This weekend the Polish capital is the scene of an important meeting between the European parties that disagree with the progressive consensus.
ECR and ID: the two groups that distance themselves from the progressive consensus
With an European People’s Party (EPP) that has supported the theses of the left in favor of abortion and the gender ideology in the offensive of Brussels against Poland and Hungary, currently the groups of the European Parliament that distance themselves from the progressive consensus are two: the group of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the group Identity and Democracy (ID).
In the ECR there are parties such as Vox (led by Santiago Abascal and the third most voted party in Spain), the Fratelli d’Italia party (led by Giorgia Meloni) and Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS, the ruling party in Poland).
The ID includes the French Rassemblement National (RN, led by Marine Le Pen), the Italian Lega (led by Matteo Salvini), the Austrian Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPÖ) and the Germans from Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).
Parties of both groups signed a joint statement last summer
Although separate, parties from both groups signed last summer a “Joint Declaration on the Future of Europe”, in which they denounced “a dangerous tendency to impose an ideological monopoly” within the European Union and in which they made some points in common, such as that “the cooperation of European nations must be based on tradition, on respect for the culture and history of European States, on respect for the Judeo-Christian heritage of Europe and on the common values that unite our nations, and not in its destruction.”
Santiago Abascal, Marine Le Pen and Viktor Orbán attend a meeting in Warsaw
This Friday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (from the PiS party) met with Marine Le Pen and Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary whose party, Fidesz, left the European People’s Party in March when it was about to expel him after many disagreements. Santiago Abascal has also traveled to Warsaw, accompanied by Vox MEP Jorge Buxadé.
Abascal speaks of “strengthen the alliance between the patriotic forces of Europe”
Is it by chance that leaders of three important parties from as many countries, all of them related, coincide in Warsaw? Obviously not. Yesterday Buxadé showed something enigmatic on his Twitter: “Already in Warsaw. Things are coming…” A few minutes later, Santiago Abascal spoke more clearly: “Very honored to visit Poland again, where I will be able to express my support for the Polish government in the face of the attack on its borders and we will be able to strengthen the alliance between the patriotic forces of Europe. I thank Prime Minister Morawiecki for his invitation.”
Speculations that have been published by media critical of conservative parties
There have been various rumors and speculation about this meeting in some media. On November 30, a very critical medium with the participants in this meeting, Euronews, raised a possible union of conservative European parties promoted by Viktor Orbán, and referred to “a conference in Warsaw on December 3-4 where they’ll discuss building an alternative EU power centre that would fight the bloc on migration, LGBTQ, and national sovereignty.” Yesterday, the Polish channel TVN24, openly hostile to PiS, indicated that representatives of the ruling party in Poland and twelve other European parties will participate in the meeting, expressly citing the Spanish party Vox. It also pointed out that the participants will not be Matteo Salvini, leader of the Italian Lega.
The ECR describes those informations as “rumors and fake news”
Against with those informations, this Wednesday PiS MEP Tomasz Poręba called “rumors and false news” the news published by different sources “about the possible new political group” in the European Parliament. He also did so by linking a statement made by the ECR on November 10, with the following text:
“We are Europe’s conservative voice and one of the main political forces in the European Parliament fighting for a deep reform of the European institutions and increased transparency, accountability and respect for subsidiarity in Brussels’ relationship with the governments and the citizens of Europe.
The principles and values of the Prague Declaration are reflected in the work we have carried out in the European Parliament over the last 12 years and in the partnerships we have chosen to build.
In view of the 2024 elections, we hope for greater cooperation in the second half of this legislature with the Political Groups alongside whom we fight common battles. We confirm the clear will to keep the ECR group united and to strengthen it in the remainder of this mandate.
We are committed to working together on the issues that define us and to reaching consensus for a real change in Europe. We will therefore start working towards the expansion of the ECR Group by opening a dialogue with like-minded national delegations, starting with the Fidesz Delegation in the European Parliament.
The ECR is here to stay.
We will continue to be Europe’s conservative voice, to fight for a strong, united Europe of proud nations, and to grow in a coherent manner.”
The pitfalls that separate the ECR and ID: the relationship with Russia
Having that affinity of principles between the ECR and ID in the aforementioned “Joint Declaration on the Future of Europe” last summer, what is it that separates both conservative groups? Regardless of the ideological nuances of each group and the parties that comprise them, currently the biggest stumbling block between the two is that the ECR is Atlanticist, but ID is akin to Russia. The leader of the PiS party, Jarosław Kaczyński, has repeatedly criticized these links. In March 2017, Kaczyński said that with Marine Le Pen “we have as much in common as with Mr. Putin” (for those who do not know, the PiS party and the Polish government have very bad relations with the Russian leader). In 2019, Kaczyński noted that some EU parties, including Le Pen’s, are “obviously linked to and supported by Moscow.”
Kaczyński was not talking just to talk. The ID group is made up of parties more or less akin to Putin’s Russia. It is an affinity that Le Pen’s RN, Salvini’s Lega, the Germans from AfD, the Czech SPD and the Austrian FPÖ have demonstrated. It is an affinity that Viktor Orbán and his party, Fidesz, also share. For a Poland that has one of its main threats in its Russian neighbor, this stumbling block is enormous. In the case of the Hungarian government, that difference is bridged by the traditional friendship between Poland and Hungary, but it is very difficult for the PiS party to be willing to form a single group with an ID that has repeatedly defended Russia in the European Parliament.
Brussels and Moscow make this rapprochement easier with their attacks on Poland
However, the rapprochement involved in meetings such as this Saturday, which could open the doors to a certain alliance between the ECR and ID, is explained in the ideological offensive of Brussels against Poland and Hungary, which leads to the Polish and Hungarian governments to try to capture all possible European support.
To this must be added that the migration attack by Belarus (supported by Russia) against Poland weakens Putin’s influence over the ID. It would be incongruous for parties that oppose illegal immigration and that emphasize the importance of borders to side with Russia and its Belarusian puppet Aleksandr Lukashenko in this crisis. In fact, Marine Le Pen has openly shown her support for Poland in the face of this attack. In the Bundestag, the AfD launched an initiative to support Poland. Even Salvini, whose Lega abstained last year in a vote condemning Lukashenko’s dictatorship, showed his support for the Polish government a few weeks ago.
Another important stumbling block: the support of parties from the ID group to Puigdemont
Another important stumbling block in the face of a possible union between the ECR and ID has to do with Spain. In March, three parties of the ID group (Le Pen’s RN, AfD and belgian Vlaams Belang), as well as several Lega MEPs, voted in favor of maintaining the parliamentary immunity of Carles Puigdemont, a fugitive from Spanish Justice for his participation in the separatist coup of October 2017 in Catalonia. In addition, they campaigned publicly in favor of the fugitive.
In September, Salvini publicly defended Puigemont, accusing the Spanish Justice of committing “revenge” against the fugitive. Vox responded harshly to the leader of the Lega: “Mr. Salvini is talking nonsense about Puigdemont again. Italians will probably soon remind you that to defend the sovereignty of the nation it is necessary to respect the sovereignty of the allied nations.“ Perhaps that explains Salvini’s announced absence from the Warsaw meeting.
Image, from left to right: Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary; Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Poland; Santiago Abascal, president of the Spanish party Vox; and Marine Le Pen, president of the French party Rassemblement National.
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