Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen May Join Forces

"It's important that the voter sees that we do not stand alone, that similar patriotic movements are active in every EU country."


Now that anti-EU parties are the rising stars, there is talk of larger cooperation. The European left benefits from being integrated to some degree. And this is an interesting pairing.

Both Wilders and Le Pen are popular and dynamic figures. Though Le Pen is careful to paint herself as "moderate" on Islam, which is not surprising considering some of the sources of support for her and her father's party.

"We could perhaps campaign together for the elections," Le Pen told Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad.

"It's important that the voter sees that we do not stand alone, that similar patriotic movements are active in every EU country," she said.

Le Pen said earlier this year that she wants to begin a pan-European far-right parliamentary grouping, including her National Front (FN) party, after the May 2014 European elections.

Le Pen and Wilders have many similar policies, from immigration to protectionism, but Wilders reportedly wanted to keep his distance because of the anti-Semitism of Le Pen's father and the founder of the FN, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Marine Le Pen, currently an MEP, and Wilders had lunch in Paris in April, but a date wasn't set for her to visit The Hague, the NRC newspaper paper said.

"The current system has a lot to lose if our movements work together," Le Pen said.

"We must not fall into the trap of demonising each other, that's just what the established parties want. I think Wilders is intelligent enough to understand that."

"Don't forget that Wilders and I have a different history and we work in different contexts."

Le Pen said that she was "perhaps less radical" than Wilders concerning Islam.

While she fights against Islam's presence in public life in France, "I have nothing against Islam in itself," she said. "I don't think that Islam is by definition incompatible with democracy."

It's not exactly an embrace, but France still think it's a great power and Le Pen benefits by being seen as a leader on regional and international issues. I'm not sure how much Wilders would benefit from the association.  Still Wilders has been pushing harder for such a project.

UKIP firmly rejected Wilders and the proposal for image reasons. Le Pen appears to be careful of the image issue, but somewhat more willing to consider the prospect.