Pro-EU crowd braces as Bannon unveils right-wing counterpart to Soros’ foundation
Steve Bannon’s idea to set up a Soros-styled NGO to prop up Europe’s right-wing parties has caused quite a stir among liberals and the left, who rushed to accuse the former Trump advisor of planning an “attack on democracy.”
Bannon’s new non-profit organization, blandly dubbed ‘The Movement’ is set to establish itself in Brussels and would bring together right-wing parties from across Europe. The former chief advisor of Donald Trump unveiled the plan last week, seeking to provide like-minded parties with the support of think tanks, the organization of polls and valuable insights on data-targeting.
Ultimately, The Movement would challenge the influence of the George Soros’ liberal left Open Society Foundation. The NGO, established in 1984, has spent some $32 billion to support “liberal” causes. And now, Bannon seems to be adamant on giving broad support to Europe’s right.
The Movement is yet to be established, but the very idea of it has seemingly shaken the Eurocrats and pro-EU politicians, who rushed to fight Bannon in advance, labelling the envisioned NGO a “far-right” tool to shatter the union.
Member of the European Parliament from Germany and center-left politician Udo Bullmann branded Bannon’s idea “an attack on freedom and democracy in Europe,” vowing a “response’ to his initiative. Renata Alt from Germany’s Free Democrats Party, for her part, described the plan to establish The Movement as a “frontal attack on the EU and European values.”
Belgian liberal politician, leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and MEP Guy Verhofstadt called to “ban Bannon” from Europe altogether, to prevent him from preaching “hate.”
“Steve Bannon's far-right vision & attempt to import Trump's hateful politics to our continent will be rejected by decent Europeans. We know what the nightmare of nationalism did to our countries in the past,” Verhofstadt tweeted.
Steve Bannon's far-right vision & attempt to import Trump's hateful politics to our continent will be rejected by decent Europeans. We know what the nightmare of nationalism did to our countries in the past. We must #BanBannon! #GenerationEurope must stop him! pic.twitter.com/4VF2hiJ2bD— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) July 22, 2018
Funding of The Movement raises questions as well, Greek journalist and MEP Stelious Kouloglou told RT, since it was quite unclear whose interests this “obscure movement” would actually represent. Kouloglou, however, failed to explain what exactly makes Bannon’s proposed NGO any different from Soros’ foundation, which has been operating in Europe for decades. The MEP also described the right-wing European parties as mere “demagogues.”
“It’s very easy to be a demagogue, to find scapegoats. Whether this scapegoat is Mr. Soros or the scapegoat is the refugees,” Kouloglou stated.
Rich European countries, he added, should man-up and take their “historical responsibility” instead of resorting to populism.
“If you see so many people coming from different places you have to ask why. And the people, they are coming from, for instance, the Middle East, the people are political refugees,” Kouloglou said. “We, the United States, Great Britain and other people, bombarded … destroyed their countries and now they are denying any historical and political responsibilities. This is the same cause for the poor people, not refugees, but immigrants, to come from Africa. Who devastated Africa for decades and centuries? The rich European countries, they have to take their historical responsibility for that.”
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