Europe’s far-right shun Trump’s strategist

Steve Bannon © Getty images
Steve Bannon: not welcome in Europe

Attempts by Steve Bannon, the former political strategist to Donald Trump, “to forge a united right-wing populist movement” in Europe before next year’s European Parliament election don’t seem to be gaining much ground, says Joshua Posaner on Politico. Germany’s far-right AfD party has “poured cold water” on the idea, while “other right-wing political figures have also pushed back against Bannon’s scheme to push an anti-establishment, Eurosceptic agenda ahead of the election”.

One reason for this “chilly” reception is that Bannon is too toxic, says Rebecca Tan in The Washington Post. “European leaders are wary of associating themselves too closely with Bannon in part because he represents a particularly extreme brand of right-wing politics that could make it harder for European parties to win new supporters.” Many populist leaders in Europe have also “bristled” at being led by an American, particularly because he “doesn’t seem to understand cultural differences among right-wing parties”.

It’s debatable whether the European far-right needs Bannon’s help, since they are doing well without him, says John Lloyd on Reuters. The AfD is in third place in the polls in Germany, as are the Swedish Democrats. The Lega Nord is already part of the governing coalition in Italy, while Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party “had a third smash victory in the election this year”. Bannon’s reach “may exceed his grasp”, but issues such as immigration from Africa mean that some force is still with these parties. “The far-right will stay on a high for some time longer yet.”