After their success in the European Parliament elections in May 2014, Europe’s new right is moving to consolidate its organizational structure. In June of last year, the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Nigel Farage, created the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy faction out of Eurosceptic movements within the European Parliament (48 deputies). In March of this year, Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) won 25% of the votes in local elections and strengthened its position as France’s second biggest political party. In some French regions, Le Pen’s party is eclipsing Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP.
The National Front advocates for the withdrawal of France from the European Union, for a shift toward rational protectionism and state support for French manufacturers, for an end to immigration that is distorting the very face of France, and for a return to traditional values, while encouraging large families and the preservation of French culture. Marine Le Pen herself is getting ready to fight for the French presidency in the 2017 elections.
On June 16, the leader of the National Front announced the formation of a new faction in the European Parliament – the Europe of Nations and Freedom. In addition to the European Parliament deputies from the FN, the new group includes representatives from the Dutch Party for Freedom, the Freedom Party of Austria, Italy’s Northern League, Belgium’s Flemish Interest, one deputy from Britain’s UKIP, and two from Poland’s Congress of the New Right.
In all, the new faction has 36 members from seven countries and is chaired by Marine Le Pen. The creation of this group will make it possible to influence which resolutions are passed or blocked, while safeguarding the right to take part in parliamentary debates. Permanent access to the parliamentary rostrum will strengthen the new right’s influence on public opinion in the EU member states. «I am happy to announce the beginning of the group, Europe of Nations and Freedoms. We’re here for our peoples, for their freedoms. We will be a political force that cannot be compared to our previous situation», Marine Le Pen told reporters in Brussels. She emphasized that the new coalition would fight against «unbridled globalization».
The FN’s leader is convinced that «the EU is not the right way». Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, stated, «Today it’s D-Day, we are at the beginning of our liberation», commenting on the creation of the Europe of Nations and Freedoms faction. His party has pledged to fight mass immigration and the Islamization of Europe. «We need to regain control of our borders, our money, and our laws – everything that the EU has taken from us», claims Wilders.
The Eurosceptics’ successes in the most recent elections in Denmark, Poland, Spain, Great Britain, and Finland show that the bureaucracy in Brussels is facing growing problems. Centrifugal forces are intensifying in many countries at the heart of the EU. Greece, where the SYRIZA coalition is in power, is on the verge of default and could exit the Eurozone. The UK – and quite likely Denmark as well – are facing referendums about leaving the EU. In Spain and Portugal the leftist opponents of supranational structures have seen an increase in support. In Poland, a new president has been elected who is no less a Eurosceptic than the British. Parties critical of the EU have now joined the Finnish government. The office of the prime minister in Hungary is held by a Eurosceptic whom the president of the European Commission once called a «dictator».
It is noteworthy that amidst the protests that swept Europe during the recent G7 summit in Bavaria, the European Parliament has not been able to establish its position on the forthcoming agreement regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States. And it has been unable to do so because the opponents of America’s economic subjugation of Europe have proposed two hundred amendments to the resolution. Realizing that the failure of the resolution would be a major blow for Angela Merkel, European Parliament President Martin Schulz did not attend the meeting and shelved the vote. As a representative of the French Green Party, Yannick Jadot, noted, «The European Parliament is afraid of voting, afraid of debate, and afraid of European citizens».
The next day, an MEP from the National Front, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, speaking during a parliamentary debate, stated that a coup d’état backed by the United States had taken place in Ukraine, and he urged his European colleagues to develop their own development strategy and not to blindly follow a United States that was seeking to «cut Europe in two».
Marine Le Pen had previously declared in February that France should recognize the reunification of Crimea with Russia. «We have no alternative», she said. «We were dealing with a coup. Neo-Nazi militants had orchestrated a revolution in Ukraine». Marine Le Pen insists that Russia «is a natural ally of Europe» and shares «many common strategic interests» with that continent. And according to the leader of the French National Front, the sanctions against Russia introduced by the EU under US pressure are «a shameful measure», the only result of which has been an increase in the economic difficulties faced by the countries of the EU. «Why do we need the European Union, which was conceived as a center of political power, if it now takes orders from the United States?» asks Marine Le Pen.