Viktor Orban hits out at EU over coronavirus vaccine roll out
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The French National Rally leader is in Poland to meet with 13 other conservative and far-right leaders across the EU, including Viktor Orban, to forge a new eurosceptic alliance. Ms Le Pen posted a picture with the Hungarian leader on Twitter, saying: “In Warsaw, where many representatives of sovereignist parties are meeting today, I was able to talk again with Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary.”
The tweet prompted the fury of Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt who said: “Putin’s useful idiots gather in Warsaw… selling EU sovereignty to the highest bidder.”
French Europe Minister Clement Beaune also lashed out at Emmanuel Macron’s rival.
He told French TV 5 Monde: “Ask Marine Le Pen if her model is Hungary or Poland.
“She spent years trying to make people believe that she was demonised, today she will ally herself with people who are pushing back rights in Europe.”
The meeting, which follows a joint declaration signed by the parties over the summer, will seek to convince the Polish Law and Justice Party leader Jarosław Kaczyński to create a new major European alliance.
But more importantly, it will help Marine Le Pen present herself as an all-around international figure ready to challenge Emmanuel Macron’s position in the EU, ahead of the 2022 French elections.
The French far-right leader will be welcomed as a “state woman who does international diplomacy”, according to her party spokesperson.
The trip will also be seen in France as a power move by the National Rally leader against Eric Zemmour, the far-right political pundit who declared himself a candidate for the election earlier this week.
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A former journalist who has been convicted of inciting racial hatred, he is the top contender to challenge Marine Le Pen, leader of the more established far-right National Rally, for a place in a second-round against President Emmanuel Macron.
Mr Zemmour announced his candidacy for president on Tuesday with a video in which, to ominous music and footage of street violence, he said he wanted to save France from decadence and minorities that “oppress the majority”.
His candidacy turns the April 2022 election into a test of the endurance and limits of Europe’s far-right, which surged in the last decade but shows signs of reaching a ceiling as it pushes against boundaries of acceptable speech.
He said: “For a long time I was happy with the role of journalist, but I no longer trust that a politician will have the courage to save the country from the tragic fate that awaits it.
“That’s why I have decided to stand in the presidential election.”
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Mr Zemmour’s hardline criticism of Islam and immigration has drawn support both from Ms Le Pen’s voter base and from the mainstream conservative right but has also alienated some of the voters Le Pen had long sought to reassure.
As footage showed women with headscarves, Black men in the metro and CCTV footage of fights, he told voters on Tuesday that, watching movies, walking on the street or going to hospital: “You feel like you are no longer in the country you once knew, you are foreigners in your own country.”
He added: “We must give back the power to the people, take it back from minorities that oppress the majority.”
After a meteoric rise in opinion polls over the past weeks, with several surveys forecasting he would beat Le Pen to the election’s run-off round, his popularity has been slipping.
The Hungarian government has been contacted for comment.
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