Geert Wilders riding high

geertDutch right-wing leader Geert Wilders is riding high ahead of this month’s European Parliament elections, hoping to destroy from within what he calls the ‘monster of Brussels’.

The platinum-haired Wilders in November announced “the start of the liberation of Europe” from the European Union after forming a partnership with French right-wing party National Front (FN).

Like the FN’s leader Marine Le Pen, Wilders wants to take his country out of the EU and to abandon the euro.

The latest Ipsos opinion poll on May 1 ranked Wilders’ PVV third in the Netherlands, just below the ruling coalition partner People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the pro-Europe D66.

Despite thousands filing police complaints of racism against Wilders, his anti-EU and anti-immigration call still appeals to many disillusioned with crisis-driven budget cuts blamed on Brussels.

The virulently pro-Israel Wilders has been giving extensive interviews, including to pro-Kremlin media, blaming the Ukraine crisis on the European Union.

The Dutch Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) on Wednesday said he was “betraying his principles” by cooperating with Le Pen.

Despite Wilders’ fawning approaches to Nigel Farage, his UK Independence Party (UKIP) and Scandinavian eurosceptic parties have said they would not work with Wilders because of his association with Le Pen.

In order to form a far-right anti-European bloc, Wilders and Le Pen would have to find like-minded politicians in at least a quarter of the EU’s 28 member states and see 25 members elected to the now trimmed-down 751-seat European Parliament.

So far Wilders reportedly wants Italy’s Northern League, Austria’s FPO, Belgium’s Vlaams Belang, Slovakia’s SNS and the Swedish Democrats on board.

If they become an official European political group, they would benefit from subsidies, offices, a communication budget, seats on committees and speaking time in parliament proportional to their number.

The Netherlands this time only has 27 seats in the European Parliament and with the PVV expected to gain around five seats, it will remain junior to the mightier National Front.

“Indirectly though he’ll have a far greater impact,” said political analyst Andre Krouwel, because of his ability to create doubt and division within bigger parties.

“He’s using it on national level. It is likely to happen on European level as well,” Krouwel said.

Source: AFP