Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, has responded ferociously to a report that she is “flirting” with Golden Dawn, the far-right Greek party many in the political mainstream called neo-Nazi.
With just hours to go before the elections to the European Parliament, her office issued a blistering statement to Euractiv, a Brussels-based online journal close to the EU establishment, denouncing their report of a post-election alliance between her party and Golden Dawn as “false and defamatory.”
Any agreement with Golden Dawn is “excluded,” the statement says.
Certainly an affiliation between Front National and Golden Dawn, two of whose members in the Greek parliament are in prison under pre-trial detention on charges of running a criminal organisation, would damage the National Front in the eyes of French voters.
Instead, Le Pen has forged an election alliance with the right-wing, anti-EU Dutch Freedom Party of Geert Wilders, an alliance which apparently damaged Wilders’ party when the Dutch went to the polls on Thursday.
More, it is unlikely Le Pen would want to be seen supporting any Greek party after the National Front’s repeated attacks on billions in eurozone bailout money, much of it at the expense of French taxpayers, being poured into Greece following its economic collapse.
Despite repeated unambiguous denials by the Front National, Euractiv on Friday published a headline which read: “Marine Le Pen and Golden Dawn ‘flirting.'” Further down in the story there was a sub-heading which claimed: “the flirting has already started.”
The report from Euractiv Greece admitted that “Marine Le Pen has sought to distance the National Front from Golden Dawn and other parties it sees as being too extremist,” but qualified this by saying this was “officially” the position.
It then quoted from Golden Dawn’s website in which the party makes reference to press reports in France suggesting that “Le Pen’s National Front has expectations to cooperate with the Greek neo-Nazi party after the EU elections.”
The report quotes the article, written in Greek: “In case Golden Dawn gets high results, Mrs Le Pen is mulling sending a congratulation letter [to Golden Dawn], a fact that will result in advancing a flirt that has already started between the French far-right and Greek Golden Dawn.”
However, the statement from Le Pen’s office said “The remarks made by this representative are his opinion alone. We deny having any link with the Greek Golden Dawn. Any agreement with this movement is excluded. This article is false and defamatory.”
Euractiv ran this statement at the bottom of the story, but continued to have the story and its headline about “flirting” between the Front National and Golden Dawn at the top of its news page on Saturday.
Golden Dawn denies it is extremist, neo-Nazi or fascist. It has 18 MPs in the Greek parliament of 300 members, and while it has no members of the European Parliament, a list of candidates is standing in the elections on Sunday.