Far-Right MEPs, Globetrotting Champions Of The Declaration
Thierry Mariani’s trips to Syria, here with Bashar el-Assad, have been singled out.
Between the need to exist on the international scene and the feeling of feeling watched, the deputies of the ID group and the curators of ECR apply themselves to declaring all their trips.
It is to the right of the right that we travel… or that we declare the most. 25.4% of conservative MEPs from the ECR group (which includes, among others, the Poles from PiS and the Italians from Fratelli d’Italia) have already declared at least one trip, compared to 23.4% for far-right MEPs of the ID group (with the Vlaams Belang or the National Rally), who always meet the deadline. “These are globetrotters who need, more than the others, to restore their image internationally and to establish contacts”, assures Jean-Yves Camus, connoisseur of the far right and co-founder of the Observatory. political radicalism.
Among the most active hosts with conservative and far-right MEPs, India (17 declared invitations) and two organizations in particular: the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies and the Women’s Economic and Social ThinkTank. The “Modi connection” of Brussels is taking shape. Behind these two think tanks, the shadow of a certain Madi Sharma, an Indian lobbyist based in Brussels who facilitated meetings with the Indian nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These MEPs became the first delegation of foreign dignitaries to visit Kashmir since the repeal of Article 370 (which revoked the region’s autonomy). Vlaams Belang MEP Tom Vandendriessche was there. This is his only declared trip, and the Belgians of the ID group are not on the move: his two other colleagues from Belang, Filip de Man and Gerolf Annemans (who tells us that he did not receive an invitation), n declared no trips.
“More Exemplary Than The Most Exemplary”
Another zealous host, Russia. Since the beginning of the mandate, ten invitations have been issued by Russia to far-right MEPs, then accepted and declared. In 2020, the elected officials attended, according to their declaration, an “election observation mission” in Crimea – now annexed – at the invitation of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. The EPDE (the European Platform for Democratic Elections), which has extensively documented these sham observation missions organized by the Russian government, warns: “Russia’s independent experts and observers claim that this institution was created to produce “fake” observers in Russia, in an effort to silence criticism from legitimate observers. »
Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, 2022, travel has, of course, dried up. Let us note all the same a particularly badly named round table dating from mid-March 2021 – “Fight for peace” – which was attended by the French MEP for the National Rally Thierry Mariani, who is among the greatest travelers. Nicolas Sarkozy’s former minister spent 28 nights abroad on behalf of a third party (3 in India, 4 in Uzbekistan, 4 in Kazakhstan, 6 in Russia, 9 in Syria and 2 in Switzerland) and participated three times to these famous electoral observation missions. “He is in the crosshairs, he must declare”, judges the expert Jean-Yves Camus.
And for good reason: the MEP, sanctioned in 2021 by the European Parliament alongside four other colleagues from the RN for an observation mission in Russia, knows he is being scrutinized. His trips to Syria, where Marine Le Pen’s party has forged ties with Bashar el-Assad’s regime, have also been singled out. “In our group there have been problems in the past [Marine Le Pen and three other former National Front MEPs allegedly misused 620,000 euros of European public money, editor’s note]”, recognizes Mariani. “The legislation is very clear: we declare and it is transparent. It keeps us out of trouble. At the start of our term of office, there was a reminder within our group. When you are observed, you must be more exemplary than the most exemplary. »