Friday 17 September 2021

Wilders defends Front National, FPÖ links: leaders are okay people

Geert Wilders thinks the leaders of France’s Front National and Austria’s FPÖ are suitable political partners and there is nothing in the way of working with them in Europe, he told television current affairs show Nieuwsuur on Wednesday night.

Wilders is hoping to form a European parliamentary grouping with the two parties and other far-right populist parties after the May 22 and 25 elections but has been criticised for linking up with anti-semitic parties.

Earlier in the day, the Dutch Jewish organisation CIDI accused Wilders of compromising his principles for trying to form an alliance with far right European parties.

Principles

CIDI director Esther Voet told the Telegraaf it is worrying that Wilders has changed his position. ‘He has always said he will not join up with the extreme right but now this is happening,’ she said. ‘It is a slippery slope.’

Wilders has always taken a strongly pro-Israel line and has good contacts with Jewish groups in the US. He is thought to raise considerable funding from Israel.

However Wilders said during the interview he did not want to look to the past. ‘These political leaders are okay. I have looked them in the eyes and talked to them. If I thought they were not okay, I would work with them,’ the PVV founder said.

Alliance

The PVV has been working with the Front National and its current leader Marine Le Pen since the end of last year.

Wilders used to distance himself from the party because of the anti-semitic and xenophobic statements made by its founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Marine Le Pen has distanced herself from her father but he remains honorary leader of the party and is a candidate in the European elections later this month.

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