“Movement” to boost EU’s populists
July 31, 2018 -- Donald Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon plans to use a Brussels-based foundation named The Movement to support populist far-right parties in next spring’s European Parliament elections.
“Next May is hugely important,” Bannon told the Daily Beast. “This is the real first continent-wide face-off between populism and the party of Davos. This will be an enormously important moment for Europe.”
The Movement was founded by Mischaël Modrikamen, a Brussels lawyer, and leader of the small right-wing Popular Party in January 2017. Laure Ferrari, a French aide to British MEP Nigel Farage, is one of three directors of The Movement with Modrikamen and his wife.
The Movement’s goal under Bannon is to turn the consensus-minded EU legislature into a battleground that the far right can use to undermine the entire European project. By using The Movement to unite populist parties, Bannon envisions creating a “supergroup” of right-wingers to win as many as 250 seats in the European Parliament.
Parties grouped around Nigel Farage’s Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFD2) and Marine Le Pen-aligned Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) control 81 seats in the 751-member EU legislature. A further 22 populist MEPs include the Sweden Democrats, Spain’s Podema, the Danish People’s Party, Greece’s Syriza and Golden Dawn, and Hungary’s Jobbit.
Since the spring Bannon has toured Europe, cultivating alliances. French far-right leader Marine Le Pen recently met Bannon in London while Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s League party and the country’s interior minister met Bannon before and after March’s Italian election.
Other allegiances have formed between Bannon and the Belgian Vlaams Belang, Austria’s Freedom Party, Alternative for Germany, the Sweden Democrats, Geert Wilders’ Dutch Freedom Party, Harald Vilimsky of Austria’s Freedom Party and Czech nationalist Tomio Okamura.