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Marine Le Pen encourages Belgium’s French speakers to vote for Vlaams Belang

17:33 06/05/2019
There's only one choice in Belgium, according to the leader of France's far-right National Rally

Marine Le Pen, president of France’s far-right National Rally, is encouraging French speakers in Belgium to vote for the Flemish political party Vlaams Belang. Le Pen was in Brussels at the weekend at the invitation of Vlaams Belang, which has built its platform around the ‘Islamitisation’ of Belgium and an ‘Our people first’ theme.

“Today, I am launching a clear call to French-speaking Bruxellois to vote for Vlaams Belang,” said Le Pen at a press event at the party’s Brussels office. “I see that the situation in Brussels is headed in the wrong direction. If you love Brussels like I do, that’s painful. Over the last few years, I have seen Brussels deteriorate from a region with bravado, pride and splendour to one that no one wants to be compared to.”

While Vlaams Belang is a Flemish party, Le Pen sees it as having the values closer to her own than any of Belgium’s French-speaking political parties. She also took the opportunity to disparage nationalists N-VA, the biggest political party in the country and home to some former Vlaams Belang politicians.

“N-VA is like Nicolas Sarkozy,” she said. “Just the same. A lot of talk, but then when they get into power, nothing happens. What has N-VA done in the fight against immigration? Nothing.”

Eurosceptics unite

Dominiek Lootens is first on the elections list for Vlaams Belang in the Brussels parliament. “It’s obvious that on the Dutch-speaking side, that, while some parties copy our ideas, once they get elected, they do the opposite of what they promised,” he said. “And on the French-speaking side, despite numerous small right-wing parties, there is no adequate alternative. So it’s obvious that both Dutch- and French-speaking residents of Brussels only have one viable choice: Vlaams Belang.”

Le Pen also spoke of the planned far-right alliance at EU level. National Rally and Vlaams Belang are teaming up with other populist parties in Europe to try to create the biggest fraction in the European parliament following the elections later this month.

“As right-wing parties, we have long  been isolated in Europe,” she said. “We had two choices: Conform or quit. But now we have a chance to change Europe from the inside out. We can create an à la carte Europe, a Europe with co-operation among nations.”

Photo, from left: Dominiek Lootens, Marine Le Pen and Vlaams Belang chair Tom Van Grieken
©Courtesy Vlaams Belang

Written by Lisa Bradshaw