News / Europe

    Right-Wing Surge in European Elections Threatens Ukraine’s Western Path

    FILE - France's far right National Front political party leader Marine Le Pen (L) gestures at supporters.
    FILE - France's far right National Front political party leader Marine Le Pen (L) gestures at supporters.
    James Brooke
    In Ukraine’s presidential election on Sunday, pro-European candidates swept the balloting. But in Europe that day, voters flocked to parties that want to close Europe’s doors.
     
    The strong right-wing showing in the recent European Parliament elections may claim an unexpected victim: Ukraine and its European ambitions.
     
    Almost one-third of the members who will sit in the Brussels-based parliament until the end of this decade come from parties hostile to the European Union and EU expansion. In many cases, they are full of praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
     
    Carnegie Moscow Center analyst Maria Lipman predicts these Euroskeptics and right-wingers will try to block financial aid to Ukraine.
     
    “The result of the European election is not good for Ukraine. It presages more difficult decisions, having to do with aid to Ukraine. The European Union already has serious burdens. It is not in excellent shape economically. To assume yet another burden that Ukraine is, and to allocate, actually, huge funds to Ukraine, is a difficult decision,” said Lipman.
     
    In Ukraine’s presidential election Sunday, pro-European candidates won over 80 percent of votes. The apparent winner, Petro Poroshenko, won 54 percent.
     
    On Monday in Kyiv, the head of the EU Parliament delegation in Ukraine, Sweden's Goeran Faerm, said the EU is ready to sign a free trade zone agreement with Ukraine and to continue talks on visa-free travel.
     
    But, back in Brussels, a growing minority of European parliament members may want to close Europe’s doors. They say that Ukraine is Russia’s problem. The Kremlin is courting these anti-EU politicians.
     
    Last month, Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, visited Moscow. She praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, and said there was “no point” in Ukraine joining the EU.
     
    In return, Putin publicly hailed what he called “the success of Marine Le Pen in France.”
     
    Then, last Sunday, the National Front won the most seats of any French party in the European elections.
     
    Peter Kreko, director of the Political Capital Institute in Budapest, studies the rise of Europe’s far right. He said that Europe’s nationalist parties are anti-U.S. and anti-EU. Here, they find common ground with President Putin.
     
    “What is the benefit of radical forces for Russia? They are anti-EU. Both on the far left, and on the far right in Europe, we can find forces that are openly talking about the end of Europe, and that, in the current form, the European Union should be demolished,” said Kreko.
     
    In March, the Kremlin invited representatives of the National Front and of other far-right European parties to Crimea to observe the snap election that ultimately approved Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula. These foreign observers wrote up a positive report on the vote.
     
    Russian state media give generous coverage to Europe’s new nationalist and Euroskeptic parties. Over the last four years, RT, the Kremlin-funded TV station, has mentioned or featured Marine Le Pen 144 times. Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, or UKIP, was interviewed 17 times.
     
    “[Farage] makes a lot of statements praising Russia, and making a lot of statements about the greatness of Putin, and how he (Putin) handled the Syrian, and then the Crimean conflict. And Nigel Farage has a lot of coverage in the pro-Russian media, including Voice of Russia, Russian television,” said Kreko.
     
    In Sunday’s voting, UKIP won the most votes. It the first time in over a century of British elections that first place did not go to Labor or the Conservatives.
     
    In Moscow, the Kremlin is clearly pleased with this surge in far right and Euroskeptic parties.
     
    Mikhail Margelov, head of the foreign affairs committee of upper house of Russia's parliament, told the Interfax news agency: “Many right-wing candidates elected to the European Parliament like Russia," adding, “so it can be expected that right-wing deputies will be able to affect the opinion about our country and the policy of Brussels regarding Moscow.”
     
    A negative assessment came from John Vinocur, a Wall Street Journal columnist based in Paris.
     
    Writing under a headline, “Putin’s Woman in Paris,” Vinocur concluded: “Mr. Putin can count at the least on Marine Le Pen as being appeasement's loudest cheerleader.”
     
    In the East-West tug of war over Ukraine, it appears that some Western Europeans are pushing East.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    May 28, 2014 4:26 AM
    What are the problems? United States alone will feed Kiev cakes as did Nuland on the Maidan.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora