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France’s Marine Le Pen courts Hungarian and Polish right-wing leaders

Paris, France – France’s Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party (former National Front), is attempting to court the nationalist and conservative leaders of Hungary and Poland ahead of this month’s EU elections.

France’s Marine Le Pen reaches out to Hungary’s reluctant Orban

Marine Le Pen said that Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party, who was recently suspended from the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), would be welcome in the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) party, to which France’s National Rally belongs along with the League of Italy’s strongman Matteo Salvini and other far-right movements.

“It’s for M. Orban to see if he finds more political coherence with the members of the EPP who voted against him, who voted for the forced relocation of migrants (…), or if he finds more political coherence with movements such as ours”, she said.

After months of growing tensions between Fidesz and other EPP national parties, the EPP decided to temporarily suspend Orban’s party but refused to expel it, due to fears the Hungarian leader might forge new alliances elsewhere and thus jeopardize the EPP’s position as the strongest political grouping in the European Parliament.

Viktor Orban, however, repeatedly said he would never work with Marine Le Pen and her National Rally party, reaffirming his stance on the issue in a recent interview with French weekly Le Point.

Poland’s PiS would also be “welcome” in far-right European alliance

Talking during a meeting in Brussels to show her support for Belgium’s far-right Vlaams Belang party, Nation Rally leader Marine Le Pen said that Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party would also be welcome in the ENF group (PiS is currently a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists party).

She addressed PiS’ main concerns in joining a group that includes France’s National Rally and Italy’s League: both parties’ close relationship with Russia. “If Poland does not want closer relations with Russia, no one is forcing them to”, adding: “These differences […] mustn’t prevent the possibility of the formation of this very large group”.

Towards an EU-wide alliance of far-right, populist parties?

Marine Le Pen’s ally in the ENF group, Italian deputy-Prime Minister and League leader Matteo Salvini, has has been working on an alliance of anti-migration, populist, right-wing parties – many of whom are currently scattered in different EU groups and de-facto rivals – ahead of this month’s election.

Salvini, who was in Hungary last week to meet with the Hungarian Prime Minister, has also been courting Orban to join his cause. And although the two men regularly put their alleged ‘bromance’ on display, no official agreement between Hungary’s Fidesz and Italy’s League has been reached for the moment.

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