European elections 2014: French Front National dubbed 'racist and extremist' by German minister

Marine Le Pen is trying to form a Eurosceptic group in the European Parliament

Germany’s Finance Minister has branded the French Front National “fascist and extremist” as it attempts to form a new group in the European Parliament.

Wolfgang Schaeuble told a conference: “Not only for our French colleagues, we have to [ask ourselves] what mistakes we made if a quarter of the [French] electorate voted for … not a right-wing party but for a fascist, extremist party.”

Marine Le Pen, whose party came top in the French European elections, is starting talks on Wednesday with fellow leaders to start a new alliance of right-wing and Eurosceptic parties.

She has tried to rid her party of its extremist image since she took over as leader from her father in 2011.

Speaking on BMFTV, she said several parties including Hungary’s Jobbik, Bulgaria’s Ataka and Golden Dawn, from Greece, would be excluded.

She added: “There are a whole series of movements that are, in my opinion, interested in taking part in a major political force whose goal is to prevent any further steps towards a federal Europe.”

To start the group the National Front would need 25 MEPs from seven countries. Thanks to its landslide victory, it already has 24 representatives of its own.

Jobbik, a group of radical Christian nationalists, has been dubbed a neo-Nazi party following alleged anti-Semitic comments by some members and Golden Dawn is known for its swastika-like logo and allegations of violence and hate crime.

The Front National has itself faced widespread accusations of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism and its founder, Ms Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen, was convicted several times for racism, inciting racial hatred and trivialising the Holocaust.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Read more:
EU party leaders to respond to Eurosceptic victory
Front National victory is based on anguish, rage and denial
Europe's lurch to the right
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