Politics

EU panic after Nordic nationalists vowed to ‘tear bloc apart’

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Earlier this month, sixteen European right-wing populist parties, including several in government, joined forces in a bid to change the EU’s political direction. The parties that signed the declaration include Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz, Poland’s governing Law and Justice, Finland’s Finns Party, France’s National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, Austria’s Freedom Party, Spain’s Vox and Italy’s League and Brothers of Italy, led by Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni respectively. The signatories are from different political families that have often struggled to work together.

Some suggested it was a step toward forming a single group.

However, MEPs and officials told POLITICO a single European Parliament faction was not on the cards any time soon.

The parties wrote: “The EU is becoming more and more a tool of radical forces that would like to carry out a cultural, religious transformation and ultimately a nationless construction of Europe, aiming to create … a European Superstate.

“European nations should be based on tradition, respect for the culture and history of European states, respect for Europe’s Judeo-Christian heritage and the common values that unite our nations.

“We reaffirm our belief that family is the basic unit of our nations. In a time when Europe is facing a serious demographic crisis with low birth rates and ageing population, pro-family policy making should be an answer instead of mass immigration.”

They called for the EU to be reformed with “a set of inviolable competencies of the European Union’s member states, and an appropriate mechanism for their protection with the participation of national constitutional courts or equivalent bodies.”

Working together in a cross-party group to reform the European club is something politicians in Europe have been trying to do for years.

In 2018, Finnish MEP Laura Huhtasaari, who represents the right-wing Finns party in the assembly, claimed “patriotic parties” had to “unite” so that they could start “tearing the EU apart”.

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She said: “It’s all about greed, power and money.

“Finland and the EU are weak on crime, weak on borders, weak on protecting nation states.

“They [mainstream politicians] just let this happen and it’s terrible… I want my country back.”

Her comments came after a surge in support for the Finns, which won 17.5 percent of the vote in the last national election, just a whisker behind the centre-left Social Democratic party.

Ms Huhtasaari added: “It’s payback time.

“We have to unite with the patriotic parties so we can start tearing the EU apart.”

Earlier this year, Finland almost threw the EU’s recovery fund plans in disarray.

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EU governments approved the recovery fund last year to help member states bounce back from the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, all countries had to ratify a decision to raise the upper limit for national contributions to the EU budget in order for the plan to go ahead.

The Constitutional Committee in Finland’s Parliament announced at the end of April that two-thirds of the house had to support the EU legal changes.

It immediately appeared uncertain whether a majority could have been reached as fifty parliament members, including all 38 representatives of the eurosceptic Finns Party, said they would have voted against the plan.

After weeks of delays, though, a number of opposition lawmakers ended up voting with the government, giving it the requisite supermajority to pass the deal.

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