Warsaw, Poland – Italy’s Matteo Salvini has been dreaming of an EU-wide alliance of far-right and Eurosceptic parties. But behind their supposedly shared stance on immigration, Europe’s right-wing populists are unable to find much common ground.
Poland rules out cooperation with EU’s far-right alliance
This week, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party ruled out joining the EU’s far-right alliance put together by Italy’s strongman Matteo Salvini and composed of members from the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group in the European Parliament.
PiS chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski pointed out that Law and Justice could never join forces with the ENF due to the pro-Russian stances of its main member parties, including Matteo Salvini’s League (Italy), Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (France) and Alternative for Germany.
“When it comes to M. Salvini, here we have a problem that he wants to create a new group with formations that we aren’t able to accept […] under any circumstances”, Kaczynski told private broadcaster Radio Wnet.
Warsaw is one of the EU’s most vocal critics against Russia, and had already made clear in the past that it would never join an alliance with European parties harboring strong links with Moscow.
A few weeks ahead of the EU elections, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen had tried to court Poland’s conservative ruling party, saying PiS would be “welcome” in a pan-European alliance: “If Poland does not want closer relations with Russia, no one is forcing them to”, Marine Le Pen said, urging Europe’s far-right to put aside policy differences in order not to “prevent the possibility of the formation of this very large group”.
Salvini’s plans for pan-EU alliance hits roadblock in Central Europe
Earlier this month, Salvini’s plans for a pan-European alliance of far-right, anti-immigration parties faced another setback when Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party also ruled out being a part of the grouping: “I don’t see much chance for a cooperation on a party level or in a joint parliamentary group”, Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyás said, after months of speculation and a carefully-displayed bromance between Hungary’s Premier and Salvini.
According to analysts, Orban is trying to accommodate his allies from the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), the biggest group in the EU Parliament from which Fidesz was temporarily suspended earlier this year and where he hopes to wield greater influence on EU policy-making.
Poland’s Law and Justice party, meanwhile, is expected to remain in the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) grouping, which holds around 60 seats in the EU Parliament (including MEP’s from the British Conservative Party, who are due to leave once the U.K. officially exits the EU).