Radical rightwing parties sign eurosceptic declaration

Radical rightwing parties sign eurosceptic declaration
Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki (l), PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and Hungarian PM Viktor Orban in Warsaw in January 2020.
By bne IntelliNews July 5, 2021

Sixteen European radical rightwing parties signed a common declaration on July 2 that criticises the European Union for its federalist ambitions and calls for strengthening nation states. The declaration marks another building block in the attempt to create a strong radical rightwing grouping in the European Parliament.

Poland's Law and Justice party and Italy's Lega were among the parties to issue the declaration jointly with Hungary's Fidesz.

"The EU is becoming more and more a tool of radical forces that would like to carry out a cultural, religious transformation and ultimately a nationless construction of Europe, aiming to create a European superstate,” the parties wrote in the declaration.

"We are convinced that 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," according to the statement.

The parties that signed the declaration also included France’s National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, Austria’s Freedom Party, Spain’s Vox and Italy’s Brothers of Italy led by Giorgia Meloni the head of ECR.

The signatories come from Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the Identity and Democracy (ID) fractions. Theoretically, the merger of the two groups would create the second-largest group in the European Parliament.

Critics of the initiative have suggested that huge divergences remain between several of the movements involved.

The joint declaration emphasises a strong trans-Atlantic commitment, which is in sharp contrast with the pro-Russian stance of Fidesz or Lega. Presumably, this point was important for PiS, a member of the ECR.

The rivalry for leadership of the far-right between Italy’s two populist leaders Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni could also stoke tensions in the creation of the new right-wing alliance, Hungarian analysts said. The popularity of Salvini’s party has declined sharply and is level with that Meloni’s group.

Italian sources said creating a new radical rightwing alliance is more in the interest of Salvini, who is losing his room for manoeuvre in Europe. Meloni also signed the joint declaration on Friday only because Orban could convince her, La Repubblica wrote. Orban skipped Hungary’s decisive Euro 2020 group match against Germany to meet with the leader of the Brothers of Italy on June 23.

Hungary’s illiberal leader has been actively seeking to gather allies on the European political landscape after leaving the European People’s Party (EPP) in the spring, ending a bitter relationship with the EU’s leading political force.

In April, Orban hosted his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki and former Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini in Budapest to discuss a potential alliance on the European level. Fidesz is still without a group in the European Parliament.

Analysts highlighted that Orban has to balance carefully when selecting his allies, and that is especially true in the case of Germany.  

Although his party has split off from EPP, he still seeks the support of German industrial groups, which are instrumental to the success of the economy. Hungary will be one of the few countries to host all three German premium carmakers (Audi, Daimler and BWM) when BMW’s €1bn plant will be completed in Debrecen in 2023. And that means teaming up with AfD in a joint alliance remains taboo for the Hungarian prime minister.