‘Patriotic Spring’: Populist Parties to Meet in Vienna

Next week the head of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) will meet with French Front National leader Marine Le Pen to celebrate a “Patriotic Spring” event near Vienna, along with representatives from other right wing European parties.

It will be the second such event in the space of a week for FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache, who today joined Alternative for Germany (AfD) head Frauke Petry on a cable car ride. The Eurosceptic leaders enjoyed a “summit” at the summit of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain, where they posed with a pint to toast their parties’ closer cooperation.

Mr. Strache will on Friday be accompanied by another right-wing European party leader, Front National’s Marine Le Pen, at an event. The “Patriotic Spring” celebration that the politicians will attend is in Vosendorf, on the southern outskirts of Vienna.

The FPÖ leader posted the information flyer for the event on Facebook on Thursday, saying he’ll be pleased to be meeting with the party’s European partners. Among the others attending, according to the poster, are Germany’s AfD, the Netherlands’ Party for Freedom (PVV) and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang (VB).

 

Mr. Strache’s meeting with Marine Le Pen, who according to polls could become president of France in 2017, is related to an “increasingly publicly operated network” of the FPÖ with similar European parties, according to Die Presse.

At their meeting on the Zugspitze today, Ms. Petry and Mr. Strache said that while they are in favour of European cooperation, they reject the “current, centralised model” of the European Union. Together the FPÖ and Front National sit in the European Parliament in the “Europe of Nations and Freedom” group.

After Left-Green politician Alexander Van der Bellen defeated FPÖ candidate Norbert Hofer in Austria’s presidential election last month, the FPÖ have said they will contest the outcome. The results of the election were “photo finish” and irregularities in votes were detected in 94 out of 117 electoral districts. Such inconsistencies included postal votes and evidence of non-citizens and under 16s having cast votes.


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