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Europe

Le Pen, Salvini reject Bannon's European movement

media Leader of France's far-right National Rally (RN) party, Marine Le Pen (R) speaks as Italy's Interior minister, Matteo Salvini looks on, during a press conference within a meeting on the theme "Economic growth and social prospects in a Europe of Nations" on AFP

Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's former adviser, has been stirring up a populist far-right movement across Europe. But France's Marine Le Pen, in a joint press conference with Italy's Mateo Salvini on Monday rejected Bannon's efforts, saying that he was "not European".

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen distanced herself Monday from US President Donald Trump's former advisor Steve Bannon, saying it was not up to an American to "save Europe".

Bannon has been increasingly visible in Europe in recent months, touting plans for a Brussels-based foundation called "The Movement" to spark a populist right-wing revolt across the region.

"Bannon is not European. He is American," Le Pen said at a press conference with Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini in Rome. "But it is us and only us who will shape the political force resulting from European elections," the head of the far-right National Rally (RN) said.

 

Europe's far right prepares to upset next year's vote

Le Pen, Salvini and other far-right, anti-immigrant parties hope to upset the balance in the European parliament after the vote in May next year.

Le Pen rebranded her National Front party after losing last year's French presidential election to Emmanuel Macron.

Her party is now called National Rally (Rassemblement National). With the new name, she hopes to strike a new chord with the French public. Many in France associate the National Front with its early history and the provocative rhetoric of the party's former president Jean-Marie Le Pen.

"It is we who represent the different peoples in Europe, who structure the political force that aims to save Europe. Let that be very clear," she said.

Salvini had met Bannon at the start of September, saying he wanted to be at the forefront of a movement to "save Europe".

RN vice-president Louis Aliot recently said the party would "certainly" join the Bannon foundation.

But Le Pen's niece Marion Marechal, described as a rising right-wing star by the American, said that it was difficult to "make out the shape of (Bannon's) project".

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