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2/3/17

EU: Nationalism Raising Its Ugly Head in Europe at Populists TRUMP Disciples Meeting in Germany, praising Fuhrer Trump - by Simon Shuster

European Nationalist TRUMP Disciples  Wilders, Petry, and LePen
Across the European Union, politicians on the right-wing fringe have been invigorated by Trump’s victory, which has given them a chance to attract new supporters, build coalitions and argue that, despite the often glaring differences between them, they are all part of a (very dangerous) movement with seemingly unstoppable momentum.diciples

The most striking proof yet of that movement came on Saturday in the cross-section of far-right populists who met for the first time, at the AfD's invitation, at a convention in the German city of Koblenz. A day after Trump’s inauguration, the stars of the European right drew a direct line between Trump’s success at the ballot box and their own looming electoral battles.

“In 2016, the Anglo-Saxon world woke up,” said Marine Le Pen, the National Front leader currently favorite to become France's next President, referring to Trump’s victory and the British vote to leave the European Union in June. “In 2017, I am sure that it will be the year of the Continental peoples rising up,” she said to raucous applause.

The speech was the first Le Pen has ever delivered to an audience in Germany, whose right-wing leaders had previously avoided associating themselves with her more radical and xenophobic positions. But on Saturday she shared a stage with AfD leader Frauke Petry, signaling to the world they are now on the same team.

Taking the podium by turns, leading political upstarts from France, Germany, Italy, Austria and other European nations stuck to a strikingly similar message for their audience of roughly a thousand delegates. They raged against the globalist elites, the European Union, the media and, in particular, the millions of Arab and African immigrants whom they accuse of threatening European culture.

After a few weeks of reading online about Donald Trump’s transition to the presidency, Marco Kopping, a 36-year-old apprentice at a car-parts supplier near Frankfurt, decided to get involved in German politics. He had never sympathized with a political party before, let alone joined one. But in December he received his glossy membership card from Alternative for Germany (AfD), one of the far-right movements now riding the updraft from Trump’s ascent. What drove him, Kopping says, “was the feeling of a revolution.” He didn’t want to be left behind.

Across the European Union, politicians on the right-wing fringe have been invigorated by Trump’s victory, which has given them a chance to attract new supporters, build coalitions and argue that, despite the often glaring differences between them, they are all part of a movement with seemingly unstoppable momentum.

The most striking proof yet of that movement came on Saturday in the cross-section of far-right populists who met for the first time, at the AfD's invitation, at a convention in the German city of Koblenz. A day after Trump’s inauguration, the stars of the European right drew a direct line between Trump’s success at the ballot box and their own looming electoral battles.“In 2016, the Anglo-Saxon world woke up,” said Marine Le Pen, the National Front leader currently favorite to become France's next President, referring to Trump’s victory and the British vote to leave the European Union in June. “In 2017, I am sure that it will be the year of the Continental peoples rising up,” she said to raucous applause.

The speech was the first Le Pen has ever delivered to an audience in Germany, whose right-wing leaders had previously avoided associating themselves with her more radical and xenophobic positions. But on Saturday she shared a stage with AfD leader Frauke Petry, signaling to the world they are now on the same team.

Taking the podium by turns, leading political upstarts from France, Germany, Italy, Austria and other European nations stuck to a strikingly similar message for their audience of roughly a thousand delegates. They raged against the globalist elites, the European Union, the media and, in particular, the millions of Arab and African immigrants whom they accuse of threatening European culture.

Just a few years ago, such rhetoric would have confined these voices to the margins of European politics, especially in Germany, whose history with fascism has long provided a level of resistance to the allure of nationalism and identity politics. But today, buoyed by Trumpism, their message has entered the mainstream.

Two of the party leaders at Saturday’s event — Le Pen of the National Front and Geert Wilders of the Dutch Party for Freedom — are leading in the polls ahead of elections scheduled for this spring. The Austrian Freedom Party, whose two top leaders skipped the event in Koblenz in order to attend Trump’s Inauguration, narrowly lost a presidential race last month, even though the party’s founders in the 1950s were former officers of the Nazi SS.

“We all stand for the same things,” the party’s representative at the event, Harald Vilimsky, said from the stage on Saturday. “And if Trump is the winner, we are also winners.”

The new U.S. President has gone out of his way to encourage his admirers in Europe. The first foreign politician he met with after winning the election in November was Nigel Farage, the populist leader of the U.K. Independence Party, which drove the British vote to leave the European Union. In an interview last week with two European newspapers, Trump echoed the attacks that European nationalists have leveled against their favorite bugbear, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, calling her immigration policy "catastrophic." He also predicted that other E.U. members would follow Britain's lead in breaking away from the bloc.

“They’ve managed to create a public discourse that I thought was impossible here,” says Sylke Tempel, the editor of the Berlin Policy Journal, referring to the AfD. “You feel it in the little things, the use of language, the way people have started to talk.”One case in point took place about 10 minutes into the summit on Saturday, when the crowd turned on the attending journalists and began chanting "Lügenpresse!" — “lying press” — a term first popularized by the Nazis and, in the past couple of years, revived by European nationalists as a means of vilifying the media. Some of Trump’s supporters also adopted the term during his campaign rallies.

What matters to them now is maintaining a sense of unity behind the idea that their time has come, and Trump’s victory has made that a lot easier. “Yesterday you got a new America,” said Kopping, the AfD member, at Saturday’s event. "Now we want a new Europe."

Note EU-Digest: Given the track record of the new US President Donald Trump so far, European voters should at least be forewarned that Trump's European disciples of the far right Nationalist Camp are not the answer to a better, stable and economically strong Europe.

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