Victory at the polls later this year for Alternative for Germany (AfD), or Marine Le Pen in France would be a “disaster” that would “destroy Europe”, Spain’s Prime Minister said on Thursday.
In an interview with radio station Onda Cero, Mariano Rajoy slammed populism, claiming it “serves only to create poverty and division”, and ranted against anti-mass migration and Eurosceptic movements that are growing in power across Europe.
“I don’t even want to think about it, that would be a disaster. It would simply mean the destruction of Europe,” the Peoples Party (PP) prime minister said when asked about the possibility of populists coming to power in elections due to take place this year in Germany and France.
“Mrs Le Pen has announced plans for a referendum. She wants [France] to leave Europe, as if Europe were the source of all misfortunes. I would like it if she visited the rest of the world,” he said.
Insisting that electoral victories for right wing populist parties are “not going to happen”, the PP leader went on to predict that “things will turn out alright in Germany and I am absolutely convinced there won’t be a problem in France.
“It is essential for the future of Europe that the elections in Germany and France go well,” Rajoy added.
Speaking at a conference on Friday, Vox founder José Antonio Ortega Lara blasted the prime minister’s comments on populism and said ‘cowardly’ politicians in the nominally conservative PP have abandoned Spain to the left, causing a “moral and economic crisis” in the country.
Ortega Lara was a politician in the PP from 1987 to 2008 and then in 2014 launched Vox as a new Eurosceptic, socially conservative party which is critical of multiculturalism. He said Rajoy and his fellow PP members failed to defend Spain against “forty years of left wing indoctrination”, allowing a culture of superficiality and moral relativism to take hold.
“The peoples of Europe and Spain have abandoned our principles, and are now reaping the results in the form of frustration, loneliness, lack of understanding and loneliness, much loneliness” he said, speaking at the Asturian Press Club.
Vox was among the parties which assembled in Koblenz this week for the meeting of the Europe of Nations and Freedom parliamentary group, alongside Le Pen’s Front National and AfD.