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Who will become an ally of the White House and the Kremlin in Europe?

Who will become an ally of the White House and the Kremlin in Europe?

July 23 2018 LJ cover – Кто станет союзником Белого дома и Кремля в Европе?
Tags: Politics, Europe, France, Italy, Russia, USA, Analytics

European populists and rightists in the process of creating a coalition.

Italian Interior Minister and head of the ruling "League" party Matteo Salvini made an application for leadership in a possible coalition of "European populists". In an interview with The Washington Post, he said that the European Parliament elections next year "will be of fundamental importance." And further: "Europe has always been governed by an agreement between socialist and democratic parties. I want to unite the parties that will become the majority in the European Parliament - the parties of Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany, the party in each of the countries of the European Union. "

Salvini is not the first who voices such an idea. Recall that 1 May the leader of the French "National Union" (formerly the "National Front") Marin Le Pen spoke in Nice at the congress of supporters of the "Movement for the Europe of Nations and Freedom" with a speech dedicated to the protection of national identity and sovereignty. Speaking about the elections to the EP, which will be held in May 2019, she called for a broad alliance of nationalist (populist) parties, believing that the political climate has never been so "favorable" to change the "nature" of the European Union. The head of the "National Union" noted that earlier "we thought that we could change Europe only by coming to the Elysee Palace", but now "another way" was discovered. That is, the reforms are carried out from within, as the leader of the "League" said. According to him, "every EU country should have the freedom to conduct its own economic policy."

The latter recalls the slogan of "economic nationalism," which was used in the election campaign of Donald Trump by the head of his election headquarters, Stephen Bannon. After the US president refused his services, Bannon became a frequent visitor to Europe. So, in March of this year he addressed the congress of the "National Union", declaring to the assembled that they are "part of a worldwide movement greater than France, bigger than Italy". And then praised Salvini, calling him a "model" for his future partners. The other day Bannon in an interview with the US portal The Daily Beast said that he created his own The Movement fund in Europe, which would support "populist movements" so that they could gain 30% in the elections to the European Parliament and confront billionaire George Soros. American political strategist and ideologist intends to help his European partners with finances and developments.

Undoubtedly, for Marin Le Pen, for Salvini, that for Bannon the creation of a united coalition of "populists" will not be a simple task. We need some unifying idea to rally participants at least during the election campaign. And each of them has ambitions. For example, it will be difficult to decide who will become the leader of the bloc. For example, in May the head of the League never came to the congress of supporters of the Movement for the Europe of Nations and Freedom, citing the difficult process of forming a new Italian government. Given the historical competition between France and Italy, it is unlikely that the French "National Union" so easily agrees to give the number one position to the Italian. Note also that Bannon among his partners calls the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who in an interview with The Washington Post "did not notice" Salvini. Finally, we can not discount the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz.

In this situation, "European populists" will need someone from outside. One who could make them temporarily forget about the contradictions. Perhaps, they will be the Trump administration while Bannon is working along his own line? By and large, most parties that claim to break the monopoly of the ruling European elite, if they have anything in common, are sympathy for Washington and Moscow. The meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki gives an ample reason to hope for a partnership in the future that will require an ally in Europe. And such an ally may be a coalition of "populists" that will make the opposing ruling elite in Europe fight on the "three fronts" at once.

Stanislav Stremidlovsky
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