Europe’s populists hold summit

Europe’s populists hold summit

A nine-member bloc of right-wing European parties will meet in the German city of Koblenz on Saturday. The Europe for

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A nine-member bloc of right-wing European parties will meet in the German city of Koblenz on Saturday.

The Europe for Nations and Freedom group, comprised of France’s National Front, the Alternative for Germany, the Dutch Party for Freedom, Italy’s Northern League and others, all run on deeply Eurosceptic and anti-migration platforms.

While AfD chairwoman Frauke Petry will attend Saturday’s summit, senior spokesman Joerg Meuthen won’t, sparking rumours of a party split. Meuthen’s hesitance to travel to Koblenz stems from the German right-wing’s historic aversion to being associated with anti-Semites; France’s National Front has a history of anti-Semitism, although since taking the leadership in 2011 Marine Le Pen has reigned this in.

Meeting organisers have stirred controversy by banning a number of media organisations from covering the convention, prompting threats of legal action from German network ARD.

Coming less than 24 hours after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Europe’s populists will have their eyes on the halls of power too. Of the nine member parties, Marine Le Pen’s National Front has the best chance of electoral victory in May, although a strong challenge from the centre-right is likely to thwart her chances.