Why does Mayotte divide the German and French far right, unlike Moscow?

While the Rassemblement National is still well ahead in the polls in France for the European elections, divorce seems imminent between the French far-right party and its German counterpart, the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD). 

In a written question to the Bundestag on Wednesday, April 17, the far-right German party and ally of the Rassemblement National in the European Parliament argued that France should “return the Mayotte archipelago to the Union of the Comoros.”.

The German far-right party’s statement that France should return Mayotte angered Marine Le Pen. In the context of tensions between the two European far-right allies, she responded vehemently to this statement.

Her visit to Mayotte was an opportunity for her to revisit the controversial remarks made by the AfD (Alternative for Germany). As soon as she arrived in Mayotte, Marine Le Pen launched criticism against her partner in the European Parliament’s Identity and Democracy group.

Marine Le Pen scolded, “The AfD would do better to deal with Germany’s problems, and I’m angry about this situation,” before objecting to the German party’s comparison between the Mahorais’ vote to remain in the French fold and the one Russia organized in Crimea.

A clumsy parallel with Crimea

When the Comoros declared independence, Mayotte chose to remain part of France in two referendums in 1974 and 1976, while a third in 2009 made it a département. Matthias Moosdorf recalled that the German party did not recognize the 2014 referendum in Crimea.

“This parallel with Crimea is particularly clumsy,” says Marine Le Pen, who now intends to give “a few lessons in geopolitics” to her neighbor.

We remind you that Marine Le Pen supported the illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea by Russia in 2014. Two years later, her party, the National Front (now the National Rally-Rassemblement National), received a loan from a Russian bank. Le Pen’s heavily indebted party took out the 9 million euro loan at the First Czech Russian Bank as it sought to raise funds in preparation for Marine’s 2017 presidential campaign.

We should also remember that Le Pen and AfD leaders both made pro-Russian statements, including opposition to sending weapons to Ukraine to aid the country in its defense war against Russian invaders.

Danger that far-right parties and radical leaders pose

Since January, revelations about a “remigration” project aimed at the mass expulsion of foreigners and German citizens deemed unintegrated should the AfD come to power have strained relations between the Rassemblement National and the AfD. In the wake of numerous protests in Germany, Marine Le Pen stated that she “totally disagreed” with this idea.

This new incident adds to the discomfort of the Rassemblement National, which hopes, on the one hand, to become the leader of a key identity group in the European Parliament that would include parties as radical as the AfD, while at the same time not scaring off its more moderate French electorate with a view to the 2027 presidential election.

This conflict between two far-right parties in two neighboring European states demonstrates the dangers of far-right ideology and radical leaders. Despite mounting scandals, not all Europeans currently perceive and comprehend this threat, as both parties are high in polls for the upcoming European elections.

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