October 27, 2009

Jobbik, BNP move to form pan-European far-right alliance

A clutch of far-right political parties have cobbled together an alliance of convenience to represent their interests in the European Parliament, the leader of Hungary's extreme nationalist grouping, Jobbik, announced in Budapest over the weekend.

Far-right monitoring groups however say that the coalition is made up for the most part of ultra-right wing groupuscules that have no representation in Strasbourg, meaning they will not be able to draw on any public funding for staff or research.

Gabor Vona, the Jobbik party chairman, announced in Budapest on Saturday (24 October) the founding of the "Alliance of European Nationalist Movements," in a declaration of common goals drafted by the British National Party's (BNP) leader, Nick Griffin. Five parties have initially signed the nine-point declaration: Jobbik, France's Front National, Italy's Fiamma Tricolore, Sweden's National Democrats and Belgium's Walloon extremists, the Front Nationalists.

Although the BNP was not in attendance at the launch, the BNP is "100 percent" behind the new grouping, Jobbik's vice-president and one of three MEPs in Strasbourg Zoltran Balczo, told EUobserver. Mr Griffin could not attend the founding meeting in Hungary due to the increased demands on the British group in the wake of the publicity it received from its invitation to a BBC political talk show.

The alliance is currently involved in negotiations with other far-right groups in Spain and Portugal. Austria's Freedom Party (FPO) has also expressed an intention to join, according to Gabor Vona, Jobbik's domestic leader. FPO euro-deputy Andreas Moelzer was also due to attend, but fell ill and could not go.

The declaration rejects "any attempts at forming an EU federal state," calls for pro-family policies and "traditional values" and demands Europe be protected from "religious, political, economic and financial imperialism."

Each of the parties are to submit one representative to a presidency body that will co-ordinate decisions. The presidency will then elect its own chief from the group.

Only Jobbik, the French Front National, the BNP and the FPO have any representation in the European Parliament, missing by some degree the minimum number of MEPs the chamber requires to form an official political grouping and access EU cash. To do so, a political family, as they are known in EU circles, needs to muster a minimum of 25 deputies from at least 7 member states.

While Jobbik won 14.7 percent of the vote in Hungary in the June European elections, giving it three seats in Strasbourg, and the BNP won two, most of the other parties did not even garner 1 percent.

Mr Balczo says that this is only a short-term obstacle. "These rules are just for a faction in the parliament. There are other possibilities: The first step is to found a European party that is recognised by the parliament. This will be done in either Brussels or Strasbourg. For a pan-European party, which is separate from a political grouping within the parliament, the rules are not as strict."

The Liberals in the parliament for example, are in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, while their pan-European political party, the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party, has members from EU and non-EU states.

"It's only the second step that is try to form a faction in the European Parliament, but at some point this too will be possible," Mr Balczo said.

Competing visions of national supremacy have in the past presented a difficult hurdle for forming a far-right group in the parliament. In the last legislature, the far-right grouping "Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty" lasted only a few months before it broke up over Italian members insulting their Romanian colleagues.

Notably, in the new grouping there is no representation from the Greater Romania Party, Ataka, from Bulgaria's rightist extremists or from the Slovak National Party.

"We will not participate in any alliance with any party that is chauvinist towards ethnic Hungarians," said Mr Balczo, "and the Romanians and the Slovaks are very, very strongly against ethnic Hungarians."

Even the friendly relations between Jobbik and the BNP run up against different national perspectives.

"There are some differences over agriculture for example," Mr Balczo said. "Voting [in the parliament] last Thursday on the budget, we and the Front National voted differently to the BNP, because we have a different position on protecting family farms."

The welcoming of the Walloon Front National also precludes bringing on board Belgium's much more popular Vlaams Belang, which while Belgian, is a Flemish nationalist party that opposes the idea that francophones and Flemings can live together in the same country.

"In all probability, this alliance will go the way of its predecessor and implode within months, and this time they can't even form a faction in the European Parliament. It's another Titanic of a group," Graham Atkinson, the European editor of British-based far-right monitoring magazine, Searchlight, told this website.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Racism begins with our families, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, people we admire, respect and love.

However, as we grow and mature we come to the realization that what we were told by our family when we were children were slanted lies base on their prejudices. We realize that most people are like ourselves and not so different and want the same things, like a home, steady work, a Medicare plan and schools for our children (if you travel you will see this). We realize that most people are of good hearts and goodwill.

This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him.

Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need.

Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his fellow man.

You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help our fellow man (immigrant) in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help our fellow man, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

This current climate of blaming others for our woes is not new. We have had this before and we have conquered it.

Remember “Evil flourishes when good men (and women) do nothing”. Raise your voices with those of us who believe we are equal and we can win this battle again.