What the European Parliament election results could mean for migration

Instead of distributing migrants from NGO rescue ships around Europe, Marine Le Pen feels they should be taken back to the port from where they came

Right-wing anti-migration parties in Italy and France are celebrating large wins in the European elections this week but can they and their allies across Europe influence the future policy of the EU regarding migration?
Matteo Salvini is jubilant. He campaigned hard during the European elections, promising to “stop bureaucrats, stop bankers, stop ‘soft hearted people’ and stop the [migrant] boats.”

In Italy, Salvini’s message appears to have worked. “Thank you Italy,” he tweeted, holding up a sign reading “the first party in Italy. THANK YOU.” His party, La Lega (The League) won 28 seats doubling the score of his coalition partners the Five Star Movement who languish in third place, behind the Democratic Party with 14 seats.

In France it was a similar story. The Rassemblement National, Marine Le Pen’s party gained 22 seats just one ahead of the Liberal coalition which includes French President Emmanuel Macron’s party. Le Pen tweeted using the hashtag “#victory of the people.” She thanked the head of the list, youth leader Jordan Bardella for his campaign and said that “the people had, with pride and dignity, taken back power.” She claimed that a “great alternative movement has been born.”

Voting as a bloc?

In early May, on a visit to Bulgaria, Le Pen praised Matteo Salvini for “controlling the problem of migration.” In mid-April she told the French media that “immigration needs to be stopped.” She added that she was against a forced redistribution of migrants around Europe. She has called Frontex a “welcome agency for migrants” and said that the French borders needed to be protected at all costs. Instead of distributing migrants from NGO rescue ships around Europe, she feels they should be taken back to the port from where they came.

In Sweden, the right-wing Sweden democrats managed to take 15.4 percent of the votes, making them the party to have made the largest gains in the European parliament. They too are anti-immigrant and at one time wanted Sweden to leave the EU.

In Hungary the right-wing, anti-immigration governing party Fidesz along with its coalition party KDNP (a Christian Democratic party) topped the polls winning 13 of the country’s 21 seats. Fidesz was suspended from the Conservative bloc in the European Parliament in March due to fears that it was becoming “anti-democratic”. It has pursued an anti-immigration policy since its rise to power. Its fence along the border with Serbia as well as the treatment of those who enter the country to apply for asylum has long been criticized by NGOs working in the country such as the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

Different views

In the Czech Republic, the governing party from Andrej Babis won the most seats in the election with six. Other conservative parties followed closely in its wake with a further 7 between them. Although it is difficult to place Babis’ Ano party politically, most commentators call it centrist. Babis himself has described it as a “right-wing party with social empathy.” The party has called for immigrant quotas in the past.

In Belgium, the New Flemish Alliance NvA party won three seats. The same number of seats was also won by the right-wing Vlaams Belang party, or Flemish nationalists. Although the NvA were not previously anti-European or anti-migration, both parties campaigned against the Global Migration Pact last summer and left the Belgium government because of their stance on the matter.

In Poland, the PiS, party of Law and Justice took 26 of the seats. They are a national-conservative Christian Democratic party. The party doesn’t like being called nationalist. However, PiS is against mass relocation of refugees and economic migrants across Europe. Some individual politicians in the party have also made anti-migration and anti-Islam comments when discussing migration.

In Slovenia, an anti-immigrant party won the majority of votes alone, but less overall than an alliance of more moderate groups together. The news agency AP reported that the Slovenian Democratic Party had won around 26.5 percent of the votes.

Source: infomigrants