Meet the EU's New Breed of Bigoted MEPs
There's a whole new bunch of Nazis, homophobes and Ebola virus lovers representing you in the EU Parliament.
Illustration by Marta Parszeniew.
If you didn't vote last Thursday, you're hardly alone. The thing about not voting, of course, is that somebody else will, and the people most likely to vote are those with the most vehement opinions. Bigots are sure to vote and they did so in droves, returning strong results for far-right parties in numerous European countries. We asked our colleagues from VICE offices across Europe to tell us about which scary assholes from their countries now have representation at European level.
Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the FPÖ. Photo via
AUSTRIA – FREEDOM PARTY OF AUSTRIA
Vote share: 20.5 percent (+7.79 percent on 2009)
MEPs: 4 (+2 on 2009)
There are two common misconceptions about the FPÖ, or Freedom Party of Austria, that almost everybody seems to share: Namely that they’re either Nazis or completely harmless. Both are bullshit and have been contributing to the huge success of the movement since the early 1990s. Sure, they’re nationalists and their top ranks consist of uneducated halfwits who look as if they’re always stepping right out of a sauna after three days of boozing on the campaign trail. But they also thrive on left-wing critics who are equally simple-minded and use the Nazi allegation against anyone they don't like – making themselves look stupid, and robbing the word of the shock factor it once had. This doesn't really do much to stop an assortment of nationalists, alienated Austrians, and yes – real life Nazis – alike from getting behind the FPÖ’s agenda of “Us first”. Afterall, FPÖ came in third place with around a fifth of the vote.
GERMANY – ALTERNATIVE FOR GERMANY
Vote: 7 percent (n/a: Didn't exist in 2009)
MEPs: 7 (n/a)
Although it is the first time that Germany’s thuggish Neo-Nazi party, the NPD, has managed to gain a seat in the European Parliament, it's something of a bureaucratic victory. They owe their seat more to the abolishment of the three percent threshold for parties to win any seats European elections in Germany than to a surge in popularity (they only managed to get one percent of the vote). They being there is a bad look, but probably no cause for real concern.
More unsettling is the success of a new eurosceptic party, the Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland), which managed to win a stellar seven percent and seven seats. Originally formed just over a year ago by academics to advocate Germany’s exit from the Euro, they began to flirt with right-wing populism ahead of the European elections. They now seem to attract a whole bunch of people who are not only sceptical of the EU, but also of US world dominance, “NATO warmongering” in Ukraine, the “official version” of what happened on 9/11, and the Rothschild family. At this point, it’s hard to tell whether they’ll actually influence policy, vanish, or morph into a nerdy, popular version of the NPD.
Someone pretending to be PVV leader Geert Wilders. Photo via
THE NETHERLANDS – PARTY FOR FREEDOM
Vote: 13.2 percent (-3.8 percent)
MEPs: 4 (-1)
What might be unsettling for some European countries – dealing with the rise of scary political parties – is business as usual for the Dutch. For over a decade the Party for Freedom (PVV) has dominanted Dutch politics with suggestions that make normal humans want to stab their brains out: a ban on the Koran, a tax on the Muslim headscarf, a website targetting East-Europeans and deporting millions of Muslims from Europe just to name a few.
Although the elections handed the PVV a bit of a blow, they still managed to get four seats – losing one seat – and maintained their position as one of the largest parties in the country. That's saying a lot after even one of his own MPs left in disgust after party leader Geert Wilders promised to arrange the presence of "fewer Moroccans" in the Netherlands to a screaming crowd.
There were rumours that Saudi Arabia was going to boycott Dutch companies after Wilders stuck a sticker on his door, based on the Saudi flag, reading in Arabic, "Islam is a lie, Mohammad is a criminal, the Koran is poison." It seems that this mediocre result for the PVV could mean that the boycott doesn't happen, to the relief of Dutch businessmen.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Photo by Cian Oba-Smith
UK – UKIP
Vote: 27.49 percent (+10.99)
MEPs: 24 (+11)
Britain can pat itself on the back for getting rid of the openly racist British National Party, which won two seats last time round and zero this time. Its leader Nick Griffin, will no longer be stinking out Brussels with his beef stew, or racism. Unfortunately, we have let in more than ten times as many MEPs from the UK Independence Party – nearly doubling their representation compared to last time.
UKIP is led by Nigel Farage, seemingly the only politician in the country who people actually find likeable. The scary part is that they manage to talk smack about immigrants in a way that is seen as socially acceptable. This has united disaffected conservative bigots in the south and disaffected working class people who fear for their jobs in the north. But in a recent radio interview, Farage’s mask slipped. Asked what the difference between having some German children or Romanian men as neighbours, he replied, “You know what the difference is.” Numerous UKIP members have been exposed by the press for less subtle bigotry – like the one with Nazi tattoos in a “white powder” photo-shoot, and the one suggested shooting “poofters” . None of which put people off voting for UKIP who stormed to victory and set off another round of anti-immigrant, anti-EU chatter from the spooked main parties.
Most people here blame Nick Clegg for this, weirdly.
Marine Le Pen at a National Front Meeting, 1st of May. Photo via
FRANCE – FRONT NATIONAL
Vote: 25 percent (+19 percent)
MEPs: 24 (+21)
With 25 percent of the votes, Front National party won the EU parliament elections for the first time. Like in previous elections, the party was the first among 18 to 24 year olds and the working class. A few days before the vote, Jean Marie Le Pen – founder and former leader of the party until his own daughter Marine took on the role in 2011 – suggested Ebola as a solution to global population explosion.
Tomorrow, the 29th of May, a leftist protest will be organised in Paris against the rising of far-right parties in Europe, but most people don’t really care about it. The next French presidential elections will take place in 2017 and Marine Le Pen might be in the run-off, 15 years after her father.
Just to reiterate – a party whose founder suggested that a disease where you bleed from every orifice would solve overpopulation just won an election.
Dansk Folkparti leader Pia Kjærsgaard on a poster. Photo via
DENMARK – DANISH PEOPLE'S PARTY
Vote: 26.7 percent (+11.4 percent)
MEPs: 4 (+2)
Dansk Folkparti (The Danish People’s Party) just got more votes than any other party in Denmark, clocking in at 27 percent and earning them four representatives for the European Parliament. On the subject of whether or not she wanted Muslims out of the country, founder Pia Kjærsgaard said, “We have a religion in this thousand year old realm – Denmark – and we need to keep it that way. That’s why is crucial, that Islam doesn’t gain territory in Denmark.” Remember where else you’ve heard talk of a thousand year old realm? Yup, Nazi Germany.
ITALY – LEGA NORD
Vote: 6.2 percent (-4 percent)
MEPs: 5 (-4)
The Lega Nord (Northern League) was born at the end of the 1980's as a movement for independence for the north of Italy. Since then it has occupied a number of seats in the Italian Parliament, and has taken part in Silvio Berlusconi's government coalition several times. Many of its representative have been sentenced for incitement to racial hatred during extremely violent campaigns against immigrants, minorities and gypsies such as the former mayor of Treviso, Giancarlo Gentilini, who expressed his desire of an "Ethnic Cleansing of all faggots", and suggested to shoot against all migrants arriving on the Italian shores as a solution to immigration. In 2013, 39-year-old Matteo Salvini became party secretary. Salvini abandoned the historical independence line, in favour of... you guessed it, more xenophobia! He's clearly inspired by Marine Le Pen of the French Front National with whom he'll probably sign an alliance in the European Parliament. Lega Nord's fortunes actually took something of a dive in the recent election. They got 6.2 percent and five MEPs, down from nine MEPs in 2009.
After the vote, Matteo Salvini declared: "They said we were dead, but we're still here and apparently we’re going to be be the fourth party in Italy.” The Lega Nord is still around and will carry on encouraging the worst instincts of the Italian population.
Golden Dawn supporters. Photo via
GREECE – GOLDEN DAWN
Vote: 9.4 percent (+8.6 percent)
MEPs: 3 (+3)
We all had high hopes in Greece that after the imprisoment of the Golden Dawn's (GD) leader, Nikos Mihaloliakos, the neo-Nazis’ party would dissolve. Things didn't turn out that way at all. GD emerged as the third most popular political party in Greece at the European Elections, which is really scary given the fact that police has found evidence that these people are more like a criminal gang than a bunch of politicians.
However it's even scarier that all the alleged hate crimes of the GD's paramilitary squads against immigrants, gays and ethnic minorities weren't enough to sway the voters against them. Somehow people in Greece find it cool to vote for fascists who don't care much for democracy, assault women and ridiculously pretend to be Spartans while playing around, naked, in Crete.
At the end of the day, Ι feel it isn't the fascists of the Golden Dawn who are scary, but the fact that anyone normal supports them.
FINLAND – THE FINNS PARTY
Vote: 12.9 percent (+3.1 percent)
MEPs: 2 (+1)
Perussuomalaiset (The Finns Party) is the third largest party in Finland. One of their MP's, Jussi Halla-aho, is one of Finland's most popular political bloggers. He's said things such as "It's within Somalians' genetic traits to act like a parasite on tax money", and has been convicted for "racial agitation". What did he do? He said that Islam is a "paedophile's religion".
On paper, the Finns Party are referred to as a "nationalist populist" party, yet it was only in October 2013 that they had to kick out MP James Hirvisaari after he and his buddy Seppo Lehto allegedly did the Nazi salute in the Houses of Parliament – a feat that Seppo later bragged about on Facebook.