Conservative politicians across Europe met in Madrid on Saturday to discuss the ongoing problems facing the continent and to reach a consensus on how to move forward with an alliance between like-minded parties disillusioned with the European Union’s political direction.
The summit was organized by Santiago Abascal, party leader of the conservative-nationalist Vox party in Spain, and notable participants included Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Rally and a presidential candidate aiming to dethrone Emmanuel Macron in April’s presidential election.
Conservative politicians from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, and the Netherlands were also in attendance.
It is understood that leaders were keen to address the demographic situation facing many European nations, namely the declining birth rate and workforce across Europe, which has prompted many liberal governments to encourage mass immigration from elsewhere; the security of the European Union’s external border; a pledge to deliver energy independence and cease the reliance of energy provisions from Russia and elsewhere, and the escalating situation in Ukraine.
“The Madrid summit begins,” tweeted Abascal on Saturday. “Patriots from all over Europe in defense of our common values, our borders and our sovereignty. In defense of the true Europe against the bureaucrats of Brussels.”
The conservative summit will serve as a “benchmark for all Europeans who believe that the EU must be faithful to its origin and respectful of the borders and sovereignty of nations,” Abascal added.
The sentiment was echoed by France’s firebrand nationalist, Marine Le Pen, who tweeted: “Together, we will give nations back their sovereignty and their freedoms. Long live the free peoples and long live the Europe of the nations!”
The summit follows firm proposals discussed last year by parties on the European right to establish a formal alliance within the European Parliament, intent on changing the trajectory of the European Union, encouraging the bloc to revert back to a collaboration among independent nation-states who work and trade together but respect national sovereignty.
Speaking to reporters, Le Pen explained that “the work we have undertaken to create a large group of patriots within the European Parliament is progressing because we have a lot in common. The objective is to contribute to a saving reorientation of an increasingly criticized European Union.”
During a similar meeting last year, albeit over video conference, Hungarian premier Viktor Orbán revealed the intention of a pan-European conservative alliance was to give conservative thinkers “a voice and weight in European politics,” adding: “We also say no to censorship, the European empire in Brussels, communism, illegal migration, and anti-Semitism.”