Le Pen: Europe Will Wake Up in 2017

Le Pen: Europe Will Wake Up in 2017Le Pen: Europe Will Wake Up in 2017

French presidential hopeful, Marine Le Pen, on Saturday told a European gathering of rightwing populists in Germany that a string of high-stakes elections in 2017 would blow a wind of change across the region.

Emboldened by the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s US presidential victory, the far-right National Front leader said voters in France, Germany and the Netherlands would be next to reject the status quo, the news website, reported.

“2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up. 2017, I am sure, the people of continental Europe will wake up,” she told a cheering crowd at a conference hall in the western river city of Koblenz, on the River Rhine.

“It’s no longer a question of if, but when,” she added in a speech that railed against migration, the euro and open borders.

Billed as a “European counter-summit”, the Koblenz gathering is also being attended by Frauke Petry of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany, Geert Wilders of the Dutch anti-Islam Freedom Party, Harald Vilimsky, secretary-general of the Freedom Party of Austria and Matteo Salvini of Italy’s anti-EU Northern League.

The conference comes just a day after the US inauguration of Trump, who assumed power with a staunchly nationalist address in which he vowed to put “America first”.

The Koblenz participants have repeatedly voiced their admiration for the maverick billionaire, and like him are hoping to shake up the political landscape by capitalizing on a tide of anger against the establishment and anxiety over migration.

The Koblenz congress has been organized by the European Parliament’s Europe of Nations and Freedom grouping, which was set up by Le Pen in 2015 and is now home to 40 MEPs from nine member states.

The meeting of some of Europe’s most divisive politicians has stirred controversy in Germany.

Authorities in Koblenz are bracing for a large protest later on Saturday by a coalition of leftwing groups, mainstream political parties and unions. More than 1,000 police officers have been deployed to keep the demos peaceful.

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