Danish People’s Party joins right-wing nationalist alliance in EU parliament

Danish People’s Party joins right-wing nationalist alliance in EU parliament
Olli Kotro (True Finns), Jörg Meuthen (AfD), Matteo Salvini (League) and Anders Vistisen (DF) announce the collaboration in the EU parliament. Photo: REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/Ritzau Scanpix
The Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti, DF), a populist anti-immigration party which is the third largest in the country’s national parliament, on Monday announced it would work with right-wing groups from three other parties in the European parliament.

Together with Italian party League, which is led by the country’s powerful interior minister Matteo Salvini; the German Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) and Finnish party the True Finns, DF will form a new partnership of parties with common nationalist projects in the EU parliament.

The plan was presented on Monday at a press conference at which all four parties were represented.

DF’s EU parliamentary group leader Anders Vistisen told Ritzau that no decision had yet been taken as to whether the alliance would become a formal group in the parliament or function supplementary to existing groups.

A party group requires 25 MEPs from seven different member states.

According to EU parliament rules, a parliamentary group can hire its own staffers and and be granted financial support for “political and informational activities” provided its work is related to the EU, Ritzau writes.

The four parties in the newly-announced group all seek to stop illegal immigration, ‘protect national culture’, and resist further integration of EU states, according to the Danish news wire.

Currently, both DF and the True Finns are members of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, along with parties including Poland’s Law and Justice Party, the Sweden Democrats, and the British Conservative Party.

The Sweden Democrats have said they will not leave the ECR, according to Swedish news agency TT.

Salvini’s League is in another group, the Europe of Nations and Freedom, along with France’s National Rally (formerly Front National) and the Freedom Party of Austria, amongst others.

The AfD, meanwhile, is in a third group, which includes Italy’s other populist government partner, the Five Star Movement, as well as Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

“We believe there is more to unite these groups than to separate them,” Vistisen said.

“If a large group of these parties can come together after the (European) elections, we would form one of the largest groups in parliament,” he added.

Marlene Wind, a political analyst and professor at the University of Copenhagen, said the alliance had potential to significantly influence the EU.

Previously, division between various European far-right parties has prevented them from exerting their will on the parliament, Wind told Ritzau.

“But if they can find common ground and create a large right-wing nationalist group, that could be significant for work in the EU parliament and its ability to pass legislation at all,” the professor said.

“That’s because they will be against a lot of things. They will want to take European partnership to a completely different place. Many who are currently in power will be worried about this new alliance,” she added.

But although there are many Eurosceptic parties present in the EU parliament, finding a platform on which they can agree to work together would not be easy, according to the analyst.

“This is a very mixed group of parties that you would be trying to unite. There is a lot of disagreement within the many EU-sceptical groups,” she said.

“Some want asylum seekers to be redistributed. Others don’t want to touch that issue. Some like (Russian president Vladimir) Putin. Others can’t stand Russia,” she added.

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