Far-right parties in Europe are exploiting the Catalan crisis, using it to attack the European Union. And they are taking to social media to fire their latest round of ammunition at the European project, reported Spain’s El Pais online.
Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom (an Islamophobic group that holds 20 seats in the Dutch parliament), posted images of Spanish riot police attacking demonstrators in Catalonia on October 1, to describe the EU as a place where violence is exercised against the people.
In turn, Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader, accused the EU of looking the other way in the face of police brutality. He tweeted: “900 people injured and not a dicky bird from Juncker”. He also retweeted an article he wrote for The Telegraph titled “In Catalonia we have seen how the EU does ‘democracy.’ Why can’t Remainers see it too?”
On October 3, Farage pulled together the Catalan issue and Brexit: “If British police roughed up a Remain rally, EU would scream blue murder. Yet they don’t even want to talk about violence in Catalonia”.
A former colleague of his, the European deputy Janice Atkinson, who was kicked out of UKIP and is now an independent within the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) – the same group as Marine Le Pen – criticised what she describes as the EU’s silence: “EU silent on Catalan. I’m not and will be raising it in Parli[ament] this week, inc[luding] taste of things to come with EU army”.
Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the far-right Austrian party FPÖ, also used the images of the clashes on October 1 to attack the EU: “Unbelievable images that leave one speechless. Where is the EU’s condemnation?” he tweeted the same day.
His counterpart in Germany, the AfD party, retweeted a message from its representative in Hamburg, Jens Eckleben. He said that “The Catalan police make their own citizens face the violence of the federal police.” The also tweeted earlier that “The central government of the EU in Spain at the Catalan referendum acts violently against democracy and the people”.