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.”
In pictures: Extremists in the EU
In pictures: Extremists in the EU
1/6 France: Marine le Pen
Marine Le Pen, 45, took over the Front National (FN), the party that her father founded, in 2011. He himself described her as “a big, healthy, blonde girl, an ideal physical specimen." She claims to have cleaned up the FN and succeeded in pushing her anti-European, anti-euro and anti-immigration agenda into the EU political mainstream
2/6 Germany: Udo Voigt
He will be the first German neo-Nazi to enter the European Parliament. The former army officer, born in 1952, was jailed in 1995 for inciting racial hatred. Formerly the leader of the far right National Democratic Party (NPD), Voigt was convicted in 2009 after he was caught handing out flyers at the World Cup which argued that a black player was not entitled to play for Germany, whose national team – the literature argued – should be made up only of white players.
3/6 Denmark: Morten Messerschmidt
Leader of the Danish People’s Party, which won 27 per cent of the vote. His party has rammed 20 laws relating to immigrants and asylum-seekers through the Danish parliament, giving it the most anti-foreigner legislation in Europe. His party calls Islam “a fascist ideology” and rails against “East European criminal gangs”. One party strategist said “blood ties” to Denmark should be required for citizenship, though the statement was quickly retracted.
4/6 Hungary: Krisztina Morvai
A senior member of Jobbik, the anti-Semitic and anti-Roma party on Hungary’s far right wing. In 2009, she attracted international publicity after declaring: “So-called proud Hungarian Jews should go back to playing with their little circumcised dicks.” In 2009, she cancelled an interview with a British newspaper, declaring in tones of outrage: “I am a decent politician and the mother of three children, yet you in the west keep portraying me as a Nazi and a Fascist.”
5/6 Italy: Mario Borghezio
MEP for Italy’s notoriously racist Northern League, he has relentlessly attacked the nation’s first black cabinet minister, Cecile Kyenge, minister for integration, claiming she would import ‘tribal traditions’ into the Italian government. Other elected members in the party called her “an orang-utan” and suggested that someone should rape her, so she would understand how the victims of Somali rapists felt. He attracted attention by lobbying for the creation of an EU archive of UFO sightings.
6/6 Greece: Eleftherios Synadinos
Fabulously mustachioed retired lieutenant-general in the Greek army, he was one of Golden Dawn’s top candidates in the European elections, at which the overtly neo-Nazi party obtained more than 9 per cent of the vote. With its black-shirted assault squads, the Hitler photos and the party’s swastika-inspired logo, it has been accused of being a criminal organisation. Its website declares: “We aren’t the quiet birds of peace time, we are birds of the storm and the hurricane.”
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