France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen met with Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former strategist and a founding member of the far-right-wing news website Breitbart News, and backed his plan to advise euroskeptic parties ahead of next year’s European elections, a senior lawmaker in her party said Friday.
Earlier, Le Pen distanced herself from Bannon. At a meeting with Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini Monday, she said Bannon was from the U.S. and it was up to European parties to shape their own politics.
In March, Bannon told Le Pen’s party during a party conference, “You are part of a movement that is bigger than that in Italy, bigger than in Poland, bigger than in Hungary.”
He said, “history is on our side and will bring us victory” in an address to the party’s conference.
It has been widely reported that Bannon was trying to unite and organize far-right parties of Europe before the 2019 European Commission Elections.
In July, Bannon said he aimed to create an organization called The Movement to unite Europe’s far right ahead of the May 2019 European Parliament elections. But he has generated little support from parties so far.
“Bannon wants to create a think-tank, and particularly wants to provide technical support to euroskeptic parties,” Louis Aliot, a senior member of Le Pen’s National Rally told BFM TV. “We’re not going to say no since he’s not creating a political party.”
Any misunderstandings between Bannon and Le Pen were solved during their meeting, according to Aliot. Bannon would not campaign in the European elections or provide financing but he would advise and offer his expertise.
Le Pen, who has struggled to rebound since losing last year’s presidential election to centrist Emmanuel Macron, is banking on the European election to boost her party, which came first in France in the last such vote in 2014.
Bannon has been traveling through Europe, offering advice to far-right parties and officials. In August, The New York Times reported that Bannon sought to help Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary whom he called “Trump before Trump”.
Around the same time, the political strategist offered to help Brazil’s far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro with the 2018 Brazilian elections in October.
The announcement was made by Bolsonaro's son and congressman, Eduardo Bolsonaro. “Bannon said that Bolsonaro's mission in Brazil” will be more “arduous” than Trump's presidential campaign, said Eduardo Bolsonaro.
He also affirmed that “Bannon had made himself available to help” Bolsonaro's presidential run. “This, obviously, doesn't include anything financial. We've made this point very clear. The support will come in the form of giving internet tips, analysis, interpreting data, that type of stuff.”