Wanted as a show of force, the big gathering planned Saturday, May 18 in Milan by the Italian right-wing Deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini, will not radiate as widely as hoped by his instigator. The initiative was to crowned the alliance of the nationalist euroscepticist camp to form "The most important group in Parliament" in Strasbourg after the elections of 26 May, and to prepare for "To appoint the commissioners of the next Commission". Will the goal be achieved?
New recruits and important defections
The leader of the League can boast of having gathered around him heavyweights such as the German AfD, the National Rally (RN), the Austrian FPÖ, as well as the Danish People's Party and the True Finns. The spearhead of the anti-migrants line in Europe has been able to attract candidates from its gravitational field who are not, however, part of the same political group in the European Parliament. This is the case, for example, of Olli Kotro of the True Finns, or Anders Vistisen of the Danish People's Party, who are part of the European Conservatives and Reformists (CRE), while the Italian League is a member of the Europe of Nations group and freedoms (ENL) just like the RN.
European elections: who are the allies of Le Pen and Salvini?
On the other hand, his efforts to seduce the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, or the PiS, in power in Poland, will have been in vain. For Warsaw, very suspicious vis-à-vis Moscow, impossible to associate with ENL group deemed very close to the Kremlin, despite the perceps stretched by Marine Le Pen. "If Poland does not want stronger relations with Russia, nobody forces it to do so" she tried on May 5 in Brussels. Without success.
As for Viktor Orban, temporarily suspended from the European Right (EPP) because of his authoritarian excesses, he is content to flirt with the far right, even to blow the hot and cold. The Hungarian Prime Minister has certainly received Matteo Salvini in Budapest on May 2nd, promising a future " collaboration ". Three days before that, he met Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache (FPÖ). He also said he wants to get closer to Jaroslaw Kaczynski's PiS. That did not prevent him, at the beginning of the week, in an interview granted to Bernard-Henri Lévy for the review The Atlanticto refuse any alliance with the National Gathering.
The Milan meeting will be a milestone provided that the decision is made for the participants to join a broad coalition with a program. "Otherwise, it will be a rally like there have been so many, and to which we have given too much importance," Anaïs Voy-Gillis, a member of the European Monitoring Center on Extremities, believes.
According to projections, the eurosceptic camp will be able to occupy between 170 and 180 seats in the future Parliament out of 751. But for the moment, this segment of the hemicycle is divided into three groups with strategies, positions and levels of radicalism. quite distinct (read the landmarks). However, the fidelity of the parties which compose them, all relative, can change according to circumstances. "The truth about the potential of a far-right far-right will actually come out of the polls on May 26th. The alliances will be after the results, depending on who will really be on the market, predicts specialist Jean-Yves Camus. My belief is that there may be one less group, but certainly not something totally unified. "
Is the rise of populism inevitable?
For him, the differences are too strong to unite everyone under one banner. "The National Rally, which has begun a process of de-demonization, does not want to be associated with the Greek Golden Dawn, and its Cypriot counterpart, which legitimizes violence as political action. It will not be the Slovak People's Party, which brings together all the signs of fascism, " explains Jean-Yves Camus.
The incentive to regroup is however strong because it saves time, legitimacy and financial means. "In the exercise of his duties, a broad alliance could put pressure on the EPP Conservatives to toughen the immigration guidelines," adds Anais Voy-Gillis.
A recurring dream
Bringing the nationalists of the continent into a confederation is an old moon of the far right. "Patriots of all countries, unite! " already launched Jean-Marie Le Pen onst May 1996, during her traditional speech in front of the statue of Joan of Arc in Paris.
The foundation of the ENL Group in 2015, and its resistance in time, was not won. It has been possible at the cost of significant convergence efforts, and the mothballing of angry subjects. The league of the north, become the League in 2017, abandoned a regional identity that did not suit the French nationalist party. The NR has muted its desire to get out of the euro and the EU, which has made it more compatible with parties in northern Europe.
At the roots of European populism
Even if a great alliance would be registered, its solidity in time would remain a question, so much the disagreements persist. On economic issues, the European Conservatives and Reformists group is profoundly liberal, as is the Austrian FPÖ despite its membership in the ENL group.
The National Gathering, on the contrary, defends "economic patriotism". The party of Matteo Salvini supports the NATO while the RN strongly opposes it. "The League and the RN, in the midst of an internal reorganization, are still fighting for leadership European, notes Francisco Roa Bastos, researcher at the CNRS, specialist of European political parties. The suspicions of fictitious jobs that weigh on the party of Marine Le Pen, if the justice confirms them, could be right of this cohesion of facade in the next mandate ".
To read: 2019 European elections results: access from the evening of 26 May to the full national results
In the European Parliament, three distinct nationalist groups
To form a group in the European Parliamentit is necessary to bring together 25 MEPs from at least seven different countries. Today, all MEPs who can unite around the rejection of immigration, euroscepticism and hostility to Islam covers three groups in the European Parliament.
The group of European Conservatives and Reformists (CRE, 75 seats), in which we find the Polish PiS and the British Tories, even if the United Kingdom is destined to leave the EU. He represents the anti-federalist right.
The Europe group of freedom and direct democracy (ELDD, 42 MEPs), is composed of parties as distinct as the Italian 5-Star Movement and the British Europhobes of the Brexit Party (former Ukip).
The group Europe of nations and freedoms (ENL, 37 seats) is marked by ultra sovereignism. It stands out for pro-Kremlin positions (Italian League, National Rally, Party for the Freedom of the Netherlands, Austrian FPÖ).
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