French presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen on Saturday told a European gathering of right-wing populists in Germany that a string of high-stakes elections in 2017 would blow a wind of change across the region.
Emboldened by the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s US presidential victory, the far-right National Front leader said voters in France, Germany and the Netherlands would be next to reject the status quo.
“2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up. 2017, I am sure, the people of continental Europe will wake up,” she told a cheering crowd at a conference hall in the western river city of Koblenz, on the river Rhine.
“It’s no longer a question of if, but when,” she added in a speech that railed against migration, the euro and open borders.
Billed as a “European counter-summit”, the Koblenz gathering is also being attended by Frauke Petry of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), Geert Wilders of the Dutch anti-Islam Freedom Party, Harald Vilimsky, secretary general of the Freedom Party of Austria and Matteo Salvini of Italy’s anti-EU Northern League.
The conference comes just a day after the US inauguration of Trump, who assumed power with a staunchly nationalist address in which he vowed to put “America first”.
Anti-establishment politicians including Marine Le Pen, head of the National Front in France, and Geert Wilders of the Dutch Freedom Party echoed the combative language of the new U.S. president’s inaugural address at a celebratory rally in Koblenz, western Germany, on Saturday while Chancellor Angela Merkel was trying to reassure her supporters at a meeting in the country’s industrial heartland.
Le Pen and her allies are spearheading the most sustained challenge to Europe’s status quo since the end of the Cold War, with the continent facing elections this year in Germany, France and the Netherlands. While a meeting of the populist right would once have been dismissed as a sideshow, Trump’s unexpected rise and the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU in last year’s referendum have focused investors’ concerns on the where the next threat to the European Union project might emerge.
“The first major hit on the old order was Brexit,” Le Pen told a couple of hundred cheering supporters in Koblenz’s conference center. EU countries will soon “leave the prison of Europe,” she predicted, branding Merkel’s decision to let almost a million migrants into Germany last year “a catastrophe.” Trump himself has called the move “a catastrophic mistake.”
Hammering on the key themes of her election campaign, Le Pen said every member of the euro area must have the possibility of leaving and that the shared currency is “destroying” the French economy. The latest opinion polls suggest the nationalist leader could win the most votes in the first round of France’s presidential election on April 23, though no one has projected she would win the runoff two weeks later.
We’re talking about puppets on a string, journalists who write or say whatever their masters tell them to say or write. If you see how the mainstream media is reporting about the Ukraine conflict and if you know what's really going on, you get the picture. The masters in the background are pushing for war with Russia and western journalists are putting on their helmets.
I'm ashamed I was part of it. Unfortunately I cannot reverse this. Although my superiors at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung approved of what I did, I'm still to blame. But yes, to my knowledge I am the first to accuse myself and to prove many others are to blame.
"Complacency in the new media, combined with incredibly powerful propaganda and publicity forces means we sometimes get little of the truth," she said. "Special interests have unlimited time and money to figure out new ways to spin us while cloaking their role. Surreptitious astroturf methods are now more important to these interests than traditional lobbying of Congress."
1. The Initiators
2. The Enemy
3. The Crossfire
A Declaration of War
Now, in 2017, the U.S. is in real trouble. Not as bad as Rhodesia 40 years ago—and definitely a different kind of trouble—but plenty serious. For many years, it’s been obvious that the country was eventually going to hit the wall, and now the inevitable is rapidly becoming imminent.
What do I mean by that? There’s plenty of reason to be concerned about things financial and economic. But I personally believe we haven't been bearish enough on the eventual social and political fallout from the Greater Depression. Nothing is certain, but the odds are high that the U.S. is going into a time of troubles at least as bad as any experienced in any advanced country in the last century.
It strikes most people as outrageous because the long-running post-WWII boom has been punctuated only by brief recessions. After 70 years, why should it ever end? The thought of a nasty end certainly runs counter to the experience of almost everyone now alive—including myself—and our personal experience is what we tend to trust most. But it seems to me we're very close to a tipping point. Ice stays ice even while it’s being warmed—until the temperature goes over 32° F, where it changes very quickly into something very different.