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Hypocrisy, fraud and scandals in Europe’s authoritarian parties

After gaining ground in national elections across Europe, authoritarian politicians also look set to do well in the European Parliament elections on 26 May 2019. Today’s new report by CEO offers a comprehensive overview of and shocking insights into the authoritarian right across the EU, as hundreds of millions prepare to cast their vote.

Europe’s two-faced authoritarian right” highlights the discrepancy between the public claims and European Parliament voting records of some of the most relevant far-right parties, exposes their links to oligarchs and big business interests, as well as various financial scandals.

From France to Hungary, and Germany to Italy, these parties embrace ultranationalist views but are united by their shared disdain for democracy. Corporate Europe Observatory’s report on the authoritarian right-wing parties across Europe shows just how many of them:

  • claim to reject established ‘elites’, but rely on funding and patronage from these circles.

  • promise to “clean up politics” but can be frequently mixed up in financial scandals, from corruption to illicit party funding, personal enrichment schemes, and even fraud.

  • talk of standing up for disillusioned working people, while their EU voting records, or records in government, often reveal staunchly pro-corporate agendas, especially around labour rights and taxation.

Against this backdrop, the study zeroes in on the case studies of 14 such parties represented in the current EU Parliament: the French Rassemblement National (RN), Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), the UK Independence Party (UKIP), the governing Austrian Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPÖ), Italy’s governing Lega party, Hungarian parties Fidesz (in government) and Jobbik, Poland’s governing Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc (PiS), the governing Czech Action for Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO), the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV), the Dansk Folkeparti in Denmark, the Sweden Democrats and the Finns’ Party, as well as Flemish Belgian Vlaams Belang.

These authoritarian right-wing parties, their allies, and patrons deserve more attention: not to fan the flames of their rhetoric, but to expose the hypocritical reality of their funding, their standpoints, their networks, and their ethics.

Corporate Europe Observatory’s researcher Margarida Silva said:

“We already know the abhorrent views of these parties on migration, racism, or civil rights. But their hypocritical voting behaviour and track record when in power are much less known, especially on issues like labour rights and taxation.

“These parties are two-faced: they criticise those they perceive as political and financial ‘elites’, while simultaneously accepting money from these circles or voting for their interests. They promise to ‘clean up politics’ but are frequently caught up in financial scandals.

“We very much hope that voters heading to the polls are aware of the ugly reality behind the facade of these authoritarian parties.”

 

Notes to editors:

 

Contact:

Theresa Crysmann, Corporate Europe Observatory Press Officer, theresa@corporateeurope.org, +32 (0) 2893 0930