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European Far-Right Leaders Decry EU, Mass Immigration

European Far-Right Leaders Meet In Prague
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Video: Reuters

Right-wing leaders from several European countries have met in the Czech capital, Prague, to criticize the European Union and what they call a policy of "mass immigration."

The December 16 conference of the right-wing Europe of Nations and Freedoms (MENL) group in the European Parliament was attended by Marine Le Pen of France, Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, Dutch politician Geert Wilders, and other rightist leaders.

"Brussels is an existential threat to our nation-states," Wilders said in criticism of the EU. He added that he hoped "Czechs will keep their doors firmly shut to mass migration."

The meeting was hosted by the Czech Republic's Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party, which won nearly 11 percent of the vote in Czech parliamentary elections in October based on an anti-Islam and anti-immigrant platform.

Le Pen welcomed the announcement earlier in the day that Austria had established a government that includes a far-rightist party led by Strache.

She called it "very good news, excellent news for Europe" and echoed Wilders' harsh view of the EU.

"We are not xenophobes, we are opponents of the European Union," said Le Pen, the runner-up in France's May presidential election.

"I think this is something we have in common [with the far right in the Czech Republic], because the European Union is a disastrous organization which is leading our continent to destruction through dilution, by drowning it in migrants, by the negation of the culture of our respective countries, by the draining of our diversity, because we like diversity."

"I like the fact that the Dutch are Dutch, that the Czechs are Czech, that the French are French, and that the Italians are Italian," she added, while sitting next to far-right SPD leader Tomio Okamura, whose father is Japanese.

"We want a Europe which respects national individuality, national identity, and freedom," Okamura said.

A group of some 200 protesters rallied outside the conference, which was held at a hotel on Prague's outskirts.

"We want to show that the Czech Republic is not indifferent to the manifestations of hatred, the spread of disinformation, which the SPD is committing," protest organizer Jan Cemper said.

Other far-right leaders attending the conference were from Italy, Belgium, Poland, Germany, and Great Britain.

With reporting by The Guardian, dpa, and