European rightists see Brexit as chance for EU reform

A British vote to leave the European Union could force the bloc to return powers to its member states, leaders of European far-right and EU-sceptic parties said Friday in Vienna.

A Brexit, as the plan to leave the EU is known, would boost the goals of such parties as it could be "the start of a Europe a la carte," said Marine Le Pen, who heads France's National Front.

She spoke at a meeting of several right-wing populist parties also including Austria's Freedom Party and Germany's Alternative for Germany (AfD), who want EU member countries to regain national decision-making power from the union.

If Britons vote for Brexit next week, the EU would have to negotiate with Britain and would have to prove that it is ready for structural reforms, Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache said at a joint press conference with Le Pen.

Public votes like the one in Britain are the only way to "stop, constrain and correct the political establishment in important questions," Strache said.

Europe's nationalist parties want to reform the EU from the inside and seek more direct democracy, more powerful national parliaments, protection against global corporations and the protection of cultural identities, he said.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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