in the union’s treaties.

“It’s a step forward that is very welcome and allows me to be very optimistic about the future,” Ms Le Pen said.

The party leaders agreed to meet at least every two months at the European Parliament, while another meeting is planned in Spain in two months “to continue to move forward on strengthening and creating that big European force”, Ms Le Pen added.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s nationalist ruling party, hosted the meeting, which was also attended by Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban and the leader of Spain’s far-right Vox party, Santiago Abascal.

The event follows a joint declaration by 16 right-wing parties in July and a visit by Ms Le Pen to Budapest in October.

Populist European leaders
Poland’s conservative ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, left, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, right, and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, back left, stand together during a meeting of conservative populist party leaders in Warsaw (AP)

The meeting was also a show of solidarity for the Polish and Hungarian governments from like-minded politicians.

The governments of the two central European nations remain locked in a bitter stand-off with the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, which is withholding funds to both countries over democratic backsliding.

Warsaw and Budapest argue that the commission is taking a step that never was laid out in any EU treaties.

The statement Saturday said the populists need a model of cooperation to “put a stop to the disturbing idea of creating a Europe governed by a self-appointed elite”.

“We reject the arbitrary application of union law, bending or even violating the treaties. Only the sovereign institutions of the states have full democratic legitimacy,” it added.

Marine Le Pen
Ms Le Pen at the memorial to the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, in Warsaw (AP)

They also lashed out at internal guidelines the Commission had proposed substituting the term “Christmas period” for “holiday period”.

The EU retracted it after a backlash from conservatives and the Vatican.

Citing that incident, the populists said they objected to attempts “to ideologically alter our languages is a way which will detach a human being from their culture and heritage”.

Wojciech Przybylski, editor-in-chief of Visegrad Insight, a policy journal focused on Central Europe, said there is a paradox in a “transnational meeting of nationalist parties”.

He thinks the Warsaw event was organised so the party leaders can show their voters “they are not alone”.

Both the Hungarian and Polish ruling parties, he noted, are “in deep trouble”, with Mr Orban’s Fidesz party forced to leave the main group of conservatives at the European Parliament and Poland’s governing populists seeing a drop in popularity at home.

Marine Le Pen
Ms Le Pen and other far-right leaders want to work together to bring change to the European Union, which they accuse of acting like a super-state (AP)

“This is essentially a PR stunt,” Mr Przybylski said.

The Poles’ welcome of Ms Le Pen marks a recent change of heart for Poland’s governing conservatives, who had long refused to cooperate with the French presidential candidate due to her warm relations with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Ms Le Pen’s stance has been a taboo in Poland, a country long dominated by Russian and Soviet rule.

“We have as much in common with Ms Le Pen as with Mr Putin,” Mr Kaczynski remarked in 2017.

As Saturday’s meeting opened in a hotel, a small group of protesters outside blew whistles and yelled accusations that the leaders were extremists serving the interests of the Kremlin.

The demonstrators held signs saying “Russian pact”, and chanted: “Warsaw free from fascism!”

Polish party officials defended the meeting with Ms Le Pen, arguing that Europe’s mainstream leaders have done much more than Ms Le Pen to help the Kremlin – citing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which has been supported by outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Former US president Donald Trump gestures as he departs Trump Tower on Wednesday August 10 2022 in New York

Donald Trump says he took the fifth amendment in New York investigation

Former US president Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower, late on Tuesday August 9 2022, in New York

Donald Trump arrives to give evidence in New York investigation

Taiwan’s military conducts artillery live-fire drills at Fangshan township in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, Tuesday, August 9, 2022

China appears to wind down threatening war games near Taiwan

People line up to enter an H&M shop and buy items on sale in the Aviapark shopping centre in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday August 9 2022

Russians buy last goods from H&M and Ikea as stores wind down

Tom Daley blames 'legacy of colonialism' for homophobia in the Commonwealth

Tom Daley blames British Empire's legacy of colonialism' for homophobic laws in Commonwealth nations

France Whale in Seine

Beluga whale stranded in French river dies, authorities say

Rising smoke can be seen from the beach at Saky after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea

Ukraine says nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in Crimea blasts

French police shoot dead knifeman in Charles de Gaulle airport

Knifeman shot dead by police in packed terminal at Paris's biggest airport

Russia Ukraine

Large explosions rock Russian air base in Crimea

Chinese officials shared images from social media site Weibo of the Chinese military drills.

China's new invasion threat as it warns it is 'ready to use all necessary measures' to retake Taiwan

This photo released Tuesday, August 9, 2022, by the Albuquerque Police Department shows Muhammad Syed, 51, who was taken into custody on Monday in connection with the killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico, over the last nine months

‘Motive unclear’ as man charged with killing fellow Muslims in Albuquerque

Yaser Said walks into the courtroom for his trial, Tuesday, August 9, 2022, in the Frank Crowley Criminal Courts Building in Dallas

‘Abusive’ father who evaded police for 12 years convicted of killing daughters

Albuquerque Muslim Killings

Man charged with killing two Muslim men in US city

Emmett Till

Grand jury declines to indict woman whose accusation set off lynching in 1955

Albuquerque Muslim Killings

‘Primary suspect’ held over killings of Muslim men in New Mexico

Israel Palestinians

Militants killed by Israeli troops in West Bank as violence resumes