Far-right gathering in Madrid: Marie Le Pen, German AfD, and Spanish Vox

On May 19, the Spanish Vox nationalist party organized a meeting in Madrid for the European extreme right, less than a month before the European elections.

The event saw European far-right leaders, including Marine Le Pen from France, who called for uniting sovereignist formations to “reorient” the European Union, despite divisions between groups. 

Le Pen’s visit was intended to strengthen her international standing by appearing alongside notable foreign leaders such as Argentine President Javier Milei and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Le Pen also used the platform to criticize the “Macron-Von der Leyen duo,” accusing the French President and the President of the European Commission of supporting “migration separatism and submersion” by attempting to erase borders. 

Despite her criticism, she no longer advocates for exiting the Schengen Area, which facilitates the free movement of people within Europe.

Far-right group division

These groups divide into two factions in the European Parliament: “Identity and Democracy,” which includes Le Pen’s National Rally (RN), which is known for its pro-Russian stance and positive attitude towards the Russian dictator Putin in the past, and “European Conservatives and Reformists,” led by Giorgia Meloni, which is liberal and Atlanticist and supports Ukraine.

Building a cohesive alliance among nationalist parties is challenging, as they are inherently focused on defending their national interests. 

Aligning with foreign allies can be risky for the French far-right RN party, especially since some of these allies openly express views that Le Pen has tried to moderate as part of her party’s “de-demonization” strategy. The far-right parties also try to erase any ties with figures considered as neo-Nazies.

People’s Party splinter

Founded in December 2013 as a splinter from the People’s Party (PP), Vox has quickly risen to prominence, becoming Spain’s third-largest political force. Vox’s success stems from its nationalist stance, specifically its opposition to Catalan independence. The party gained significant visibility during the 2017 Catalan crisis, positioning itself as a staunch defender of Spanish unity.

Vox’s platform includes traditional family values, opposition to LGBTI+ rights, climate skepticism, Islamophobia, and the criminalization and expulsion of migrants. 

The party has also capitalized on the discontent of rural farmers, who feel neglected by mainstream parties, presenting itself as the voice of this “forgotten” Spain.

The gathering of far-right leaders in Madrid underscores the ongoing efforts to unify nationalist parties across Europe, despite inherent divisions and differing national priorities. 

Inspiration from Orban and Meloni 

Vox maintains ambiguity regarding its connection to Francoism while emphasizing its alignment with the broader European far-right, drawing inspiration from Viktor Orban and Giorgia Meloni. 

As Spain approaches early legislative elections on July 23, Vox is poised to play a crucial role. The party’s recent regional and municipal successes, where it formed coalitions with the PP, indicate its growing influence.

Polls suggest that while the PP remains the dominant force on the Spanish right, Vox’s participation in government could shape future policies. 

The extent of Vox’s impact will depend on the number of seats it secures and its ability to negotiate with the PP. 

Vox’s rapid rise highlights the shifting political landscape in Spain, where far-right ideologies are gaining traction. As European and domestic elections approach, the ability of these parties to form effective alliances will significantly influence the future policy of both Spain and the broader European Union.

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