An announcement from the European Parliament recently had political parties like the UK’s BNP and France’s Front National party, rubbing their hands in glee. Their positions have been strengthened by gaining monies of 289,266 Euros for 2012 funded by the European Parliament. They have gained this money from a 30 million euro fund, because the Alliance of European Nationalist Movements of which the BNP and Front National are members has been officially recognised by the European Parliament for the first time. Other parties such as the European Socialists have been receiving this money for some time and their funding could now be reduced because of this development. More likely than not the Nationalists funding will increase year on year. This now serves to strengthen their position and campaigns within the European Parliament. This is worrying given their stance on immigration including the free movement within the EU.
Having campaigned against the BNP in the 2010 local elections in Barking and Dagenham, I have experienced firsthand how nasty the BNP and parties like them can be. Although the BNP have been losing credibility recently with their leadership debacle, this announcement may now give them a boost to get their house in order. It may also strengthen the political campaign of the Front National’s leader Marie Le Pen, in her bid to become the next French president.
This also has implications for the 2014 European elections. As well as votes being cast for national parties such as Labour, there will also be a second ballot paper, on which voters will back pan-European alliances fighting for at least twenty. These alliances will have to be from national parties from at least seven different nation states, which may give minority parties such as the BNP an increase in European seats. Now that the Nationalist Alliance is funded only makes this a potential reality in their future campaigns.