British far-right leader courts European allies

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm •  Published: January 10, 2014

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A far-right British political party's leader said Friday that extreme nationalist groups across Europe will seek to forge an alliance after the European Parliament elections in in May despite being isolated by an emerging populist right.

British National Party leader Nick Griffin said parties likely to join the alliance would include the Jobbik party in Hungary and Greece's Golden Dawn, which has seen a surge in popular support during the country's major financial crisis.

Golden Dawn leaders, who have openly expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler, deny any party involvement in frequent street attacks against immigrants despite mounting accusations to the contrary.

"We are all being demonized and dehumanized ... so I think it's only logical that the 'devils' have to stand together," Griffin, currently a non-aligned member of the European Parliament, told The Associated Press in an interview.

European nationalists are expected to make gains in the May 22-25 polls, but most have distanced themselves from the extreme right, according to Anders Widfeldt, a lecturer in politics and international affairs at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

"There is a general sense that immigration-critical and EU-critical parties will increase their support in the new European Parliament ... That's a big concern to established parties," he told the AP.

"But there's a distinction between those who see themselves as more mainstream and who are aiming to become legitimate cooperation partners with mainstream parties in their own countries. They see a party like Golden Dawn as far too extreme and tainted by the accusations against them."

Griffin said he expected BNP allies to win seats in at least five of the EU's 28 countries, gaining support as financial troubles spread.