Sunday

22nd May 2022

Nordic populist parties divided on which EP group to join

  • The Finns' Timo Soini would be keen on a political alliance with the British Conservatives or UKip (Photo: Mikael Brunila)

Right-wing populist parties from the Nordic countries are set to take different political paths after the European elections in May.

While the Sweden Democrats are looking towards the likely coalition between France’s National Front and the Dutch Freedom Party, the Danish People’s Party and The Finns party are seeking their political alliances elsewhere.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Our choice is between the EFD [Europe of Freedom and Democracy] and the ECR [European Conservatives and Reformists]," Timo Soini, chair of The Finns party, told EUobserver.

Both groups are dominated by British eurosceptics. The EFD is home to prominent eurosceptic Nigel Farage and his UKip party, while the Conservative party of Prime Minister David Cameron forms the main part of the ECR.

Soini's comment leaves little room for speculation and puts paid to the political aspirations of the party's radical faction.

Olli Immonen, MP and chairman of Suomen Sisu, a group with strong ties to Finnish neo-fascism, had just a few days earlier expressed a desire to see The Finns party in a much wider coalition.

"I wish that at least The Finns party, the French National Front, the Austrian and Dutch Freedom parties, the Danish People's Party and maybe Ukip would be in the same group," he said.

It was a show of support for attempts by the National Front's Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders of the Dutch Freedom party to create a common eurosceptic force, including many of the most prominent islamophobic parties on the continent.

So far this initiative seems to have fractured rather than united the European far-right.

"I cannot see myself in any constellation with this party," Morten Messerschmidt, MEP for the Danish People's Party, said last week, referring to the National Front.

The Danish People's Party and The Finns party are both currently in the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group.

This puts the parties in a very different place to the Sweden Democrats which have on several occasions in the past year mentioned the possibility of working with the National Front.

"I don't know how enthusiastic we are about it, but to have any influence in the European parliament we have to be part of a group," Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson said in March.

Under the parliament's rules at least 25 MEPs from seven member states are needed to establish a political group.

Akesson, whose party is expected to win its first seats in the European parliament in May, later retracted his comment, saying the party had "yet to make a choice".

But with some other parties wary of hooking up with the Sweden Democrats, the choice might not be Akesson's to make.

In March Ukip’s Nigel Farage told the Swedish Daily Svenska Dagbladet that in relation to the Sweden Democrats: "My colleagues have some reservations about their youth league and some of their contacts around Europe."

This probably means that Akesson's party might have to choose between isolation and the ranks of Le Pen and Wilders.

But there is still one wild card on the table when it comes to European far-right coalitions: Germany's anti-euro AfD. The party was only founded last year but is expected to win several seats in the EU assembly come May.

The AfD is currently deliberating on whether to court UKip or the British Conservative Party – thus putting it out of play, for now, in the game of far-right coalition-making.

Much ado about Greece in Finnish EU elections

In Finland the European elections will be about Greece, at least if Timo Soini, chair of the radical right-wing populist party The Finns, previously known as the True Finns, gets his way.

EU lobbies Hungary to break oil sanctions deadlock

After the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's Budapest trip, Hungary suggested it wants EU funds to offset the extra costs from receiving different oil sources, and the increased energy prices the planned Russian oil embargo entails.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. UK to send 'hundreds' of migrants to Rwanda each year
  2. Norwegian knife attacks were domestic dispute
  3. Sweden hits back at Turkey's 'disinformation' in Nato bid
  4. Germany's Schröder gives up one of two Russia jobs
  5. G7 countries pledge €18bn in financial aid for Ukraine
  6. Italian unions strike in protest over military aid for Ukraine
  7. Russia cuts gas supply to Finland
  8. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. What Europe still needs to do to save its bees
  2. Remembering Falcone: How Italy almost became a narco-state
  3. Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK
  4. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  5. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  6. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  7. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  8. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us