The future girl bosses of Europe? France’s Le Pen meets with AfD co-leader to form strong right-wing core in EU

French far-right National Rally party leader Marine Le Pen arrives for the New Year's speech to the media in Paris, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
By John Cody
4 Min Read

A new, strong alliance of German and French right-wing forces could be formed, as the leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and the leaders of the French National Rally party met in Paris.

Alice Weidel, who heads the surging AfD, welcomed the outcome of a summit meeting with the leadership of Marine Le Pen.

“The meeting with caucus leader Marine Le Pen and party president Jordan Bardella was very important and significant for our common cooperation and for the upcoming European elections,” Weidel told the German news portal Junge Freiheit.

On her social media page, Weidel wrote: “We have discussed a number of policy issues and found that we are looking for the same solutions to the main problems of our time.”

The meeting also discussed the alleged revelations from the German news outlet Correctiv, which is funded by Germany’s left-wing government and recently ran a major hit piece on the AfD claiming members of the party attended a meeting near Potsdam where mass deportations were discussed.

The National Rally initially responded to a news report that it would have to reconsider its alliance with AfD within the EU parliament group Identity and Democracy (ID); however, the meeting between Weidel and Le Pen appears to have smoothed things between the two leaders.

“During the discussion, I pointed out the current campaign against the AfD, which has been going on since the story that Correctiv invented was published. This fight against disinformation and slander only brings the Alternative for Germany and the National Rally even closer together,” said the AfD leader.

The two politicians agreed to exchange information regularly in the future and to stay in close contact.

However, key differences remain between the two parties. The AfD still promotes deportation as an answer to many of Germany’s immigration woes, although the party has said that it does not support plans to deport anyone with German citizenship. Le Pen’s party does not necessarily support such a broad deportation plan as that supported by the AfD.

However, the parties are not oriented along precise party platforms, but are instead jointly seeking to strengthen the national sovereignty of member states vis-à-vis the European Union. In the European Parliament, both parties sit in the same party family.

The National Rally’s strategists are primarily looking to forge an alliance with the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group. The latter includes MEPs from Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s party, while Fidesz, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, is considering joining. However, there is also talk of the National Rally joining forces with the European People’s Party (EPP), whose recent opposition to some of the EU’s green transition policies is in line with their own position.

Meanwhile, Le Pen is sending a rather familiar name to the Brussels battlefield: Fabrice Leggeri, the former head of the European border agency Frontex, is standing for election to the European Parliament for the National Rally.

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