Following this meeting in Koblenz, I was wondering why the leaders of nationalist parties in Europe are getting along. In this case, Marine Le Pen (France), Geert Wilders (Netherlands), Frauke Petry (Germany), Harald Vilimsky (Austria) and Matteo Salvini (Italy) are all members of anti-EU political parties. Another example of this kind of support was clearly visible right after the Brexit vote.

As I understand it, these nationalist parties are against the EU, free trade deals, and so on, and more in favor of protectionism and affiliated. So, they promote their own country over others'.

Why would they want to meet and support each other? Supposing that their respective countries would leave the EU, wouldn't they be on opposing sides?

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    Too many logical fallacies here. Being against the union doesn't necessarily mean being against other (or specific) countries in EU. Being against EU doesn't mean being against trade deals (merely against a whole bundle that packages trade deals with other things like immigration). I could go on an on. Even disregarding #1 point, being against a specific country doesn't mean you're against the whole country. And being against a country doesn't mean you can't form a tactical alliance with elements in that country.
    – user4012
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 17:55
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    Because the enemy of my enemy is my friend (at least temporary, until the common enemy is defeated).
    – Bregalad
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 18:03
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    @Bregalad what sort of propagdanized worldview do you have that being a nationalist means you consider others to be enemies? What enemy does National Front have? If anything the modern nationalist parties of Europe are the least likely to start a war or militarily intervene in the affairs of foreign nations. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 20:18
  • @hownow Obviously, "nationalism" isn't the best term here, however I thought it was the best term, because for me patriotism isn't incompatible with the EU. user4012: My question is then: why trying to get rid of it entirely and not ameliorating it? Regarding your last sentence (and Bregalad's), I get that it makes sense now, but what happens after? Does their alliance break?
    – SdaliM
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 20:24
  • @SdaliM individual nation states have been making and maintaining alliances with one another since the beginning of civilization. They're all individually still members of supranational alliances (like Nato) irregardless of being a member of the political and economic union found in the likes of the common-market common-currency European Union. Why get rid of the EU? Because the sovereign nation state is a more representative form of democratic governance than a supranational political entity that disregards the collective will of individual members. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 20:43

1 Answer 1


They're united in their opinions that the EU's influence in national affairs should be significantly reduced, or that the EU should be abolished altogether. Even if they would be nationalist in the sense that you describe, this common cause would be a powerful uniting force.

More importantly however:

So, they promote their own country over others'.
Supposing that their respective countries would leave the EU, wouldn't they be on opposing sides?

"Nationalism" is a bit of a wrong term here, as most of these parties don't really believe that one specific nation is better than all other nations; certainly not like e.g. Nazis did, with whom the term "nationalism" is most often associated.

Instead, what most of them believe is that "Western culture" or "Judeo-Christian culture" is better than some other cultures, (usually Muslim/Arab, but sometimes also Eastern European), and they oppose the influence of those cultures in the native countries. I suppose we could call this "culturalism", and is in opposition to cultural relativism.

Another sort of "nationalism" that sparks opposition to the EU is also a bit different from what you describe, and can be summarized as "I'm proud of my country, and it's better off making its own decisions". It's better described as patriotism than nationalism.

Lastly, not all opposition against the EU is from nationalism. For example many consider it to be unnecessary bureaucratic, undemocratic, expensive, and unfair.

Many of these viewpoints are not exclusive to UKIP, AfD, FN, PVV, etc. by the way. There is a lot of Euroscepticism on the left too, although that usually focuses on some different issues than the right-wing parties do.

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    I'm not so sure that there is a significant anti-Eastern Europe vibe among the parties mentioned. Politicians like Orban are viewed as leaders acting in their national interest, which might not align with Western European interests but they are still respected for by other nationalists.
    – MSalters
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 22:11
  • I agree with MSalters. Otherwise a very good answer.
    – Joël
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 2:15
  • @MSalters I know that at least UKIP and PVV have spent some time agitating against Eastern Europeans.
    – user11249
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 12:38
  • @Carpetsmoker: That's specifically against Eastern Europeans working in Western Europe.
    – MSalters
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 14:53
  • There's something I still don't understand. You quote my question, but don't really provide an answer to it: what happens if they succede in making their respective country leave the EU?
    – SdaliM
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 18:46

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