The Italian far-right leader Matteo Salvini says he is “waiting” for Nigel Farage and the British Brexit Party to join his new European alliance. The European Alliance of People and Nations currently includes the likes of the French Front National, the Austria Freedom Party, the Danish People’s Party and Alternative for Germany (AfD), all parties with significant racist tendencies.
Despite stating previously that he formed the Brexit Party to escape increasing extremism in the now openly Islamophobic UKIP, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has as of yet refused to rule out joining the far-right union.
“I’m waiting for Nigel Farage. We can work together, I hope”Matteo Salvini, BBC
Supported by Front National leader Marine Le Pen, the invitation by Salvini has raised new concerns surrounding the Brexit Party’s intentions once elected, currently standing with no manifesto or policy beyond Brexit.
Having formed the new alliance last month, Salvini hopes to assume the leadership position of the entire European far-right should the Italian League be successful in this week’s European elections, stating that the goals of the new group are to assume control of EU institutions.
Current polls from across the EU suggest that far-right parties will win a historic amount of votes and form one of the largest blocs in the European Parliament should they remain united. The addition of the Brexit Party would ensure a massive boost to the new group, allowing the far-right to influence more committees and implement their policies and ideology across the continent.
However, faced with an increased level of scrutiny, not everything is going as well for the far-right as perhaps they would like, including for Matteo Salvini himself where polls numbers are falling amidst increasing levels of protest in his native Italy.
Meanwhile, the Austrian Freedom Party plunged Austria into a political crisis after the resigning from the government under a cloud of scandal.
Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache and Freedom Party deputy leader Johann Gudenus were seen in a leaked 2017 video that saw Strache offering government contracts to a woman who claimed to be related to Russian oligarch Igor Makarov, Makarov since denying any knowledge of the woman.
The video also showed Strache openly discussing ways to avoid financing laws and suggesting he would be willing to ensure that the woman would be able to take control of an Austrian tabloid newspaper in order to suppress press freedoms. Strache indicated that such practices were common amongst donors to the Freedom Party.