Sunday

5th Apr 2020

Far-right Bannon to open EU campaign office

  • Bannon, 64, was US president Donald Trump's chief strategist (Photo: gage skidemore)

US far-right strategist Steve Bannon is to open a Brussels office to help nationalist-populist parties in EU elections.

Called The Movement, the project will hire 10 people in time for the vote next May to draft policies, do pan-EU polling, and share know-how on methods such as data-led voter targeting, Bannon said in the Daily Beast, a US publication, this weekend.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or subscribe as a group

It will also see him spend half his time touring EU capitals from November onward, he said.

"Everybody agrees that next May is hugely important, that this is the real first continent-wide face-off between populism and the party of Davos," he said, referring to the Davos Economic Forum, a high-level business congress.

The European Parliament already has a far-right group, the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, containing 43 out of the 751 MEPs in the assembly.

But a new "supergroup" could win up to one third of seats in the 2019 vote with the right support, Bannon said.

"Right-wing populist nationalism is what will happen. That's what will govern," he said.

"You're going to have individual nation states with their own identities, their own borders," he said.

Bannon, a 64-year old former White House chief advisor, media executive, and investment banker said he could "leverage" The Movement to make a big impact despite its small size.

The Brexit campaign spent just £7m (€8m) in the UK in 2016, he noted. Italian populist parties 5 Star Movement (5MS) and League also had few resources in this year's elections, he added.

"What the fuck?! £7m doesn't buy anything. It doesn't buy you Facebook data, it doesn't buy you ads, it doesn't do anything," Bannon told the Daily Beast.

"Dude! You just took the fifth largest economy in the world out of the EU for £7m!", he said.

"They [5MS and League] used their own credit cards. They took control of the seventh largest economy in the world - on their credit cards! It's insane," Bannon said.

The US strategist has in the past endorsed a convicted criminal, Tommy Robinson, from an extreme-right group, the English Defence League.

He indicated that his EU parliament supergroup would be open to most, but not all, right-wing outfits.

"We're not looking to include any ethno-nationalist parties in this, although guys like the Sweden Democrats or the True Finns are perfect casting," he said, naming two Nordic far-right parties.

The Movement's plan to use data-led voter targeting comes after Bannon and British firm Cambridge Analytica misused Facebook users' data in the 2016 US election campaign.

Chris Wylie, a Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, said Bannon had created and used a "psychological warfare tool".

The Facebook data scandal also involved millions of EU users.

But Bannon revelled in his frightful persona, saying: "He [Wylie] has literally made me the most brilliant evil genius. I'm a Bond villain. I kind of dig it".

The Movement would grow to rival The Open Society Foundation of George Soros, a Jewish philanthropist demonised by Europe's far right, Bannon added.

"Soros is brilliant … He's evil but he's brilliant," Bannon said.

The Movement's office would swell to 25 people after the 2019 elections, he noted.

Hungary to push ahead with 'Stop Soros' law on NGOs

The Hungarian government of Viktor Orban has said it will not wait until Friday, to hear a verdict of European legal experts on human rights, before going ahead with its bill curtailing NGOs who work with migrants.

Hungary offers cautious support to Bannon project

Populist forces in Hungary and Italy are gearing up ahead of the European parliament elections, as Donald Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, embarks on a Eurosceptic populist movement. Italy's Salvini has joined with Bannon - Hungary appears more cautious.

Interview

Bannon's The Movement to launch with January summit

Belgian Mischael Modrikamen is working with US strategist Steve Bannon to make the new hard-right grouping 'The Movement' go global. First step: a summit in January in Brussels, and high-level talks are underway, possibly with Brazil's far-right presidential contender.

Opinion

'The kids aren't alt-right'

Steve Bannon's demolition derby is behind the curve of EU politics, writes Dutch liberal MEP Sophie in 't Veld.

Opinion

Trump's 'plan' for Israel will go against EU values

As someone who has been personally targeted by Benjamin Netanyahu's incitement against Arabs and Palestinians, Christians, Muslims and Druze, I still believe that peace is possible. But Donald Trump's 'plan' will be a gift to Netanyahu's campaign.

China spy suspect worked for EU for 30 years

The former EU ambassador suspected by German prosecutors of spying for China was Gerhard Sabathil, according to EU officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. EU's 'Irini' Libya mission: Europe's Operation Cassandra
  2. Slovak army deployed to quarantine Roma settlements
  3. Lockdown: EU officials lobbied via WhatsApp and Skype
  4. EU: Athens can handle Covid outbreak at Greek camp
  5. New push to kick Orban's party out of centre-right EPP
  6. EU launches €100bn worker support scheme
  7. Court: Three countries broke EU law on migrant relocation
  8. Journalism hit hard by corona crisis

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us