Can Salvini unite Europe's right?
Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini wants to forge a right-wing alliance in the EU Parliament after the European elections. At a news conference on Monday he presented the European Alliance of Peoples and Nations in Milan. At his side were the leaders of the German party AfD, the Finns Party and the Danish People's Party. Commentators explain why they doubt the plan will succeed.
Alliance like a building site
The European Alliance of People's and Nations has set itself the goal of becoming the strongest group in the EU Parliament. But it doesn't seem to know quite how yet, Huffington Post Italia comments:
“The sovereigntist alliance led by Salvini is taking the flight to Brussels but neither does it have a clear profile nor is there clarity about who will be on board. ... There is also little clarity about the content of its manifesto and the competences that are to be taken from the EU and returned to the nation states. But above all it's unclear who the lead candidate of this formation is to be, the candidate for the post of EU Commission President. No doubt this role is to fall to Salvini, but nothing has been decided yet. For the time being, at any rate, the alliance looks more like a building site.”
They're sure to quarrel with each other anyway
The alliance will have a hard time reconciling the various interests of the individual parties, Delo points out:
“This alliance that feeds on Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and nationalism while rejecting centralism from Brussels will nevertheless find it difficult to agree on a common programme. Kaczyński and Salvini have diametrically opposed positions on Russia. On the other hand neither the Polish populist, nor Marine Le Pen, nor Viktor Orbán want to allow the Italian Salvini to spearhead the right in Europe. ... According to some prognoses these parties could secure 150 of the 705 seats in the EU Parliament, and by the looks of it no one apart from Emmanuel Macron is particularly worried.”
Alliance won't hold together
The Tages-Anzeiger also doubts that the plan to unite Europe's far right will work:
“Nationalists only care about their own country: their culture, their language, their currency - and their political stars. Lega's slogan, for example, is 'Prima gli italiani': Italians first. ... From the AfD - which now wants to form a coalition with Salvini's Lega - we heard lines like: 'These Romans are crazy!' That's what Alice Weidel tweeted last autumn when Italy's budget for 2019 was made public. 'And we Germans will have to pay for it.' How are these two supposed to get along? In fact the only thing that Europe's far-right parties have in common is their hatred of all that is foreign, cosmopolitan and collaborative. The desire for isolation is the only thing that binds them. And that's not much.”
Joint bloc unlikely
Key figures in the European right were missing, Deutschlandfunk observes:
“No Kaczyński, no Orbán, no Wilders, no Strache, no Le Pen. Why? Marine Le Pen was trying to stir up resentment against Italy recently while Strache's FPÖ, on the other hand, needs to take care that it isn't thrown out of government by the ÖVP for its right-wing extremism. So it's watching its step on the European stage. Otherwise it'll lose its honeypots in Vienna. And Orbán, too, prefers to sit at the lavish table of the Christian Democratic heads of government than at the ale-bench of the far-right mucky pups. Certainly the far-right parties will make gains in the elections in May. But that they will join forces to form a single group in the European Parliament is more than improbable.”