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Steve Bannon speaking at a lecture in Hungary. Wikipedia

Bannon’s Movement not welcomed by all conservatives

Steve Bannon's European tour has not been welcomed by all conservative parties. Earlier this month the Austrian Freedom Party, part of the country's ruling coalition, said it would not be collaborating with Bannon, AFP reported.

Published: September 24, 2018, 11:48 am

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    Placard at an anti-Trump rally in New York denouncing Bannon. Wikipedia

    “We want to forge alliances in Europe but we do it independently of the US, Russia or anyone else,” said party leader Harald Vilimsky.

    “We want to grow, expand on our own and develop our programme and ideas on our own, but surely not under the leadership of someone active in the United States,” he added.

    The leader of Austria’s Freedom Party raised the prospect recently of forming a common bloc in the European Parliament with the party of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban instead. Currently the FPÖ sits with other conservative parties in the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group.

    “I gladly invite Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party to work together in future in a common EU bloc!”, Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, FPÖ leader, said on Facebook.

    Alexander Gauland, the co-leader of Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, revealed in an interview that his party would not be involved with Bannon’s efforts to unite European conservative parties either.

    “We’re not in America,” Gauland, one of two co-leaders of the anti-immigrant party, told the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper group.

    A spokesman for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally called The Movement “a good, non-partisan tool box” for Europeans, but added that “Bannon is an American and has no place in a European political party”. Jérôme Rivière, the National Rally’s international spokesman, told Politico last month: “We reject any supra-national entity and are not participating in the creating of anything with Bannon.”

    Bannon’s Brussels-based foundation set out The Movement plans on expanding to Europe. “I will be spending 80 percent of my time in Europe in preparation for the European Parliamentary elections,” the former Trump advisor said.

    But his efforts will require the involvement of at least 25 lawmakers representing at least seven European Union member states.

    “We will provide and do pollings and data analytics and set up war rooms that people need to win elections,” Bannon told an audience in Rome.

    But Bannon may be fishing in the wrong pond. “Trump is incredibly unpopular in Germany among ordinary Germans,” Matthew Goodwin, a professor of politics at the University of Kent told The Atlantic magazine. “So any association with anyone who might look to be Trumpian—anybody who may look too close to the Trump camp—may be seen as problematic.” It may the same case in France, where Trump is also extremely unpopular.

    Bannon, told his audience in Rome that being called racist was a “badge of honour”, something German and French conservative politicians as well as voters will find hard to swallow.

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