European nationalists eye new alliance

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European nationalists eye new alliance

WARSAW: Leaders of European far-right and nationalist parties met in Warsaw on Saturday with the aim of creating a new alliance that would become the second-biggest grouping in the European Parliament.

The talks at the Regent Warsaw Hotel bring together 14 parties and are being hosted by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s ruling right-wing populist Law and Justice (PiS) party.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and French far-right leader Marine Le Pen attended, as well as Santiago Abascal, the head of Spain’s Vox party. Le Pen, a candidate in France’s presidential election in April, said on Friday that the meeting would be “an important step” but she did not expect any imminent announcement of a new group.

“We can be optimistic about the launch of this political force in the months to come,” she said.

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Around a dozen activists protested outside as the talks got underway, shouting “No to fascism!”.

One notable absentee is Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s League, which put out a statement saying that “the time needs to be right” for the new group.

Salvini was one of the signatories of a declaration in July by 16 parties and movements announcing plans for a “grand alliance” in the European Parliament — the prelude for Saturday’s talks.

The League and Le Pen’s National Rally are in the European Parliament’s Identity and Democracy Group, while PiS, Vox and the Brothers of Italy party are in the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.

Orban’s Fidesz left the centre-right European People’s Party, the biggest group in the European Parliament, in March and is looking for a new home.

“We want to change the politics of Brussels,” Orban wrote on Facebook ahead of Saturday’s meeting.

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