Where does Vox stand in the ultra-European family | International

Santiago Abascal and Marine Le Pen, on January 28 in Madrid, in an image from the Vox Instagram account.
Santiago Abascal and Marine Le Pen, on January 28 in Madrid, in an image from the Vox Instagram account.

Although the MEP Jorge Buxadé and the Vox candidate for the Andalusian Junta, Macarena Olona, ​​traveled to Paris on April 24 and were photographed with Marine Le Pen, Santiago Abascal has not yet said a word about the historic result of the French far-right leader ( 41.4% of the votes) and it took more than 15 hours to congratulate her, via Twitter, for her passage to the second round. Instead, he hastened to congratulate himself on April 3 on the fourth consecutive victory of Hungarian Viktor Orbán (53% of the vote).

Speaking to RNE, Buxadé assured that the French National Rally was not “the sister party” of Vox and did not even answer if he wanted Le Pen to win the elections. He limited himself to saying that he preferred that Macron not win. Le Pen was not Vox’s favorite candidate. Her bet was the talk show host Éric Zemmour, prophet of the xenophobic theory of the “great replacement” —the supposed replacement of the European Christian population by Muslim immigration—, which has made the French far-right leader appear moderate. Marion Maréchal Le Pen, granddaughter of the founder of the National Front and an ally of Vox, with whom she has set up a hotbed of young ultra leaders in Madrid, is the vice president of Zemmour’s party, Reconquista, a name that recalls Abascal’s oldest epic.

While Marine Le Pen had for years an openly gay number two, Florian Philippot, her niece participated in the marches against gay marriage. While Le Pen bets on increasing wages and pensions with a strong public sector, Zemmour wants to put the welfare state on a diet. Vox is ultraliberal like Reconquista, but tries to emulate Le Pen and seduce voters in working-class neighborhoods by stirring up fear of immigration.

As Buxadé argued, Agrupación Nacional and Vox do not share a group in the European Parliament. Le Pen’s supporters sit with the Salvini League, the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), the Finns Party — all three with experience in coalition governments in their respective countries — and the Alternative for Germany (AfD), among others. others.

Vox, on the other hand, is part of the Group of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), along with the ultra-conservative Poles of Law and Justice and the Brothers of Italy of Giorgia Meloni, heir to the post-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI). ), which disputes the hegemony of the Italian extreme right to Salvini, in addition to other minor partners.

With this second group, Vox shares a morality based on Catholic fundamentalism: while the leader of the AfD, the German Alice Weidel, declares herself a lesbian; the Poles of Law and Justice are openly homophobic and a third of the country’s municipalities have declared themselves “free of LGTBI ideology”. Vox has approached this last block, not only because of its greater ideological affinity -Abascal defends “zero abortion”, even in the case of rape, and rejects gay marriage and euthanasia- but also for convenience: unlike those of Le Pen and Salvini, the Poles are not subject to a sanitary cord in Strasbourg, which has allowed a Vox MEP, Mazaly Aguilar, to be vice president of the Agriculture Commission.

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In no man’s land are the 12 MEPs of Fidesz, of the Hungarian Orbán, who have remained unregistered after leaving the European People’s Party and not finding accommodation in the two ultra groups, where positions and perks were already distributed.

Steven Forti, a researcher at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa and author of Far Right 2.0 (Siglo XXI Editores), believes that far-right parties form “a big family” and “there are more things they share than differences.” In southern and eastern Europe, where the Catholic Church has historically had great weight, they defend a more conservative morality; while in the center and north they are secular, he explains. They all start from a neoliberal economic program, but some prioritize measures to encourage the birth rate and protect the traditional family. In his opinion, the “real fault lines between them are geopolitical, derived from the different context of each country”, and fueled by the personal ambitions of their leaders.

The invasion of Ukraine has brought these differences to the surface dramatically. While Le Pen and Salvini have tried to hide their past ties to Putin, Poland has become a rearguard of kyiv’s defense and has taken in millions of Ukrainian refugees. On the other hand, Orbán, without violating the sanctions imposed by the EU, has rejected the transit of arms to Ukraine through his territory and has shown himself willing to pay for Russian gas in rubles, as Moscow demands.

The last time Orbán, Le Pen and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki met was on January 29 in Madrid, with Abascal as host. The European ultras had no difficulty in agreeing on a declaration in which they denounced the alleged attempt to turn the EU into an “ideologized mega-state”, rejected the files opened against Poland and Hungary for violating the rule of law and defended the pre-eminence of national constitutions on Union treaties. On the contrary, the Polish leader had to go to great lengths to extract from his partners a paragraph that accused Russia of bringing Europe “to the brink of war” by concentrating its troops alongside Ukraine. Two days later, Orbán visited Moscow to secure gas supplies.

Poland and Hungary walk in the same direction: the construction of an illiberal State in which the space of freedoms narrows and authoritarian traits prevail. But prioritizing national selfishness over European solidarity does not guarantee cooperation between them. Unlike. It is in the germ of the two world wars.

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