Amidst Trump’s inauguration, it may have escaped some of your attentions that there was a meeting of far-right European leaders, hosted by Alternative fur Deutschland in the Rhineland city of Korblenz. Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, the whole far-right gang were there at a conference, open to all the public. They gave speeches and posed for selfies with one another. Nigel Farage was otherwise engaged in the US or he would have no doubt shown up too.
There are two really significant things about the Koblenz meeting. One, this is very unusual behaviour for the European far-right. Generally, the leaders in question stay away from each other. They tend not to want to seem like a Europe wide movement; appearing under one banner together shows how they clearly feel the times are a’ changin’. They don’t feel like associating with nationalists from other EU countries is toxic any longer, but in fact could be electorally rewarding. There was a time when someone like Wilders would have not only not shared a platform with Le Pen, but would have denounced her as being nothing like him. A sort of, “I’m just a liberal who is ‘realistic’ about Islam, not a fascist!” vive. It is notable that this reservation has fallen by the wayside completely now.
The other notable thing about the Koblenz far-right conference is that they have clearly been inspired by Trump to come out into the open this way. As Wilder himself said at the conference itself:
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, there are better times ahead. Last year the wind began to turn. That brought us the victory of United States President Donald Trump.”
“Yesterday a new America, today Koblenz, and tomorrow a new Europe”.
They were all at it this weekend, praising Trump as the sort of saviour of the European far-right. And all of this got barely any attention in the UK mainstream press. Perhaps historians will give it a lot more attention decades hence. This was the moment the far-right took their next step towards possible dominance in Europe.
Can nationalists around the EU really make headway on a “let’s make America great” platform? Given the capacity for self-harm displayed in the UK, who can tell?
Even if Trump were to offer inducements to the UK, and I think he would only look for advantage and to exploit the UK’s weakness, he would be most unlikely to have anything to offer France. The French have often been very cautious in relations with the US and are wary of being exploited and threats to French culture.
Richard Stanbrook says
Date: Wednesday 14th August 2019.
As a UK citizen about to be stripped of my EU status by the most far-right Westminster Government in living memory, now is the time for a team of investigative journalists to find out whether:
(1) Any person with links to organisations which canvassed for and / or financed the Brexit campaign attended the Koblenz Conference.
(2) In connection with (1), establish whether UK electoral laws were broken as a result of influence / pressure from these individuals.
Richard Stanbrook, Langholm, Dumfries & Galloway DG13 0JW, Scotland, E.U.