Far-right parties from 16 EU countries, including Frances’ Rassemblement National, Poland’s PiS, Hungary’s Fidesz, and Italy’s Lega, united on Friday (2 July) with the declared objective of making their voice heard in the context of the debate on the future of Europe.
According to press releases, the leaders of “right-wing parties” signed simultaneously in several European capitals a document calling for deep reform of the EU, because in their words, “instead of protecting Europe and its heritage, it is itself becoming a source of problems and anxiety”.
A conference of signatories of the letter is planned for September in Warsaw
The document is signed by Jarosław Kaczyński (PiS, Poland), Giorgia Meloni (Brothers of Italy), Santiago Abascal (VOX, Spain), Viktor Orbán (Fidesz, Hungary), Matteo Salvini (Lega, Italy), Marine le Pen (RN, France) and several other right-wing parties from Bulgaria (VMRO), Austria (FPÖ), Belgium (Vlaams Belang), Denmark (Dansk Folkeparti), Estonia (EKRE), Finland (Perussuomalaiset), Greece (Ellinikí Lýsi), Netherlands(Ja21), Lithuania (Lietuvos lenkų rinkimų akcija) and Romania (Partidul Național Țărănesc Creștin Democrat).
“The cooperation of European nations should be based on tradition, respect for the culture and history of European states, respect for Europe’s Judeo-Christian heritage and the common values that unite our nations, and not on their destruction,” the signatories point out.
Leaders of right-wing parties emphasise that the document is a response to the beginning of the debate on the future of Europe. They underline “that the use of political structures and the law to create a European superstate and new social structures is a manifestation of the dangerous and invasive social engineering known from the past, which must provoke legitimate resistance”.
“The moralistic overactivity that we have seen in recent years in the EU institutions has resulted in a dangerous tendency to impose an ideological monopoly,” reads the statement.
The signatories of the document appear to take aim at the EU institutions such as the Commission or the European Court of Justice, which have put pressure on Poland and Hungary on issues ranging from subjugating the judiciary to stigmatising the LGBT community.
“In order to stop and reverse this trend, it is necessary to create, in addition to the existing principle of conferral, a set of inviolable competences of the European Union’s member states, and an appropriate mechanism for their protection with the participation of national constitutional courts or equivalent bodies,” the joint text reads.
“All attempts to transform European institutions into bodies that take precedence over national constitutional institutions create chaos, undermine the sense of the treaties, question the fundamental role of member states’ constitutions, and the resulting disputes over competences are in effect settled by the brutal imposition of the will of politically stronger entities on weaker ones,” it says.
“This destroys the basis for the functioning of the European community as a community of free nations,” reads the statement.
Instead, the signatories plead for “family values” as a solution to curbing negative demographic trends.
The European Parliament S&D group didn’t take long to react, reminding that nationalism led to World War II. The group leader Iratxe García Pérez stated that “the extreme right has got a twisted vision of patriotism”.
“It excludes anyone who doesn’t think like them, and that is a clear threat to Europe. Nationalism led to WWII. The European Union not only brought peace, but it allows us to face problems together: the recovery plan to overcome the crisis, a strategy to vaccinate all Europeans, free movement and having a voice in the world”, García Pérez stated.
In her words, this extreme right, populistic and nationalistic alliance would not last very long.
“Those who are unable to cooperate end up fighting each other, as we already saw in previous such experiments in the European Parliament”, she stated.
Asked to comment on the developments, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša hinted that his party too might leave the centre-right political family. Janša is an admirer of Viktor Orban, who last March left the centre-right European Peoples’ Party (EPP) to avoid being kicked out.
“We entered the European People’s Party when this party started to enlarge. And this was the golden era of the EPP. We are still fighting for this project and I think there will be some changes in the future, toward the original idea of the EPP. It is called the “people’s party,” so it has to be strong and in the centre of the political spectrum. If this is not the case, there are other options,” said Janša, whose country is in charge of the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.