The strong showing - and second place - of the Finns Party in Finland’s general election this past weekend has pushed the possibility of a populist takeover of the European Union a step closer, a development which has taken on added meaning following recent similar election results in the Netherlands and those expected in Spain.
The Finns Party polled 538,731 votes, or 17.5 percent of the vote, and took 38 seats in the 200 seat national parliament. There is therefore little chance of the Finns Party—which campaigned on the decidedly weak slogan of “Let’s have some borders”—will play any role in the formation of a government, but this is not the real issue for the upcoming May 2019 European Parliament elections.
At the last EU Parliament elections in 2014, the Finns Party polled 222,457votes, winning two seats in that parliament. Given that their turnout in the recent Finnish election was twice this amount, this means that they are likely to at the very least double their representation in the EU Parliament.
The April 28, 2019 election in Spain is also widely expected to provide a similar result, with the Vox Party—previously a fringe group founded six years ago by disgruntled members of the conservative People’s party (PP), and who last year made a surprise electoral breakthrough in the Andalucían regional election—set to gain at least 10 percent of the vote.
In the Netherlands, the newly-founded Forum for Democracy (FvD) party recently turned Dutch politics on its head by becoming the single largest party and wresting control of the Dutch Upper House out of the hands of the ruling coalition.
These results, along with the already well-known growth of populist parties in Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, and elsewhere, have greatly added to the chances of an upset at the May 23–26 EU elections.
According to a typically biased report by AFP, “identity and immigration are the motor force behind the populist vote in Europe.” Quoting French researcher Jean-Yves Camus, a self-appointed “specialist on the far-right,” the AFP report said there “is a real crisis of representative democracy which is being challenged through direct democracy.”
The AFP pointed out that after March’s “inconclusive elections in Estonia, prime minister Juri Ratas is in coalition talks with the far-right” EKRE party, and in Spain, the “anti-immigrant Vox party stunned observers in Spain last year with a strong performance in regional elections in Andalusia, helping to push the Socialists from office in the region.”
“The Finns Party could become close allies of Europe’s best-known far-right leaders like Matteo Salvini in Italy and Marine Le Pen in France, potentially creating a powerful bloc in the new EU parliament,” the AFP report said, adding that “Le Pen’s National Front (FN) was quick to hail the Finns Party’s strong showing.” Of course, the Le Pen party is not even called the “National Front” any more, having changed its name to the “National Rally” in June 2018, but this sort of sloppy inaccuracy is to be expected of the controlled press.
The AFP report concluded by quoting a “National Front” (National Rally) lawmaker in the European parliament, Nicolas Bay, as saying that “after the recent success of the patriotic parties in Estonia and in Spain, the very good results of the Finns Party have confirmed the dynamic on a continental level in favor of supporters of a Europe of free and proud nations.”
At the National Rally’s EU Parliament election manifesto launch held in Strabourg on Monday, Marine Le Pen announced that “we have mandated [Italy’s Lega Party leader and deputy prime minister] Matteo Salvini to try to build this very big group of the Defense of European Nations in the European parliament.”
“We want to go further and get the (parliamentary) group which is the biggest, the strongest possible,” Le Pen said.
“This Manifesto expresses our European commitment: we are the REAL Europeans because we are French, we are European.
“We are European through our nations, and any attempt to destroy these nations destroys Europe itself!”
Outlining her plan to change the EU, Le Pen said that “Everywhere in Europe, in the European Union, and even among the signatory countries of the Treaty of Rome, our ideas are attracting support and our ideas are winning, because they offer hope and because they are just.
“We pledge to liberate the nations from a Union that stifles them, dispossesses them of their sovereignty and seriously undermines democracy.
“What is a Union that is constantly adding rules to rules, but leaves the nations alone in the face of events such as the smuggling of migrants to the financial crisis or terrorist attacks?
“We will give people the freedom to vote on their laws, to decide their destiny, because sovereignty is the condition of freedom, it belongs to the people, alone, and if there is no more sovereignty that there is no European people.
“It is the effect of a submission to globalist dogma that has led the Union to condemn those who defend Europe from the migratory invasion, at the same time as it finances NGOs and foundations that lead a real war against the sovereignty of the nations.”