US right-wing extremist Bannon targeting EU election

US President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon wants to support European right-wing populists with his foundation "The Movement" in a bid to instigate a "right-wing populist revolt" in the run-up to the European elections, according to media reports. How dangerous are his plans for Europe?

Open/close all quotes
La Vanguardia (ES) /

A dangerous symptom of weakness

Europe's weakness benefits Bannon, La Vanguardia observes:

“Many millions of Europeans are being seduced by the siren calls of the Eurosceptic, nationalist and xenophobic parties. This is a consequence of the lack of an authentic European economic and monetary union and of a common policy for tackling the migration problem as well as a result of the discrepancies in security policy. Now it seems the dissatisfaction with Europe that many citizens feel will get a name and a leader. The name is 'The Movement', and paradoxically its creator and leader is not a European politician but an old acquaintance from US politics. ... Whether or not Bannon's initiative bears fruit, it is a sign of the current weakness of Europe, leaderless and without clear goals.”

24 Chasa (BG) /

Europe's nationalisms are irreconcilable

24 Chasa, on the other hand, doesn't believe anyone will be able to unite all Europe's right-wing populists under a single banner:

“Bannon is either concealing or fails to recognise the fact that Europe's right-wing populists have widely diverging political views and are pursuing different, purely national interests. ... We saw last month what can happen when two apparently allied parties try to win over voters with populism and nationalist ideas. The Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Horst Seehofer, leader of the Bavarian CSU party, for a long time jointly criticised Merkel's migration policy. But when Seehofer went from words to deeds to make good on his promises and demanded that all illegal refugees be returned to Austria, Kurz changed his tack and suddenly started calling for a pan-European solution to the refugee crisis.”

Público (PT) /

Fascist vulture circling over Europe

Rui Tavares, a historian and former MEP, examines the motives behind Bannon's Europe initiative in Público:

“What the devil is a vulture like Bannon doing in Europe? And isn't crossing borders to found a transnational movement aimed at helping right-wing populist groups elect a pan-European parliament a little too cosmopolitan for a fascist like him? Of course it is! But Bannon has seen something that most EU politicians haven't yet realised: the European elections 2019 will play a decisive role in setting the course (not just in European, but in global politics) until the start of the next decade. ... And if you can manage to weaken the EU to such an extent that it can no longer hold its own in the looming trade wars, Trump's strategy will be all the more effective.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Solving social problems is the answer

The liberal parties shouldn't follow the far right's lead in the 2019 European elections but rather find their own agenda, taz demands:

“The residents of the EU member states have far more urgent problems, for instance unemployment, old-age poverty and low salaries, for which the far-right parties have so far failed to present any solutions. This is the challenge - not the agitator's speciality, the fight against migration. If the more moderate parties play along with this, they will only be helping to make far-right ideas more popular - instead of making sure that Bannon, who was kicked out of the White House in the US, spends his money in vain in Europe.”

Salzburger Nachrichten (AT) /

Go home, Bannon!

Steve Bannon deserves a clear response from Europe, the Salzburger Nachrichten writes:

“Bannon's attempt to unite Europe's gravediggers in a single organisation must be seen for what it is: an assault on the EU's internal affairs, dreamed up by Putin, supported by Trump and financed through obscure channels abroad. It shouldn't really be difficult to see through this paradoxical right-wing international. And it deserves a clear response. We must carefully examine whether any laws have been violated and where the money is coming from. But first and foremost civil society must prevent this American spectre with Nazi leanings from plying his dirty trade in Europe. The American national chauvinist is not welcome here. Go home, Bannon!”