Steve Bannon to set up 'The Movement' foundation to boost far-right across Europe

Donald Trump's former chief strategist wants to 'spark a right-wing revolution'

Peter Stubley
Monday 23 July 2018 10:26 BST
Steve Bannon: 'When they call you racist you're winning'

Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon is setting up a foundation to boost the spread of far-right political groups across Europe.

The strategist hopes the non-profit organisation called "The Movement" will rival the liberal Open Society Foundation set up by billionaire George Soros in 1984.

“Soros is brilliant,” Mr Bannon told the Daily Beast website. “He’s evil, but he’s brilliant.”

Since his departure from the White House in August last year, the former Breitbart editor has met a series of right-wing leaders including France's Marine Le Pen, Alice Weidel of Alternative for Germany, Hungary's Viktor Orban and Nigel Farage.

In March he urged a Front National rally in France to "let them call you racist" and "wear it as a badge of honour" as he claimed that history was on the side of the far-right.

During his visit to the UK last week he described the founder of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, as the "backbone" of Britain in comments made off-air after his appearance on Mr Farage's LBC radio show.

Mr Bannon said the new foundation would offer polling, think tank research, advice on messaging and data targeting to right-wing groups which have seen a growth in support in recent years.

He also plans to develop a "supergroup" within the European parliament that could attract up to a third of MPs after the elections next May.

“Everybody agrees that next May is hugely important, that this is the real first continent-wide face-off between populism and the party of Davos," he said, referring to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. "This will be an enormously important moment for Europe.”

The Movement is expected to hire up to 10 full-time staff and set up a headquarters in Brussels ahead of the 2019 elections. However Mr Bannon did not indicate how the project would be funded.

He said he believed that "right-wing populist nationalism" is the future of Europe after decades of integration.

The Brexit referendum victory in 2016 was followed by the election of Donald Trump in the US and the rise of right-winger Matteo Salvini to become Italy's deputy prime minister this year.

Mr Salvini has announced a census of the country's Roma community and closed its ports to humanitarian ships rescuing migrants off the coast of Libya.

"Italy is the beating heart of modern politics," Mr Bannon said. "If it works there it can work everywhere."

However he said he was "not looking to include any ethno-nationalist parties" after admitting that some right-wing groups may be viewed as "too immigrant focused".

Mr Bannon told the Daily Beast website: “I'd rather reign in hell, than serve in heaven,” paraphrasing John Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost.

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