Radical Right-Wing Factions Unite in Europe

January 21, 2017; Deutsche Welle

The Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) faction held a summit on January 21st in the German city of Koblenz. The coalition is led by five notoriously radical, extreme-right-wing politicians in Europe: Frauke Petry, head of Germany’s Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party; Marine Le Pen, presidential candidate and head of France’s National Front party; Geert Wilders, leader of The Netherlands’ Party for Freedom (PVV); Harald Vilimsky, Secretary General of Austria’s Freedom Party (FPӦ); and Italy’s Northern League leader, Matteo Salvini. Galvanized by the UK’s shock vote in June last year to leave the European Union, as well as Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the US, Europe’s nationalists are more than content to ride the populist wave into 2017. Deutsche Welle describes all five leaders as the “leading faces—but not necessarily members—of the European Parliament’s right-wing.” Dubbed the “European Counter-Summit“ event, it gathered Euro-skeptic groups who believe that the best thing for Europe is the demise of the European Union. The event underscored a united call for a so-called “patriotic spring.” At least that’s what Wilders advocated in his speech, which was said to have been met with “rapturous” applause.