Marine Le Pen praised Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as she met with the leaders of Europe’s far-right in Germany on Saturday to forge what they hope will be a new continent-wide movement, reports The Telegraph.
“Brexit was the first real blow to the old order,” Ms Le Pen, a French presidential hopeful, told a small but adoring audience of Germans. “We are here to bear witness to the end of one world and the birth of another.”
Billed as an “alternative European summit”, the meeting brought Ms Le Pen of the Front National, Geert Wilders, whose Freedom Party (PVV) is leading polls in the Netherlands ahead of March’s elections, and Frauke Petry, the leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, together on the same stage for the first time.
“Yesterday a new America, today a new Europe,” Mr Wilders said. “The people of the West are awakening. They are throwing off the yoke of political correctness. This will be the year of the people, of liberation, the year of the patriotic spring.”
The liberation they were talking about was from what Ms Le Pen called the “tyranny” of the EU in its current form. Speaker after speaker invoked Brexit.
“It started last year with Brexit,” Mr Wilders said.
Brexit would “set the dominos falling across Europe,” Ms Le Pen said. But the new European movement they were here to cement is much further-Right than most Brexit campaigners in the UK would be likely to endorse.
The meeting was hosted by the AfD, one of whose most prominent members last week called for Germany to stop feeling guilt over its Nazi past and described the national Holocaust Memorial as a “monument of shame”.
One of the speakers was Matteo Salvini of Italy’s Northern League, who has spoken publicly of his admiration for Benito Mussolini.
The meeting was held under the umbrella of Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), a grouping in the European parliament. It encompasses Ms Le Pen, who opposes French membership of Nato and agrees with Mr Trump that it is “obsolete”; and Mr Wilders, who has called for the Koran to be banned in the Netherlands.
In the wake of Mr Trump’s election, they believe that 2017 is the year they will overturn the European political order.
Mr Wilders, who spoke of a “patriotic awakening” and a “patriotic spring”, had clearly picked up on Mr Trump’s inaugural address, and a banner proclaimed 2017 “the year of the patriots”.