European Populists Meet To Plan ‘Patriotic Spring In Europe’

REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Europe’s populist leaders want to build on the momentum from Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidency as they gathered Saturday in Germany.

Populist parties in Germany, France and the Netherlands hope to shake up the political landscape during elections this year. Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, said 2017 is the year when she hopes the European people “wake up.”

“2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up. 2017, I am sure, the people of continental Europe will wake up,” she said during a speech at the conference in Koblenz. “It’s no longer a question of if, but when.”

Le Pen further took aim at German Chancellor Angela Merkel for declining to meet with her ahead of the French election.

“I am going to Germany to meet its future, the AfD, not its past, the CDU,” Le Pen said of Merkel’s party.

Attendees included Frauke Petry of Alternative for Germany, Geert Wilders of the Dutch Freedom Party and Matteo Salvini of Italy’s Northern League.

Wilders has promised to ban the Quran and hold a referendum on the Netherlands’ European Union membership if elected prime minister this spring. Wilders said the inauguration of Trump marked the beginning for a new world order.

“Yesterday a new America, today Koblenz and tomorrow a new Europe,” Wilders said. “We are the start of a patriotic spring in Europe.”

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