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1ST LEAD Far-right parties call for EU's demise at Prague meeting By Pol O Gradaigh and Michael Heitmann, dpa

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Prague (dpa) - A right-wing grouping of European political parties have called for the end of the European Union in its current form during a congress in the Czech capital Prague.

The Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedoms (MENL) brings together the National Front of France‘s Marine Le Pen; the Austrian Freedom Party of Heinz-Christian Strache; the Italian regionalist Lega Nord; and the Dutch Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders.

They were invited to Saturday‘s conference by a newer face on Europe‘s far-right scene: Tomio Okamura, whose anti-immigrant Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party, founded in 2015, won 10.6 per cent of the vote in Czech parliamentary elections in October.

"Brussels is an existential threat to our nation states," Wilders said. He added that he hoped "Czechs will keep their doors firmly shut to mass migration."

Le Pen meanwhile welcomed the confirmation that Austria had set up a coalition government with a right-wing populist party.

Ahead of the meeting, political scientist Cas Mudde of the University of Georgia in the United States told dpa that MENL was "a very weakly organized group, whose main goal is to extract funding from the EU."

The group had hardly grown since its establishment in 2015, Mudde, a specialist in extremist politics, wrote in an email to dpa.

"It still only includes a subset of radical right parties in Europe, and the European Parliament, and has not even been able to profit from Brexit," which will see Britain‘s strong contingent of right-wing and eurosceptic lawmakers leave the European Parliament, Mudde said.

"The Prague conference seems a way to get some new life by including a new party, which has been quite successful in the recent elections, the Czech SPD," Mudde added.


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