Senior members and supporters of Europe’s populist right parties met in Vienna on Friday to discuss the growing success of their movement, and their plans for the future of the European Union.
Star of the show, a meeting to mark the first anniversary of the founding of the Europe of Nations and Freedoms group was French Front National leader Marine Le Pen, hosted in Vienna by Heinz-Christian Strache and Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party of Austria. Just weeks ago Mr. Hofer came within less than a percent of winning the Austrian presidential election, a result that is now being contested by his Freedom Party for Austria (FPO), over alleged rigged postal ballots.
Despite there being no representation from British freedom-focussed party UKIP, Britain’s impending vote on their continued membership of the European Union figured large in proceedings, and Le Pen — who was introduced on-stage as the “future president of France” — made her enthusiasm for it clear.
Explaining the massive resistance to Britain’s votes among the establishment and that she wanted to see the freedom bug spread across the continent, Le Pen said the elites of Europe “are scared that the United Kingdom is regaining its liberty, its freedom to trade with whom it pleases”.
“We want all the peoples of Europe to take back these liberties. The will of the people has to be respected”.
Marine Le Pen said if she was successful in becoming the next President of the French Republic — which judging by her latest polls is not at all a mere pipe dream — she would give the French people their own referendum, labelling herself “Madame Frexit”. Indeed, she remarked that: “France possibly has a thousand more reasons to want to leave the EU than the English”.
Considering a different method of travel for friendly European nations that didn’t necessarily want or need to enter political union in order to cooperate and trade, Ms. Le Pen said it was time “to spread this idea of Europe ‘a la carte’ that some countries have already attained, like Denmark… and Britain of course”. This, she said was the only way to “ensure a prosperous and peaceful future” in a bloc riven by “confusion and chaos”.
She said that the EU elites wanted “nations to disappear to create a great uniform whole… unable to manage our own budgets, our economic policy and to decide who can come to ou countries.
FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache concurred with the sentiment, remarking “We don’t want Europe to be a carbon copy of the United States… We want a Europe of fatherlands… The new fascism comes from the left and from radical Islam”.
He said: “Across Europe there is terror”, “mass sexual harassment” and “no-go areas”, remarking “all of this has become possible because our politicians governing today no longer look after their own people. Away with these incompetent and unwilling politicians”.
Guests from other countries also contributed to the conversation at the Patriotic Spring conference. Among delegations from France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Romania, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Czech Republic was Polish member of the European parliament Michal Marusik who explained why Poland had such little immigration. He said the country demanded much from new arrivals and gave little, and “does not permit foreign immigrants sucking on the teat to draw blood”, reports Kurier.
Agency France Presse contributed to this story.