UK & World News

  • 3 May 2014, 12:43

Far-Right Dutch MP Seeks Tie-In With UKIP

A Dutch MP who leads a far-right party in the Netherlands has said he hopes to join forces with UKIP and Marine Le Pen's Front Nationale in the European Parliament.

Geert Wilders, founder of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV), told Sky News: "I hope that after the elections in May ... Mr Farage and my party ... can work together because I know one thing: if we really want to be a good advocate of all those millions of voters (who) cast their vote not against Europe but against the European Union, that they would benefit more if we were able to overstep our shadows and work together."

The 50-year-old politician is the subject of a fatwa and death threats from al Qaeda affiliates for his comments on Islam, has already proposed a deal with Ms Le Pen, who runs the Front Nationale, to unite their parties.

Both propose reigning in immigration, leaving the single currency and taking their respective countries out of the EU altogether, while continuing to access the single market.

It is an uncompromising position which appears to have chimed with many voters.

Polls in France and the Netherlands put the parties in either first or second place of those intending to vote in this month's parliamentary elections.

Ms Le Pen and Mr Wilders have also tried to convince other populist, EU critical parties around Europe to join forces including Vlaams Belang in Belgium, Finland's Finns Party and the relatively new Alternative for Germany.

All are expected to make significant gains in this year's elections, although polls across Europe suggest left-leaning pro-EU parties are expected to edge a small majority.

The same surveys suggest a move to the extremes from the centre ground after years of recession and austerity brought about by the global recession and sovereign debt crisis.

Mr Wilders has been mired in controversy again after he asked supporters at a rally in March whether they wanted "more or fewer" Moroccans in the Netherlands.

When the audience started chanting "fewer, fewer," the PVV leader said "we will take care of that".

That remark prompted several people to leave the party and 5,000 complaints to the public prosecutors accusing him of inciting racial hatred.

Mr Wilders said: "I believe that our culture which is based on Christianity and Judaism and humanism is better than the Islamic culture.

"I've nothing against the people but I have a problem with the culture. I'm not afraid of that.

"In the world today, in the Netherlands today, Europe today, you pay a very high price to say that: you get taken to court you get a fatwa, you get called a bigot and a racist. Once again it's not true."

The UKIP leader has said he is "not interested" in the offer of joining forces with Mr Wilders.

Mr Farage already chairs an anti-EU grouping in the European Parliament called the Europe of Freedom and Democracy, and it is clear he sees any association with Mr Wilders or Ms Le Pen as potentially damaging.

But the UKIP leader may face renewed pressure to strike deals with the biggest EU critical parties if he wants to make waves in Brussels and Strasbourg.

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