Far-right leaders from across Europe are set to gather in Prague later today, their meeting coming ahead of the forthcoming EU elections where they are expected to see huge gains across the continent.
Amongst those speaking at the event will be French National Rally (formerly National Front) leader Marine Le Pen and the notorious Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders. The leader of the Italian League Matteo Salvini will send a video message.
The latest gathering comes as the far-right grows ever closer across the continent, the likes of Le Pen and Salvini trying to form one unified ideological and political force, reportedly with the assistance of former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon.
Should the block be a success, Salvini and Le Pen will both be looking to position themselves as the figurehead of the European far-right movement.
“Salvini will have the upper hand in policymaking, the more so that he will most probably become prime minister. Le Pen will be very active in the European Parliament – she can’t really show her best in French politics so she uses the parliament as her second platform.”Jan Kubacek, Czech political analyst
Hosting the event will be Tomio Okamura of the Czech far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy party.
“Polls have shown our Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) faction led by Matteo Salvini, Marine Le Pen, Austria’s Freedom Party and others has a chance to form one of the strongest groups in the European Parliament. This would enable us to implement fundamental changes aimed at ensuring the freedom and sovereignty of individual European states without orders from Brussels.”Tomio Okamura
Other parties in the faction include the islamophobic Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Denmark’s People’s Party. One point of contention between the parties is the role of the EU, with France’s Le Pen said to now favour staying inside the institution to mould it toward the far-right, while others remain pro-exit.
The far-right have had numerous gains and victories over the past month, with reports indicating swelling support for the AfD in Germany, for Vox in Spain and the far-right EKRE party even entering government in Estonia. One point of hope for the left, however, came in Finland as the Social democrats saw off the Finns Party standing on a platform of anti-austerity.