The the success of Donald Trump in the United States and victory of Eurosceptic, anti mass-migration candidate Norbert Hofer in the first round of Austrian presidential elections at the weekend had emboldened the European right, and has inspired a new generation of political slogans.
Following in the footsteps of would-be presidential wall builder Trump, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom and leading anti-Islamism campaigner Geert Wilders MP took to micro-blogging platform Twitter last night to declare: “Make the Netherlands Great Again!”.
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) April 26, 2016
The slogan follows that iconic rallying call of Donald Trump, and was followed in the early hours of this morning with a forward-looking message, anticipating the next Dutch general election: “On March 15, 2017 we will return the Netherlands to the Dutch”.
Op uiterlijk 15 maart 2017 gaan we
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) April 27, 2016
The slogans are in a similar, confident tone to that of Austrian presidential hopeful and first-place candidate Norbert Hofer, who had campaigned under the message “Austria First!”. While the mainstream and social media in many European nations reacted to his success with undisguised contempt, he has received messages of support from accross the continent. Mr. Wilders was among those offering congratulations, remarking the vote was “fantastic”.
Mr. Hofer’s Freedom Party for Austria (FPO) is the lone voice in his country speaking out against the European Union, and is the strongest critic of the migrant crisis. A year ago mainstream Austrian parties reacted with horror to the notion of building a border fence and criticised Hungarian leader Viktor Orban in the strongest terms for doing so in his country.
But now the centre of Austrian politics has shifted toward Mr. Hofer and the FPO, and Austria is rapidly building minor border defences of their own, and today is eyeing emergency powers to dramatically limit the number of migrants who will be allowed to enter the nation for the rest of the year.
Dutch Freedom Party leader Mr. Wilders is presently being subjected to a court trial over remarks he made in 2014, which the Dutch government contends were hateful and an incitement to violence. Making his opening remarks for the trial in March, the validity of many complainant’s statements for which has been called into serious doubt, Mr. Wilders said:
“Mr President, Members of the Court, this is nothing but deception, manipulation, intimidation, ignorance, it is a scam. It is incredibly shocking”.
“Because in front of you stands a politician.
“And he is being prosecuted because he has voiced a political opinion”.
Mr. Wilders’ trial will resume in August.